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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I am a freelance graphic designer/motion graphics animator looking into the great world of CNC and excited to begin my journey. I would love to use my artistic and computer skills to make CNC art for the music community and fans of live music! I personally love rock, heavy stuff, electronic music, and some indie. I like to lift weights, enjoy the outdoors, and currently have been enjoying my first motorcycle.

Currently I am:
  1. Researching general CNC information.
  2. Expanding my 3D skillset to include 3D sculpting on ZBrush and more advanced modeling in Blender and Cinema4D as well as 3D animation.
  3. Running an existing Freelance business doing Graphic Design, Motion Graphics, Web Design, and Music for small businesses.
  4. Scoping out possibilities for executing - (Renting Machines / Renting Machine Shop Space / Buying a Machine / Choices)
You'll probably be seeing a lot of posts from me through the next several years, so nice to meet anyone and thanks for your time!
 

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David
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Welcome to the forum! You sound busy, so that's a good thing. What's your CNC budget, how much space do you have, do you have a woodshop for prepping wood to go on the CNC, what size piece will you work (mostly), what power do you have available, etc.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Welcome to the forum! You sound busy, so that's a good thing. What's your CNC budget, how much space do you have, do you have a woodshop for prepping wood to go on the CNC, what size piece will you work (mostly), what power do you have available, etc.?
Thank you David! A LOT of these questions you asked I'm currently working or planning, and I don't have solid answers- but my best estimates would be:
  • Space - This one I'm really not sure on this. I actually don't even know how much space is needed. But I've guess that I should be able try to at least get a singe-car-garage sized room.
  • CNC Budget - I'd LOVE to have everything wrapped up by $10,000 USD, I'm expecting around around $15,000 USD based on my research. (I have not much clue what all I need)
  • Size Pieces- Based on what I've seen done I think most of my work would be possible to complete or piece together from 24" x 24"
  • Power availability - I'll be able to run 220-240v
I've been researching the Axiom AR4 PRO V5 (24" x 36") .... just started eyeing the Laguna IQ (24" x 36") ... and I just learned of the existence of Avid CNC today. I am leaning towards Axiom because I could easily drive to Columbus OH for their classes or to drop/pickup a machine in case of catastrophic failure.

My end goal is to seriously pursue selling CNC-art and eventually have sales that would have me running the machine as much as it's rated for.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum.
 
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Welcome to the forum.

We do have a great section on CNC these days....
 
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've been researching the Axiom AR4 PRO V5 (24" x 36") .... just started eyeing the Laguna IQ (24" x 36") ... and I just learned of the existence of Avid CNC today.
The Laguna is a rebranded Chinese machine. There are a lot of Axiom and Avid machines out there and they're good machines. You can expand the capabilities of the Avid if you ever need a larger machine. CAMaster machines are really good, maybe you can find a used one in your price range. ShopSabre is in the same category as CAMaster.
 

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Welcome to the club. Regardless of what you get you are going to have a ton of fun. Love making patterns and sawdust.

I model with zbrush and blender and they have worked great. Just learned the basics of Fusion 360, so another CAD system that is pretty awesome at making models.
 

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Welcome aboard. So do you do any woodworking presently? Do you mill your wood from rough sawn lumber using a jointer/planer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
old55 , jw2170 , marecat3 Thanks nice to meet you all!

The Laguna is a rebranded Chinese machine. There are a lot of Axiom and Avid machines out there and they're good machines. You can expand the capabilities of the Avid if you ever need a larger machine. CAMaster machines are really good, maybe you can find a used one in your price range. ShopSabre is in the same category as CAMaster.


Oh okay. Love the look of these CAMaster Stinger machines. From what I've read so far, it seems like a lot of these are pretty similar in build quality, but that there are specific components or features that can vastly reduce time or ensure a little higher quality (example: I hear that water cooling reduces noise and is faster). Right now it's not very apparent to me what the best call is, I'm probably gonna spend some time with all the specs side by side for Axiom / Avid / CAMaster / ShopSabre of their 2'x3' machines and learn about the specs and parts.


Oscar36
Welcome to the club. Regardless of what you get you are going to have a ton of fun. Love making patterns and sawdust.

