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James, One point in relation to low end CNC 'routers' that I have seen quite often is people mentioning the actual cut time for jobs, often as a consequence of a failure somewhere part way through.
I'm in Aus also, and a lot of Mens Sheds operate for five or six hours one or two days a week. I figure it's one thing to do a 30 hour cut at home where you can monitor regularly, but it might vary from impractical to virtually impossible if people only have short term access to the shed a couple of days a week, I can't see a shed being happy to leave a machine running in the background if the shed is inaccessible for a couple of days. Your shed may be much more active than the ones I have lived near over the years, which would partially negate the issue.

As a general rule with CNC machinery, performance costs money, and the truly base level ebay special models seem to have issues just running reliably, let alone doing intricate work that takes some time. I was spoiled, as my CNC router experience was 4 years operating an industrial machine that had a 14 tool tool changer, 8ft+ x 6ft+ vacuum bed, a 10 HP spindle and 1HP AC servo motors for the transport mechanism. That machine could process an 8x6 board into 20 cabinet parts that were ready for edge banding and assembly in under 10 minutes, providing every feature that was required for the finished cabinets, such as all hardware holes, screw pilot holes for assembly, two pass cutting cycles etc. That's a long way beyond machines with 40w stepper motors with limited torque and speed and spindles or DC motors pretending to be spindles that are well under 1HP and often speed limited also.
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