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New Member with questions

1431 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Semipro
I am new to cnc routing and I am wanting this to be a hobby as I get closer to retirement. I am interested in woodworking as a retirement hobby. I am an Industrial Electronics Tech and I want to design and build a cnc router and learn how to use it from scratch. I have been reading a lot lately about what all is involved and I am interested in starting with a CAD program that I can learn to use for designing, that will work with the different CAM programs. I am looking for recommendations and good advice before I get started. I want to avoid spending good money on bad products and at the same time I don't want to over spend and get way more than I need. Any advice will be appreciated.
Larry Tucker
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Welcome. We have a growing band of CNC folks here. I'm not one of them at this point since a really good machine comes with a divorce (LOL). But one of our members, Gaffboat here, Prof. Henry or Oliver to friends, has published two really good books for beginners, both available on Amazon. I've attached pictures of the covers so you can look them up.

There is also a sub forum for CNC that is worthwhile perusing. Lots of discussion by folks in exactly your situation. Also attached are two PDFs, one is about making money with your CNC, the other is the 18 areas of things that really accelerated my learning on woodworking, which may save you a few expensive mistakes.

Welcome to the Forum. We all love responding to questions and often present different ways to accomplish things. I'm sure a number of members will join in shortly.


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Welcome to the forum, Larry! Add your first name to your profile so it clears the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

What are you primarily going to cut on your CNC? Are you planning on 2.5D and 3D work? Then a Vectric type product will serve you well. Are you going to do flat goods, engineering type pieces, parametric modeling, etc.? Then Fusion 360 would be a better choice.

If you're building from scratch you may enjoy my build - 2nd Build (first)

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We have a sub forum dedicated to CNC routing and all previous posts can be found there. There is lots of good information there if you have time to peruse through some of those old posts. You can find it here:
I'm not sure what direction I'm heading just yet. I have downloaded a copy of Fusion 360, but I am afraid to spend a lot of time learning it then find out I have to spend a lot of money to keep it. I'm not familiar with Vetric, maybe I need to research it. I just purchaced those two books that was reccomended from Amazon, so maybe they can help me decide what I want to do. I'm really looking for a hobby for retirement and woodworking has caught my eye. I love working with electronics so I feel like this is a combination of the two.
Welcome Larry. Drop by the cbc subforum and pose the what should I get question. I'm sure there will be lots of responses. Fwiw, I'm about 2 years ahead of you and happy to share what I have learned.
I joined Joes CNC, as they make them from scratch. There is a one time fee of $50 I believe to join the forum .
Here’s Joes Evo2 in action . Of course you can make it any size you want . I was going this route but decided to buy one from Avid router parts , as the price of steel doubled in Canada with that tariff , and I’m just learning how to weld

G'day Larry, welcome to the forum,
Welcome to the forum Larry.
Larry welcome to the Router Forums. Sounds like you need to do a little more research. Fusion 360 is free for users making under a certain amount a year and would be good for flatwork like cabinets and plain boxes. The Vectric line of software has trial versions of all their software and that is what I normally recommend to hobbyists and small businesses. You can start with one of the lower-level software and just pay the difference between titles to upgrade so you get the full value of the older software. The Vectric software is also CAD/CAM so it is a complete package. They also have great tutorials for all their software.
Hello and welcome to the router forum, Larry
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