Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am a home machinist with only a manual Milling machine in my shop, and am in the process of bringing a product to market. I am currently hiring an outside company to cut my smaller pieces of 1/8" thick type 1 gray pvc from full sheets via their CNC routing machine. It will of course be much more cost effective for me to cut these myself. I have no doubt that I will be able to learn how to do this, but would like to avoid as many beginner mistakes as possible by referring to experienced users out there. I have no hands-on CNC experience other than educating myself via watching my vendor do it, and researching on the web (I am very tech savvie). Here is some information on what my needs are, and some very basic questions. Thank you

I require perimeter and plunge cuts with a 1/8" endmill
Plunge varied depths with a 3/4" endmill
Either full or half sheet pvc capability

What is a good brand of machine?
What is the best CNC software?
What material would I use on the back/underneath?
Are there any other questions I should be asking?

I appreciate any and all responses!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,299 Posts
Hello Firewire,this is a friendly forum & we like to know a persons' first name & location.Could be one or more of our members live near you & could offer some hands-on assistance. Please fill out your profile when you get a chance,Thank you. James jj777746
 

·
Administrator
David
Joined
·
3,976 Posts
Welcome to the forum! Ditto what James said - complete your profile when you get a minute. That really helps us to help you.

Are you wanting to buy a ready to use machine or do some of the build yourself? What's your budget, space available, tech savvy but have you used CAD programs before, etc.?

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello,

Thanks to both of you for your response. I have updated my profile with my name (Paul), and my location (Phoenix, AZ).
I do have the resources to purchase a reasonably priced new or used machine, and could probably do a DIY build if that seemed more feasible. I could be comfortable spending up to 15k for a machine, but of course want to spend less. From my research, I will need a larger table to accommodate a 4x8 sheet, however, a 4x4 sheet could work. I have looked at the Shopbot, and something along those lines seem like it could do the job (not the desktop unit). Right now, I have somewhat limited space, but hope to grow. That being said, a smaller table that could accommodate a 1/2 sheet would be perfect until I grow. I created all of the vector drawings myself for my vendor using Solidworks, but he has done all of the nesting with his software. I have no experience in programming G code, but use my friend's laser cutter with his proprietary Chinese CNC software, and so am a bit familiar with the process. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks again!
 

·
Administrator
David
Joined
·
3,976 Posts
Paul, if you want a rigid, heavy machine take a look at the Saturn 4x4 from Fine Line Automation. We built the prototype 2x4 and it is a pretty stout machine but has been improved over the last 15 months. I think it's called the Saturn II now. It's mainly the frame and you supply the steppers, electronics, spindle, cabling, etc. but you can also get all of that from FLA.

There's also CNC Router Parts if you want a 4x8 machine. There are probably others but I don't shop much now that ours is built and running.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,371 Posts
What David said!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: difalkner

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Hello,

Thanks to both of you for your response. I have updated my profile with my name (Paul), and my location (Phoenix, AZ).
I do have the resources to purchase a reasonably priced new or used machine, and could probably do a DIY build if that seemed more feasible. I could be comfortable spending up to 15k for a machine, but of course want to spend less. From my research, I will need a larger table to accommodate a 4x8 sheet, however, a 4x4 sheet could work. I have looked at the Shopbot, and something along those lines seem like it could do the job (not the desktop unit). Right now, I have somewhat limited space, but hope to grow. That being said, a smaller table that could accommodate a 1/2 sheet would be perfect until I grow. I created all of the vector drawings myself for my vendor using Solidworks, but he has done all of the nesting with his software. I have no experience in programming G code, but use my friend's laser cutter with his proprietary Chinese CNC software, and so am a bit familiar with the process. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks again!
Paul,

Our Saturn 2 series 4x4 is a great machine and fits well within your budget. I will put our machine up against a shopbot any day and am confident our machines will outperform theirs.

We use SolidWorks in the shop too. It plays nice with most of the CAM packages out there like Vectric's software suite. Using a CAM software will be a similar experience to the laser cutter, only you will have to set a few more parameters to define the bit and it's feedrates and the different parameters of the path. I would suggest you download a free trial of the vectric software. That URL also has some free video tutorials on how to use it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,371 Posts
Nate,

Has it gotten any easier to use Linux instead of Mach 4??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Nate,



Has it gotten any easier to use Linux instead of Mach 4??


