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Welcome to the Router Forums Mark.

As David and Oliver said there are several questions that need to be answered before we can make any final recommendations for a CNC for your shop and those answers would only be our opinions from our own experiences and from listening to stories of frustrations from some people and great experiences form others.

Here is a short list of things to consider:

1. What is your budget for a machine? Buy a cheap, small CNC and you can receive a lot of frustration from lack of support and limiting software and might just give up. Buying a good entry-level CNC that is capable of producing decent size projects would be much better and there would be a lot more support. If you can afford to buy a well-proven CNC that is at the upper end of the hobby market it usually comes with great customer support as well as great community support and you won't have to sell a small CNC at a loss (buy your last CNC first). Another consideration would be to build one yourself from a kit and these can vary from having everything supplied, to having to cut needed parts and source others from lists of suppliers. If you go the DIY route are you prepared to also do the electronics? You can also design one yourself if you have the knowledge and tools needed.

2. What kind of projects do you want to be able to cut with the CNC? Furniture, signs, or jewelry sized projects? Remember a lot of things can be done on a CNC but that does not mean that it is the best tool to use for every project. A CNC is just another tool to add to your shop to give you more potential.

3. Are you really serious about using it in a small business? Are you willing to spend the time to learn the design software for projects and control software to run your machine to its full potential? OR, will this just end up being used as a hobby machine?

4. How much room can you dedicate to the CNC in your shop space? Remember you not only need space for the footprint of the machine, but you also need room to walk around the machine safely without bumping into it all the time.

5. Do you have any other shop tools to break down raw materials? Maybe you should purchase some basic shop tools first, learn to use them to produce a few items that can help build up a good budget for the CNC. and possibly learn your choice of design software while building that budget.
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