Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After spending 18 months looking at every web site that sold a CNC machine , I finally bought one yesterday. My final decision was the Asteroid machine from Probotix, all I have to do is wait now for 6 weeks till it arrives in Australia.
Its been a huge decision especially with the exchange rate and the cost of freight from Florida USA to Sydney Australia but I am sure once it arrives and I start using it I will forget about all the costs very quickly.
So looking forward to the CNC experience......

Terry
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Congratulations Terry. Probotix is a name that comes up frequently (in a good way) and there are usually good reasons for that. Let us know when you get started.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,244 Posts
Congrats @nikonwalker, and welcome to the Probotix CNC owners (unofficial) club. There are several members here that own a CNC from them including myself. Although the best technical support you will get will be from calling up the Probotix support number, there is a great chance that you can find answers to many questions here as well.

I appreciate your patience waiting for that slow boat from Florida. Mine took about 3 weeks to get from Illinois (where Probotix used to reside) to Kansas a few years back and I was practically camping by my shop door with anticipation.

4D
 

·
Registered
Mike
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
Thanks guys, I hate that feeling when you buy something and then have to wait to enjoy it. The time will be well spent as I need to reorganise my shed space and rewire it so that I have 15 amps of power for the machine.
Terry that is the good thing about your wait. You know what you need to do before you get the new CNC so you can get power requirements , stand building and best location completed and out of the way so all you have to do is unpack, put it on the stand, hook up the wires and start cutting.

What design software are you planning to use?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Mike
I am just going to use the software that comes with the Probotix machines which is Vectric Cut 2D, I think it is basic but I am a novice, down the track once I know what I am doing I shall upgrade depending on what I decide to focus on
 

·
Registered
Mike
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
Cut 2D is easily up-gradable in the future to VCarve or Aspire and plenty of people use Vectric software so you should be able to get answers to any questions you might have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
413 Posts
Congrats Terry! I went back and forth between Cncrouterparts Pro4824 and Probotix Asteroid for over a year and as you can see by my username, I went with the cncrouterparts and just got it up and moving yesterday. I really love it but I'll also always be a BIG probotix fan! Joe.
 

·
Registered
Rick
Joined
·
17,578 Posts
Congrats Terry! I went back and forth between Cncrouterparts Pro4824 and Probotix Asteroid for over a year and as you can see by my username, I went with the cncrouterparts and just got it up and moving yesterday. I really love it but I'll also always be a BIG probotix fan! Joe.
Welcome to the forum Joe ;)
I'm wanting to get the same cnc as you some day . Was hoping you'd share some pics of yours with us .
Sorry for hijacking the thread Terry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,632 Posts
Whenever I see a string on CNC, my mind goes into entrepreneur mode. Some time ago I did a fairly detailed outline of a business plan, which I'm reposting here. I find it hard to imagine having a CNC and not using it to make some money.

Here FYI is the post:

With the surge in interest in CNC on the Forum, I thought it was time to post some information on how to make serious money with one, other than craft shows and sharing profits online and in consignment shops. This orignially was posted in response to a couple just about to take the plunge, but with added information. This is long.

CNC marketing methods to make CNC pay.

If you are planning to make a living from a CNC, you will have to become very good at marketing your services. Translated, that means being very good at identifying and effectively contacting people and businesses that are likely to make good use of your services. Everyone and their uncle Tom is making occasional signs, or signs with clever sayings or even images they hope to sell in consignment shops or weekend craft gatherings. But to really make any money, you have to identify markets that need lots of what you have to sell, but not so many that they go to a completely automated shop, or one that markets and jobs out the work to Mexico or Asia.

One example would be a small chain of regional hotels with a homey feel where signs, plaques and things of that sort , in script or with logos or other identity setting features are needed in fair numbers.

As machines go, that means something pretty fast with easy setup and software that makes such things as using special fonts or logo images easy to set up and produce in limited runs. In marketing, you'd probably have to locate, contact and work with art directors, architects and interior designers -- the real buyers.

With really good software, you could locate individual property owners for inns or mountain cabin owners, whose orders would be small, but beyond hand made sign quantities. Entrance, exit, mens, family and womens' bathrooms, room number, breakfast, meeting room and other signs with logos and unique fonts are all possible products.

I teach marketing to eye doctors, and know how important it is to any business. The internet and social media are good places to search, and 150 to 300 searches will turn up a good number of customers. You don't want to just have one big customer, they apply intense pressure to cut prices and profits. A good mix of lots of medium sized repeat customers is essential.

Deliver as fast as you can. Get all art approved by several people. If you see something odd or off in the design, check it with the customer before you make it and try to provide a proof run before you produce in quantity. Learn to proof read. Check the spelling of every word and if any problem shows up, check with the customer before starting design or production. These kinds of projects seldom get full attention and you backing up the person who orders this way will save their fanny if you catch a problem before their boss does.

Check out all kinds of materials to use for projects. See if you can find sources of cutoffs that are consistently available. For example, my son in law gets large quantities of 2x6 asian hardwood from pallets used for forklifts. For outdoor signs, you might try using weather resistant composite or engineered lumber. Can you cut aluminum for small signs, room numbers, etc?

