I'm fine with a kit. I mostly am looking to do oak wood signs/plaques and the ability to upgrade to a laser would be a plus. Maybe some soft metal...but mostly wood. I'd like to get the best I can afford to run light production. Maybe 30 15×15" signs a month amongst other smaller projects for now....and save for a bigger machineWelcome to the forum! Glad to see you have already been looking. We can probably give better advice if you tell us a little about what you are planning on making, and in what materials. Do you need to cut sheet materials, carve hardwoods or ?
The Shapeoko is a kit. Are you OK with building a kit? Kits from CNC Router Parts and Fineline Automation have their proponents here (for good reason).
Hey J...I'm fine with a kit. I mostly am looking to do oak wood signs/plaques and the ability to upgrade to a laser would be a plus. Maybe some soft metal...but mostly wood. I'd like to get the best I can afford to run light production. Maybe 30 15×15" signs a month amongst other smaller projects for now....and save for a bigger machine
This is good advice, I've read a lot of bad about the millright. I think a lot of it comes down to what you plan on doing with the machine. If you just want a basic machine that you can play around with then maybe the low end hobby machine would be ok. If you want any sort of consistency without having to constantly tweak the machine then you need to go for better quality. I've talked to a lot of people with the Shapeoko and it seems like the vast majority of people like the machine but if they had a chance for a redo they would just spend the money of a higher end machine.Welcome to the Router Forums.
I would be afraid of twits on the Millright CNC because of the open gantry design. I have heard mixed comments about Shapeoko and many were wishing to buy a different CNC. The Probotix machines usually get good comments and most of the people I know that own them like them. I like the double Y axis drive so you have an open bed design, opens more possibilities to you.
As far as laser add-ons there are several on the market but you do need to research and see if the control software will allow you to use a laser. If the CNC uses proprietary control software then they will have to provide the correct drivers to run a laser attachment.
A lot of people do buy a CNC with the thought of selling it later to buy a new one. If it does not have any resale value then you are back to square one and paying for a new machine again. If you can afford a little more then I would buy a better machine first.