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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am seriously considering buying an x-carve. There are so many options to add to it I really dont know what to add to the package. I am thinking about starting with the 750 mm table. Could someone guide me in the direction so can buy what I need and not spend on items that will just sit there. I want to carve on wood and other material if I can. Mainly woodworking. I would like to get into some 3d carving if I could with this machine. any advice would be appreciated.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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What's your budget, Chuy? How often do you plan to use the CNC? Are you going to be doing just signs and plaques or will you be wanting to do short production runs on engineering type pieces? The requirements, and cost, for these are different. You can do signs and plaques all day long on a more robust and rigid machine along with the engineered pieces in quantity. A smaller and lighter machine may not be as repeatable or accurate as the heavier and more rigid machines but that doesn't matter as much on signs and plaques.

David
 

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Get a CNC router with a 2.2kW watercooled Variable speed spindle

Advice --- don't get an X carve
I agree.
Get a proper CNC router with a 2.2kW watercooled Variable speed spindle that will take 1/2" shank router bits. The X-carve use a std noisy 1/4" router.
A chinese made CNC machine is NOT very expensive.
I've got a Chinese made 6040 CNC and run Mach3.
I use a cheap CAM software called HEEKS CNC (US$10-20) with which I can do 3-D carvings with it.
CAM software can be very expensive and hard to learn. So I recommend the cheap MACH3's wizards add-ons to get 80% of your cutting or carving jobs done very quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What's your budget, Chuy? How often do you plan to use the CNC? Are you going to be doing just signs and plaques or will you be wanting to do short production runs on engineering type pieces? The requirements, and cost, for these are different. You can do signs and plaques all day long on a more robust and rigid machine along with the engineered pieces in quantity. A smaller and lighter machine may not be as repeatable or accurate as the heavier and more rigid machines but that doesn't matter as much on signs and plaques.

David
The most I can do right now is about $1500 on the high end. That is why I was considering an X-Carve.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree.
Get a proper CNC router with a 2.2kW watercooled Variable speed spindle that will take 1/2" shank router bits. The X-carve use a std noisy 1/4" router.
A chinese made CNC machine is NOT very expensive.
I've got a Chinese made 6040 CNC and run Mach3.
I use a cheap CAM software called HEEKS CNC (US$10-20) with which I can do 3-D carvings with it.
CAM software can be very expensive and hard to learn. So I recommend the cheap MACH3's wizards add-ons to get 80% of your cutting or carving jobs done very quickly.
Wow, this is the first time I have seen someone endorse a Chinese product. I will look at the reviews, thanks.

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crookedkut,

I purchased the x-carve 1000. It was cheap and easy to put together. I did not buy any of the homing switches. I did buy the clamps. Don't buy the tool PKG. It was very basic, but for what I use it for it is great. It is not as heavy duty as some. So it depends on what you want to do with it. The 700 is smaller and I started to go with it and then measured it all and upped to the 1000. The 1000 will do a project without tiling at about 38 inches by 38 inches. So far I have not needed anything larger. The 700 would not have done some of the projects I have done.
I bought a smaller unit earlier and paid more for it than I did for the X-Carve and it was a mistake from the start as it was not large enough for what I needed unless I Tiled in X and Y directions. Set up for Tiling is a pain to me. If you make the slightest of errors when Tiling, you will pay a price.
Overall I would rate the X-Carve at a 4 out of 5.
There are Vids galore to help with the assembly and the support group is fantastic. If you email, they answer back within a very short time and if you call, you may have to wait for a tec, but not very long. They can tell you and explain to you what it is needed. If you have Team Viewer on your computer, they will show you right on your computer what you need to do, to make it work the way you want. Team Viewer is no cost. Software of your choice. I paid about 1500. The directions were good, and you have a little experience building this type of project, it will no problem. Time is the issue, about 9 hours for me to put it together. Be sure you have enough space to lay it all out on. This was key for me. Good luck and I hope this may be of some help to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
crookedkut,