Make your laptop the center of your business rather than the CNC. Being able to sit in your car on vacation while handling a design shows up as exceptional service, and pays for the vacation at the same time. Plan for rush orders. Designers are notorious for pushing deadlines and giving the producer precious little time to finish. That is a formula for a designer who makes an error to blame the producer for errors and delays, and to cut you off. Make this attention to detail and possible "inconsistencies" a feature of your service. You've got your customer's back. If necessary, run everything by a skilled proof reader before submitting the final design to the customer for approval. It's no fun eating a $2,000 order because of a missed comma or wrong font. In other words, make no assumptions, don’t skip a check because deadlines are tight. Email proofs on copy, layout drawings, printouts of drawings made in the software, and photos of the first test piece, lit by side light so the carving shows up well. Be VERY fussy about approvals for logos and special images. If there is any concern about size and proportion, you want them handled on paper, not on some exotic or expensive hardwood. Make sure your contact’s boss reviews anything more than a run of, say, 3 pieces.

Do not make the mistake of competing on price. Start as high as you can stand it, then go up another 10 percent. If you slash prices to below market rates, you can be dismissed by competitors merely by their saying, "you get what you pay for." When I raise prices, I have to practice saying the amount in front of a mirror until I can do so without making a face or showing uncertainty. One thing you can do is contact a few inns that use such signs and ask what they paid for them and who made them. BTW, I live down the hill from Big Bear in So. Cal., so a drive up to scope out potential customers would be easy.

Consider having someone else run the machine, spend your time marketing and taking wonderful, thorough care of your customers so they do repeat business. Making stuff sounds like fun, but it IS a business first, and the dollars and cents, relationships and posting examples of your fine work rank higher than running the CNC.

Social media and developing a great newsletter mailing list is VERY important. (I use Constant Contact because they just don’t allow practices that appear as spam.) Social media drives people to your website, where they see your work, read your information about how to design, order, avoid errors, plus all kinds of pictures of finished work (not all of which has to be yours, by the way. These photos become an idea bank. If you have some pre-made standard items, show those on a separate page. Publish a checklist of steps from design to ordering to final production runs that emphasizes review and proofing.

There is a great little book titled “Your First 1000 copies,” which was written for self publishing and other authors on how to use social media, website and email to generate business. It translates to any business and isn’t full of fluff. It’s one of those little books with a huge load of practical information, and it’s $10 bucks on Amazon. Really upped my business results and lowered my marketing costs. Low cost social media and email are now our primary source of new business.

I know free advice is easily dismissed, but I've been doing and teaching marketing for 35 years, and charge a lot for my recommendations. If I were in your situation, what I suggested is what I'd do, and I'd have a list of 30-50 high-potential 50-signs-or-more per year customers in hand before I put a penny down on a machine. But that's me. To each his/her own.

This post turned into a wonderful discussion of the prows and cons of making money with CNC vs being happily retired. Here's the string: http://www.routerforums.com/cnc-routing/114441-making-nice-living-cnc.html
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,816 Posts
I also have the Asteroid. And I am loving it. No issues.

Besides cutting a few signs, I just finished cutting the sides for some cabinets I am building. :surprise::grin:

The pieces (10 in all) were cut to width and length before I started. Then I designed the file using VCarve Pro, but Cut2D will do just fine.

Basically, I cut a dado on each end of the work piece and the shelf pin holes.

As a note, Cut2D limits your projects to 25x25, so that was a limiting factor for me. But I upgraded to VCarve Pro and that eliminated the problem. I don't have to use the "tiling" feature. Instead, I cut 1/2 of the project, then switch it end for end and run the file again. Just to be sure, I marked all pieces so I would know which end should be the top.

If you want to play with VCarve Pro, download the trial version and have at it. You can save your files for future use, just can't generate the GCode. Heh, heh,...if you are doing something in the 2D format like I was doing, you could create your design, then save the file as a .crv. Then open up Cut2D, open your file and save the gcode from there. :surprise: You will still be limited to the 25x25 size, but you can get some experience with VCPro.

Good luck. I will be watching for some pics to come from you soon.
Mike
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,369 Posts
Interesting thread.

I was at the local Farmer's market today and visited with a chap who brings his CNC to the market in the back of a small travel trailer. He sets it up along with several slabs of wood and custom designs signs on the spot for people. I didn't ask about his prices but he seems to be doing well at the market. His systems is a Gryphon. He mentioned that he had a larger one in his work shop and was so pleased with it he had them make him a smaller version to fit the trailer. It looks to be about 30" x 36" or thereabouts.

I was intrigued as to how the system was mounted in the trailer. The owner informed me it was simply sitting in there and all he does is re-zero it once the trailer is parked.
 

·
Registered
Rick
Joined
·
17,578 Posts
Interesting thread.

I was at the local Farmer's market today and visited with a chap who brings his CNC to the market in the back of a small travel trailer. He sets it up along with several slabs of wood and custom designs signs on the spot for people. I didn't ask about his prices but he seems to be doing well at the market. His systems is a Gryphon. He mentioned that he had a larger one in his work shop and was so pleased with it he had them make him a smaller version to fit the trailer. It looks to be about 30" x 36" or thereabouts.

I was intrigued as to how the system was mounted in the trailer. The owner informed me it was simply sitting in there and all he does is re-zero it once the trailer is parked.
And no pictures :(
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top