Not really. LinuxCNC supports a narrow range of IO boards. See http://wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?LinuxCNC_Supported_Hardware for more info. It doesn’t support any of the newer motion control interfaces like the smoothstepper or UC300 because there are no provisions in the software for offloading the motion control pulse generation to an external board. So, you’re left buying an expensive PCI card for a desktop computer or using the ancient parallel port.

There are a few decent alternatives coming online. UCCNC has a control software and it’s not bad. You have to using the UC line of controllers, but it’s not bad.

There is also a rise in the number of people using the GRBL interface on an ardunio for motion control processing. It’s quite capable and if open source is a driving factor for you than I would take a look.
 

·
Official Greeter
Ross
Joined
·
10,022 Posts
Welcome to the forum Paul.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Excellent,

That 4x4 size should be perfect, and the price seems fair. Not sure I want to tackle the configuration of the remaining elements, however, would consider it. I may ask my current vendor if he would be up for an outside consultation/setup.

Thanks for your advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,371 Posts
Let's ask Nate if he can put together a 4x4 Saturn ready to rock and roll out of the box. Just add Mach 4 and Aspire to a computer and monitor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: difalkner

·
Administrator
David
Joined
·
3,976 Posts
Let's ask Nate if he can put together a 4x4 Saturn ready to rock and roll out of the box. Just add Mach 4 and Aspire to a computer and monitor.
John, I recall Nate @FineLineAutomation saying he was going to be offering a turnkey solution but I don't know the timing on that or if it's still even on the table. He'll probably chime in on this and we'll all find out.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,371 Posts
I'm seriously considering another machine come fall or before. Was going with another Probotix until Dave Haskin said his Saturn cuts almost twice as fast and has more Z clearance. I'm no mechanical whiz, so I want a plug and play or minimal parts to assemble. I don't have the time this year to mess with putting one together with two summer 3 day Polish festivals. I need to put out about 400 pieces for each one plus 2 smaller events around Labor Day. What happens in May will better determine a time frame. Right now Nebbie is running from morning til the 11 o'clock news comes on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
John, I recall Nate @FineLineAutomation saying he was going to be offering a turnkey solution but I don't know the timing on that or if it's still even on the table. He'll probably chime in on this and we'll all find out.

David
Here's what we can currently offer. It's not quite turn-key but it's close. If you get the machine, plug and play electronics, and stand you will have to do the following things when you get the machine in:
  • The stand is flat packed with the machine frame and needs assembly. You then need to lift the machine onto the stand. Total time is 1-2 hours depending on how easy you can lift the machine. We can do it in 30 minutes in the factory, but most customers take 1-2 hours.
  • Unpack the electronics box and bolt it to the stand. It ships boxed with the machine frame.
  • Install the rack and pinion drives on the Y-Axis. They ship off of the machine in order to not damage the pinions. If you get the plug and play setup, we can preload the motors onto the Rack and Pinion drives and run the motor cables through the chain. The X-Axis (going across the gantry) would be pre-installed. The installation is literally 2 bolts, then tighten a shaft collar, then adjust the spring tension.
  • You will need to install your router/spindle. I can get a plug and play 2.2KW spindle in for you and pre-mount it and run the wiring. If you use a router like the Porter Cable 7518, it's a quick installation to drop the router in, tighten the bolts and run the plug back to the box.
  • Decide what type of table you are using and make/install it. The Saturn routers do NOT come with tables.

All said you should have 2-4 hours of setup plus whatever it takes to do the table.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,371 Posts
Oh Boy -- I might be able to almost do that much. Might even be able to assemble it in the basement. Don't know if I dare ask the price - I'll either start gathering my pennies up or choke!! Approx. price with a spindle, Nate?

Is Mach 4 hard to adjust to? I know it's only a couple hundred $$.
 
  • Like
Reactions: difalkner

·
Administrator
David
Joined
·
3,976 Posts
I started with Mach4 so coming from nothing to Mach4 was pretty effortless. I find it easy to use and so far it hasn't gotten in my way for doing any task. There are a whole lot more scripts and screens and toys for Mach3 but I'd rather have the newer platform.

David
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top