I purchased the x-carve 1000. It was cheap and easy to put together. I did not buy any of the homing switches. I did buy the clamps. Don't buy the tool PKG. It was very basic, but for what I use it for it is great. It is not as heavy duty as some. So it depends on what you want to do with it. The 700 is smaller and I started to go with it and then measured it all and upped to the 1000. The 1000 will do a project without tiling at about 38 inches by 38 inches. So far I have not needed anything larger. The 700 would not have done some of the projects I have done.
I bought a smaller unit earlier and paid more for it than I did for the X-Carve and it was a mistake from the start as it was not large enough for what I needed unless I Tiled in X and Y directions. Set up for Tiling is a pain to me. If you make the slightest of errors when Tiling, you will pay a price.
Overall I would rate the X-Carve at a 4 out of 5.
There are Vids galore to help with the assembly and the support group is fantastic. If you email, they answer back within a very short time and if you call, you may have to wait for a tec, but not very long. They can tell you and explain to you what it is needed. If you have Team Viewer on your computer, they will show you right on your computer what you need to do, to make it work the way you want. Team Viewer is no cost. Software of your choice. I paid about 1500. The directions were good, and you have a little experience building this type of project, it will no problem. Time is the issue, about 9 hours for me to put it together. Be sure you have enough space to lay it all out on. This was key for me. Good luck and I hope this may be of some help to you.
Thank you for the advice. I know there are much better routing machines out there but I am not going to fool myself and say that I am going to get one if I don't have the money.

Can you do 3D projects with this machine with the proper software or do you have to stay with simple 2D designs? I have Team Viewer and I have used it when needing help with the CorelDraw software when working on t-shirts for our screenprinting business. Have you seen limitations on the software? Do you recommend the additional software that they offer or something else?
 

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I endorse Chinese CNC with qualifications

Wow, this is the first time I have seen someone endorse a Chinese product. I will look at the reviews, thanks.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Hi
I wish to clarify why I endorse the Chinese CNC router. Price and Upgradability.
I've got one and I could tune it myself, add limit switches to it and get fairly good results without changing control boards. Many others however think that mechanical parts of Chinese CNC machines are OK but they prefer better electronics and upgraded with USA GECKO CNC control boards and drivers for better speed and performance. The Chinese mechanical parts and stepper-motors are reusable.
When you upgrade you will probably be happier. BUT you can learn or probably earn some income even with slower speed first. With the x-carve - you will be disappointed very soon.
MACH3 is American as are most CAM software. There is MACH4 but MACH3 has more users and free user support and the license permits commercial use. Mach4 commercial version is very expensive and the hobby version is OK but CRIPPLED.

I am actually still an IT consultant - computer reseller. I still custom build PCs every month for my customer who sells American made PlasmaCAM machines for metal working in Australia. They are much better than any Chinese machines and I won't recommend any Chinese Plasma Cutting machines.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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There is MACH4 but MACH3 has more users and free user support and the license permits commercial use. Mach4 commercial version is very expensive and the hobby version is OK but CRIPPLED.
Maybe I don't push it very hard but in the last 18 months I have found no limitations in Mach4 Hobby. Works great for me.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was reading that the software is net based. Ireally don't like that idea. I sometime have trouble getting internet here at my house. I dont want to be in the middle of a job and then lose internet capabilities.

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If you get something like Vectric -- it's on your computer once downloaded.
 

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I bought the small X-carve CNC mainly out of curiosity. I already own a CNC shark and Probotix Meteor. The X-carve and its belt drives gave me pause as even after I tightened them up I could move the gantry enough that I abandoned it and haven't used it. I'm currently using the stepper motors from that kit for a plywood CNC I'm building. Ball screws and linear rails on all three axes.

4D
 

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Maybe I don't push it very hard but in the last 18 months I have found no limitations in Mach4 Hobby. Works great for me.

David
Mach 4 Hobby US200 Mach4 Industrial US1,400 (Mach3 FULL $175)

The Following are ALL NO for the Hobby version..(Yes refers to Industrial (commercial version)
Tool Life Management (G10 L3 command) Yes
Screw Mapping Yes
Professional Screen Designer (advanced G.U.I.) Yes
- Screen Animation Control Yes
- Screen Integrated Tool Table Control Yes
- Screen Integrated Work Offset Control Yes
- Screen Integrated gcode editor Yes
- Screen Artsoft Wizard Package Integration Yes
Macro B gcode Programming (#variables) Yes
- User definable gcodes via marco calls Yes
- Macro Calls: G65, G66, G66.1 Yes
- gcode via marco call (custom G codes via macro B) Yes
- mcode via macro call (custom M codes via macro B) Yes
- mcode via sub code (custom M code via sup program) Yes
- Conditional gcodes Yes
- set VN call - define variable names Yes
gcode Editor Included

MACH3 also listed as not able to do those things but because MACH3 uses C++ and original MACH programmer taught and allowed others to extend Mach3, many people have been able to enhanced MACH3 in creative ways.
MACH 4 uses LUA script with limited API, so if it is NO, you can do nothing about it but pay for the Industrial (commercial) version.
 

