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Discussion Starter #1
So i'm looking to start a small buisness, I curently work as a cnc operator where we make a medical devices. I really like the cnc world and and i always had a passion for wood working. I want to start small and do it more as a second job untill i have the programming end of it figured out. I'll probably hold off buying a machine untill i get my feet under me. So Im Starting with a computer and buying some software(recomendations? Ventic seems to be popular.) and work on establishing some programs so i can hit the ground running when i do purchase my machine. However within the next couple years i want to turn it into a full time gig. My plan is to make custom stair packages w/spindles, doors, cabinets, tables, trim, ect. As for the machine i would like to have a 3x5 to 4x8 and I'd like to have turning capabilities. The Legacy's Macerick 4x8 really seems to fit my needs(any suggestions?) I am considering the 3x5 to start out but it will kind of hinder some of the larger projects id like to do. Any thoughts/ recomendations?

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David
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Welcome to the forum! When you get a minute complete your profile with first name so it clears the N/a in the side panel.

You're an operator now but not doing any of the CAD/CAM work, correct? And since you have experience running the machine then I guess all you need to concentrate on is the design and toolpath (CAD/CAM). Do you have a shop or place you can park the CNC when you get it, financing for starting the business even though it's part time, is there an opportunity to sell the pieces you mentioned in your area or will you just have an online presence, etc.?

And yes, the Vectric line of products is very popular and versatile. I don't use it but I think you can download any of their products and play with them all you want but you can't generate code to actually cut something (or if you can it's only a few lines of code).

Like Tom said, check out the link he provided - there's some good stuff there. We're looking forward to seeing you around here, asking questions, participating in discussions, posting photos and all that good stuff.

David
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's correct I'm just a lowly Operator only have been in the industry for 2 years now. But I'm very eagar to move into the programming side of things. I will start as a garage shop and if everything goes well hope to get more machines and to eventually move into a shop.

I actually am a operator full time and went back to work construction as a second job so i could fund this endeavor. I've was a carpenter for about 10 years so I definitely have knowledge that field. That being said I haven't pitched them yet, but over the years I've made connections with a handful of contractors who would be my potential clients. So ill probably start there. I live in a small close knit town in the Upper Peninsula so getting my name out around town shouldnt be too hard.

As for the CAD/CAM are you reffering to the free edition? I was considering buying so i could establish a couple programs beforehand.

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A CNC Router is just another tool, and is not always the best tool to use for some jobs. To do what you are talking about, you really need a pretty well equipped woodworking shop.
Welcome to the forum Gerry ! :)
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum Cory.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum Gerry.
 

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Good idea to go after the connections you already have. You want to always pick off the low hanging fruit when you're starting an enterprise, just know that at some point you have to reach higher. I think starting a business is one of the great adventures available to any of us.
 

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As for the CAD/CAM are you reffering to the free edition? I was considering buying so i could establish a couple programs beforehand.
You can create and save all the files you want with the free edition, including creating toolpaths. When you buy, you can use all to files you created with the free edition to export the g-code files as long as you are on the SAME COMPUTER the files were created with.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A CNC Router is just another tool, and is not always the best tool to use for some jobs. To do what you are talking about, you really need a pretty well equipped woodworking shop.[/quote @ger21 without a doubt! Minus the cnc I'm pretty much fully equipped. At this point Im just lacking a finish booth. Which is a must if i want to go this route.I dont want to just jump into anything. Before anything i need a solid business plan. Youre right i want to be fully eqipt before starting this endeavor, and i feel like im almost there. I'm not in a hurry by any means,maybe more anxious than anything. The stage im in is R&D. I want to take my time and have a solid plan.

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Discussion Starter #12
BABY STEP ONE: is buying a computer and learning the how to use the cad/cam software.

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Cory welcome to the Router Forums.

I normally recommend Vectric software to hobbyists and people that have little or no CAD experience. They have very good tutorials for their software and is fairly easy to learn. As Richard said you can use their software for free to design projects but can't cut anything until you buy the software.

If you really want to get into a CNC business I would suggest looking at Fusion 360. It is more of a CAD based software and has several time saving toolpath routines that are not included with Vectric software. It will have a longer learning curve if you are not familiar with CAD.

As far as a machine I would not settle for a smaller CNC unless it is easily upgraded to a larger size because you will lose money on the old machine and you will lose production time while shutting down to replace the old machine with the new one. If you encounter problems getting the new machine going then you might lose customers that were counting on your business to provide parts to them. If they have to go somewhere else then they may not come back.

Don't fool yourself into thinking you will design a bunch of projects before you buy a machine that just start cutting and selling when you buy a machine. Each machine will be different and you will probably need to test and tweak your designs before they are ready for production. Keep that in mind and allow time to develop your project after you become familiar with the machine.

I don't want to make it sound like it is impossible to start a new CNC business but I do think there might be a few things you need to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I completely agree! I do have some CAD experience primarily using solidworks, took a couple of classes in highschool and still use Solidworks at work quite frequently. However I pretty much have no experience using CAM software though. I know it isnt going to be an easy road and I'd be foolish to think otherwise. If it was that easy everyone would do it! All i was getting at was i want to have a good grasp on the software before i pay alot of money for a machine. I think it would be pretty overwhelming to try and figure out the machine and the software all at once.

Thank you Mike and to all who have been giving me all of this valuable feedback. I am getting alot of good resources and advice here! Im really glad i joint this group it has given me much insight. Much appreciated everyone!

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Imo, for most woodworking, a 2D program like Vectric's V Carve Pro is much faster than a full 3D program like Fusion 360.
I've been programming industrial CNC routers for over 20 years, and 99.9% is done with 2D drawings.

You'll find that there's no single software package that will do everything well. Many people use a variety of programs to get the job done.
 
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