I model with zbrush and blender and they have worked great. Just learned the basics of Fusion 360, so another CAD system that is pretty awesome at making models.
Thanks Oscar! ZBrush and Blender are incredible, haven't used Fusion 360. I'm hoping it's easy to import to the CAM software from ZBrush and Blender, haven't had time to look into that much yet- still researching hardware. It seems pretty straightforward though.

sreilly
Welcome aboard. So do you do any woodworking presently? Do you mill your wood from rough sawn lumber using a jointer/planer?
Thanks! I don't do much outside of minor repair jobs at my Mom's. My father passed away this last winter, and we used to do a lot of wood work when I was younger. I'm 31 and the last 10 years I was either in a barracks room or an apartment so I haven't had much recent experience doing anything with wood. At my mom's we have table, circular, reciprocating saws, but my dad actually donated his jointer to a family friend's business a while back. I have access to jointers, planers, band saw, and other stuff, but it'd be at the convenience of others- so I am planning to have to source prepared wood. That is unless I can figure out how to do some of the jobs with limited resources.
 

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Its super easy to import to CAM software. Blender can export in STL, OBJ or FBX as required by the CAM software. My CAM software uses STL so that is what I primarily use.

My workflow is Blender > Zbrush > Blender export STL > carve.

This is what I am working on in blender now as I am sitting in class waiting for stuff to render.

Plant Flower Tree Art Creative arts

Also, blender can render depth maps with the right compositor node setup. Usually way better than Zbrush depth map. Can sometime come in handy when the STL is not working the way you want.

I use DevilsDJ node setup which he very generously shared with the blender community. Blend file located in the webpage below. You will have to scroll a little bit down.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Its super easy to import to CAM software. Blender can export in STL, OBJ or FBX as required by the CAM software. My CAM software uses STL so that is what I primarily use.

My workflow is Blender > Zbrush > Blender export STL > carve.

This is what I am working on in blender now as I am sitting in class waiting for stuff to render.


Also, blender can render depth maps with the right compositor node setup. Usually way better than Zbrush depth map. Can sometime come in handy when the STL is not working the way you want.

I use DevilsDJ node setup which he very generously shared with the blender community. Blend file located in the webpage below. You will have to scroll a little bit down.

Oh that's great news and thanks for the link!
 

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Looks awesome man. I was considering building a wooden stand- are there any downsides to having a wood vs metal stand- Decoupling issues or whatever it's called in CNC world?
Ours has just rocked on as solid as it can be with no issues. People asked why I didn't build one out of steel and my response was simple - I'm a woodworker so I built it out of wood.

I allowed a slight flex in the Y direction so when the gantry makes rapid moves and changes in direction there's sort of a cushioning effect. Same reason airplane wings and bridges are allowed to flex - nothing breaks, it just gives the amount I designed in and here we are 5 years later with no loose screws and no loose joints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ours has just rocked on as solid as it can be with no issues. People asked why I didn't build one out of steel and my response was simple - I'm a woodworker so I built it out of wood.

I allowed a slight flex in the Y direction so when the gantry makes rapid moves and changes in direction there's sort of a cushioning effect. Same reason airplane wings and bridges are allowed to flex - nothing breaks, it just gives the amount I designed in and here we are 5 years later with no loose screws and no loose joints.
Nice man glad to know that it works. How often do you use your machine?
 

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How often do you use your machine?
Sometimes every day for a few jobs each day, sometimes all day long and then not for a week, it just varies. I often get into short production runs where I need to cut simple slots for 30 Walnut bases for acrylic plaques, for instance. So I'll prepare the bases, mount my fixtures to the CNC, cut the slots, then spray finish. In those cases the CNC will sit for a couple of days. Right now I'm working on a high-end audio rack and I've already done all the CNC work so unless I get an Etsy order for a Longworth chuck the CNC will sit for a while again. In the last week we've gotten 6 orders for chucks so I've run the CNC quite a few times. It's rare for it to sit more than a couple of days without running, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sometimes every day for a few jobs each day, sometimes all day long and then not for a week, it just varies. I often get into short production runs where I need to cut simple slots for 30 Walnut bases for acrylic plaques, for instance. So I'll prepare the bases, mount my fixtures to the CNC, cut the slots, then spray finish. In those cases the CNC will sit for a couple of days. Right now I'm working on a high-end audio rack and I've already done all the CNC work so unless I get an Etsy order for a Longworth chuck the CNC will sit for a while again. In the last week we've gotten 6 orders for chucks so I've run the CNC quite a few times. It's rare for it to sit more than a couple of days without running, though.
I'd love to be at that level of productivity when the time is right. Awesome stuff!
 
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