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Maybe I don't push it very hard but in the last 18 months I have found no limitations in Mach4 Hobby. Works great for me.

David
Ditto. Mach 4 hobby is not crippled, I’ve been using it for two years. Much better than Mach3 (but much smaller installed base).

Which of those industrial features do you actually use? They are mostly there so OEMs can customize it. You can write all the custom macros you want, you have access to far more inputs and outputs than most CNCs have. It is plenty for home CNCs.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Mach 4 Hobby US200 Mach4 Industrial US1,400 (Mach3 FULL $175)

The Following are ALL NO for the Hobby version..(Yes refers to Industrial (commercial version)
Tool Life Management (G10 L3 command) Yes
Screw Mapping Yes
Professional Screen Designer (advanced G.U.I.) Yes
- Screen Animation Control Yes
- Screen Integrated Tool Table Control Yes
- Screen Integrated Work Offset Control Yes
- Screen Integrated gcode editor Yes
- Screen Artsoft Wizard Package Integration Yes
Macro B gcode Programming (#variables) Yes
- User definable gcodes via marco calls Yes
- Macro Calls: G65, G66, G66.1 Yes
- gcode via marco call (custom G codes via macro B) Yes
- mcode via macro call (custom M codes via macro B) Yes
- mcode via sub code (custom M code via sup program) Yes
- Conditional gcodes Yes
- set VN call - define variable names Yes
gcode Editor Included

MACH3 also listed as not able to do those things but because MACH3 uses C++ and original MACH programmer taught and allowed others to extend Mach3, many people have been able to enhanced MACH3 in creative ways.
MACH 4 uses LUA script with limited API, so if it is NO, you can do nothing about it but pay for the Industrial (commercial) version.
Yep, after reading your list it's like I said - no limitations that I've run into yet. I don't use or need anything you listed and only know what half that stuff is anyway.

My 3HP PM66 has limitations relative to the 5HP PM66 but I have yet to bog down or even slow down the blade even while making 3" deep cuts in Walnut on the 3HP PM66. Therefore, the 3HP 'hobby' saw is plenty adequate for me, I don't need the Industrial 5HP model. :wink:

David
 

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If you are happy -please don't be grieved

Ditto. Mach 4 hobby is not crippled, I’ve been using it for two years. Much better than Mach3 (but much smaller installed base).

Which of those industrial features do you actually use? They are mostly there so OEMs can customize it. You can write all the custom macros you want, you have access to far more inputs and outputs than most CNCs have. It is plenty for home CNCs.
Please correct me if I am wrong
I think you cannot use a Microsoft 360 games controller to jog x,y,z a axis with Mach4 (yet?)
I use a webcam for digitising. Possible with Mach4 hobby yet?
I have auto zeroing of Z-axis, x, Y using other users C++ codes written by others and shared. Possible with Mach4 yet?

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Mach3 users can always upgrade.
 

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I have an MPG for jogging, so have never used a game controller, but I understand quite a few use the shuttle pro.
I have used a cheap usb cam for locating corners with a macro to move spindle the offset amount and zero the work coordinates. The standard install has a pretty complete probing module, I only use the Z-axis zeroing. There are user developed macros for doing a complete manual toolchange and resetting z based on a touch macro.

Unlike Mach3, screen elements are user configurable and macros can easily be edited, attached to screen buttons (which have configurable appearances and states. You can edit all the supplied macros, create any M macros you want, and the api is documented and fairly complete.

All of this has been available for at least the last two years. The major difference is that it really is designed to use some type of external motion controller (like the ESS), although for an extra $25 you can have it drive using the parallel port.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Mach3 users can always upgrade.
Yes, but unlike the Vectric line of products if you have Mach3 and want Mach4 you'll pay full price, no credit for your Mach3 purchase. Since Mach3 is at EOL I just started with Mach4 knowing there may be some stated limitations but also knowing those are so far above my current needs that I would be ok or find a work around.

I bought a Logitech F710 wireless game controller back when I was building the CNC but haven't really tried to hook it up for use. Seems like I spent about 5 minutes doing a search and couldn't find a readymade script so I put it aside. There may be one now, I don't know, but I haven't missed what I've never known. I just use the mouse and click on the buttons in Mach4 for jogging.

David
 
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