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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. So I know nothing about CNC machines. However I am looking to buy a cheap CNC machine. My problem is that most of the cheap ones say they don't cut hard surfaces. I need to be able to engrave quartz. I already engrave wood with pyrography and Im expanding my work. I see that I can buy diamond coated drills. Am I right that I can just by a cheap machine and a diamond drill tip, and fit it to the cheap machine then Im good to go? Or are there complications? Would I need a more expensive machine? Thank you for your help.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Define 'cheap', please. I don't think a cheap machine will have enough rigidity and power to work with anything except wood. For engraving quartz you probably need to be grinding rather than cutting but I've never tried so I could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've played with engraving quartz counter to offcuts. A diamond drag bit does a good job.

As David said, though, define "cheap". Since quartz is very expensive here at least, I wouldn't muck about with it using a "cheap" machine.
Cheap is self explanitory. Il go as cheap as I can go depending on what obstacles this thread brings up.

What are the dangers of using a cheap machine? How might it not work? Surely if diamond cuts quartz then it works? Is it due to speed that causes the problem? Can I fit any diamond tip to any machine or are there specific types for different machines?
 

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With respect, "cheap" is not self explanatory. The CNC machine that I use at work is a Biesse,, costing about $150,000. I doubt that you would refer to this as a "cheap" machine. So, can I assume that maybe a third of that would be a "cheap" machine? Since your first post indicates that this is for a business not a hobby, it could well be that spending $50,000 is not out of the question. You don't indicate what it is that you want to engrave or how much business you plan to do with the "cheap" machine. Both of these issues will affect your choice.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Cheap is self explanitory.
Cheap is far from self explanatory. I'm building out a new speaker system to replace my 20-year old speakers and looking to spend about $1,000 on the Left and Right speakers. A good friend spent $12,000 on his two speakers. He might look at mine and think they're cheap (he won't because he's got class). We're looking to assist you, not toy with semantics.

A better question is 'what is your budget for this CNC machine'? As has been said, a diamond drag bit might work but your typical low dollar machine may have too much flex to have good repeatability and I doubt it will cut what you want in one pass.
 

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G;'day @Yippity welcome to the forum.

I am not a CNC user, but from what I have learned on this forum, extra cost means stronger, heavier frames, better motors, better software....

I understand that you may want to limit your expenditure, but you may have to be prepared to spend more than you expected to get a qaulity machine that will do the work you require.

In my mind, a 'cheaper' machine, I would only use for occasional use in a hobby environment.

Take some time to read the previous posts in this section, as this question comes up more often than any other.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I guess you are saying the cheap ones that come up are hobby machines, and there are also industrial versions which would have their own version of cheap.

Perhaps this is why it is not clear. As I said I have no idea about CNC machines I just mean the cheapest ones that come up on a google search if you google cnc machines. Cheap/cheapest. Simples. But if there are more durable ones for business I guess Im looking to find out what price the cheapest of those that can do the job is. I've done some searching and found ultratec used to do something for it. So I will probably get one of those if I can find one and see what happens. Wish me luck.

Thanks 🙏
 

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Yippity - like you, I know absolutely zero about CNC capabilities.
BUT - I am very interested in what you will be doing with the quartz projects.
could you go into a little detail and perhaps some sample sketches, drawings or photos ??
 

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most cnc users on this site machine wood, and some folks dabble in plastics, aluminum, and brass. we know how much flex and error we can receive just doing that!
quartz is a little out of our element, it is not that we don't want to help you. being man-made, i guess there may be different categoires of quartz hardness and density which may allow engraving by a lesser than a (much) robust machine.
do ultratec cnc's engraave quartz?
 

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I won't pile on the cheap point (though agree with all said) but focus on the use case. How big a work area you need? It sounds like you will need a rigid machine but you might also need precision as well?

In general, until you are clear about your needs, there is no way anyone could possibly give you decent advice. And for what it's worth, no one here is trying to sell you anything so specifying a budget won't cause any damage.
 

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I cut Marble with a CNC, but the system costs 11K (2ft x 4ft). You might get by with a smaller systems (2ft x 2ft), but you're still going to pay around 4-5K. If you're talking about machines in the under $1K range I suggest you pass, and buy your second machine first or you'll just be wasting money. The majority of the cheap machines do not have the rigidity, use very small stepper motors, very weak spindles if they come with one, use cheap components, and you're on your own after you buy it with support being fairly non-existent.
 

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I was at a trade show last April and saw a couple machines using cut stone quartz and marble they all appear to be water based. for bit cooling.

they were demonstrating your ability to make countertops for use in laboratory environment stone like material being cut for a chemical resistant and heat resistant..
 
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