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Any CNC guys here?

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I can't afford one but am starting to try to learn a bit. Went to a Rockler Shark user group meeting and met some nice folks. But that is one pricey piece of equipment. (Sharks about $5k after bells and whistles and tax)

Another nice but spendy unit is the Shopbot. Again about $5-6k

But one I learned about is a Shapeoko2 ($600 -$1000 kits)and coming soon is a Shapeoko3 ($1300 or so). Much cheaper but is kind of a kit type deal you build yourself - sort of opensource CNC.

I am not even sure what I would use it for to try to make money (make money, right!...) but these can do pretty cool things. I know the new Rockler Axiom ($6k+) will likely have a 3D printer attachment to. These are on my wish list, but I won't be rich enough any time soon!

If anybody has experience with these more "homeowner cost" type CNC I would love to hear any info or advice or horror stories. Thanks!

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I can't afford one but am starting to try to learn a bit. Went to a Rockler Shark user group meeting and met some nice folks. But that is one pricey piece of equipment. (Sharks about $5k after bells and whistles and tax)

Another nice but spendy unit is the Shopbot. Again about $5-6k

But one I learned about is a Shapeoko2 ($600 -$1000 kits)and coming soon is a Shapeoko3 ($1300 or so). Much cheaper but is kind of a kit type deal you build yourself - sort of opensource CNC.

I am not even sure what I would use it for to try to make money (make money, right!...) but these can do pretty cool things. I know the new Rockler Axiom ($6k+) will likely have a 3D printer attachment to. These are on my wish list, but I won't be rich enough any time soon!

If anybody has experience with these more "homeowner cost" type CNC I would love to hear any info or advice or horror stories. Thanks!

Before my knee when south I had a CNC built in Minnesota by a company called Shop Sabre out of Elko.

You need to ask yourself how proficient you are with programming or how much you are willing to spend on software in order to do run the CNC. The CC itself is only one part of the equation. You need a computer, software,tooling,dust collection, dust disposal,you need a way to hold down parts either by a vacuum system or by using screws, clamps or other things. ( I have a Raptor nailer that shoots nylon nails that you can shoot through the piece and into the table and the router can cut through them without hurting the cutter). Good cutters from a place like Vortex can be a hundred dollars each. My dovetail drawer/table surfacing kit was about a grand.

You can either use a router like a Porter Cable or a Spindle. A spindle is the way to go IMHO. Also, Mine had a tool changer which is sweet and saves a lot of time changing bits. (Every time you change a tool, you have to reset the Z to zero.) If you have nothing but time this is fine. If not it sucks.

Personally you are better off buying a used unit like the Shop Sabre.Camaster etc. Do you want to make money or do you have enough cash where this is just a time filling hobby? That is a big consideration.

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Thanks for the info. You had a pretty nice setup there PF! Pretty big!

To answer your questions, I make a living with computers (make games, sims, apps, etc. but not a programmer) so the software part is piece of cake for me. There are some pretty decent opensource packages available (meaning free and you can customize), and some that come with the more expensive machines, and of course the pay versions.

Not really thinking this would be a change in livelihood for me, but I can see it being a minor money maker (name tags for biz, another player in the cabin name sign or custom plaque like your HD stuff, or similar). I don't plan on sitting at craft fairs though.

Like I said, I don't have cash for it now, but see it as something cool to do if I ever had the resources.

And Del to answer your question, I have built computers, built my garage, and lots of stuff around the house, but I am in no way an electronic or building expert. I do have a Kreg Jig and just made a batch of drawers for the kitchen cabinets - heck I even made landing gear (out of scrap material and some casters) for my table saw so I can move it around easily, but still drop it solidly wink I think it would be cool to sort of build a CNC and related electronic controller etc, especially if it comes as a kit and is easier than from scratch. I like thinking things up and then trying to make them. Designing it on a computer and then seeing it come to life, and refining it, on the table would be awesome, I think.

But you gave me some of the kind of info I am looking for, advice from those who have done it. I will say that there have been some pretty big changes in the past couple years, and some are getting almost to the affordable range, and the software is cool and really pretty darn easy - its the fine tuning with the methods of the toolpath and speed and z-code (I know little to nothing of z-code yet) that makes it interesting. Not quite for me yet, but at around $1k for an entry level unit that a guy can putz around with would be pretty cool. Thanks for info!

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Well, all I can say is that you get what you pay for and you need to research the components that go into it before you jump in.

Steppers vs servos. Gear drive, ball and screw, etc and you needs to be able to do it all dead nutz. Now that I sold the cnc I bought a 3d printer for my daughter and they are pretty much like the kits you are talking about and if you just like putzing and doing their bets testing for them it can be a fun hobby. Personally, I want something that works and has a proven track record. When it breaks or doesn't work I want to be able to make a call and get it resolved and support cannot be underestimated.

If you want cheap there's lots of Chinese stuff flooding the market. most of them will cut letters on wood to make a sign but think about durability, how much time you want it to take to do what you want, and what software you want to run it.

Go to shop sabre and look at their stuff. I think a new small unit can be had for 3-4k and much better than anything you mentioned and they are made here in minny.

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Thanks PF! I will spend some time at that cnczone for sure! Like I said just learning now, maybe will never have one, maybe will. But I like research before I buy anything...

I certainly get it about getting quality first time. BTW the shapeoko3 is all American made, the alum, the steel, even the electronics according to their info.

But the Shop Sabre in MN is really interesting, and for not much more. Will certainly check them out too! Thanks much for info!

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Have you looked into 3d printers? The reason I ask is this is emerging tech and there are lots of choices available in the price range you mentioned. A big plus is the material is cheaper and you can afford to mess a few things up. And you can run a plastic melter with much less robust components than it takes to remove wood chips.

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Yeah, that is kinda what I was thinking. Not top of the line, but not bad for the price, if you aren't depending on it for a living. I am still not in the position even for that right now, but it is on my watch list wink and in the meantime I am just going to try to learn a bit more.

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