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Starting out in CNC

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Old 05-06-2012, 03:04 AM
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gosk8ing
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Default Starting out in CNC

Just after information about making your own CNC machining to cut balsa, ply and foam. Table size I'm looking for is about 18" x 36" but also maybe something a little bigger. How much would it cost to make something that is capable of only cutting those materials - I'm not interested in making something so strong it can mill metal. I've heard about $1000. Once built, how hard is it to make parts? From my research on the net, some people make it sound really hard and others make it sound easy. People that have already done it , was it worth it? Do you still use your machine? Would you do it all again or recommend it to someone that enjoys building from scratch but is sick of making 30 ribs using knife ect.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:05 AM
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fireplug1111
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Default RE: Starting out in CNC

try WWW.BUILDYOURCNC.COM

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Old 05-06-2012, 05:01 PM
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Default RE: Starting out in CNC

ORIGINAL: fireplug1111

try WWW.BUILDYOURCNC.COM


+1

I have a Black Toe (24x48). Cost wise, all told I probably have $3000 invested (kit, router, and end mills)NOT counting computer and software. Haven't really got it completely up and running yet, but my trial runs are encouraging. Most of my cuts are in foam. Looking at Vectric Cut 2D and 3D for the software.

http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr.../c2d_index.htm
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:53 PM
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Default RE: Starting out in CNC

Have a look here. Alsorts of good ideas etc.

http:/www.cnczone.com

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Old 05-11-2012, 04:27 AM
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Default RE: Starting out in CNC

I use my CNC router all the time - it has changed everything I do. It took me a long time to figure out a easy, fast workflow for it but once I did I started using it for everything. Sometimes I even use it in a manual mode to cut out openings in equipment boards or lightening holes in bulkheads or produce smooth curves when cutting out parts. Recently I have begun doing 3D designs which is really fun.

I have a Zenbot 16" x 24" . The price now with a 3 axis controller is about $1400 - its about as cheap as you can go for a "plug-and-play" CNC table (www.zenbotcnc.com). It is belt driven which keeps the cost down. It took me sometime to work out the kinks and get it calibrated but once I did I was able to get reasonably precise and reproducible cuts (+/- 0.005"). I use a 1hp Bosch Colt which is about $100 - I can cut pretty much anything - foam, carbon fiber, wood, aluminum, fiberglass. I added a precision collet from Think and Tinker and I buy inexpensive cutters on Ebay (about $3-5 each). You can use a dremel or rotozip but they have too much wobble for precision cuts. There are hundreds of add ons you can buy - I have an automatic Z-axis adjuster ($35), a laser sight to help guide placement, and lots of different hold-down appliances. I am currently making homing switches so the router can know where it is.

A major issue is software to make vector drawings - checkout Draftsight, its free from the guys who make Solidworks. It is worthwhile investing in a good program to produce G-code and workpaths from your vector drawings. I really like Sheetcam - its inexpensive (about $130 for a lifetime license), easy to use, and it is very well supported, there are a few free G-code interpreters but you get what you pay for. You will also need CNC controller software so your computer can talk to your CNC machine - Mach3 is the only real, affordable option ($150, www.machsupport.com). There is a huge amount of support on line for it as well as thousands of free plug-ins from CNC enthusiasts around the world.

Good luck

Phil


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