Is anyone running a CNC? Or do you have one that you have your eyes on? I personally am running a Shapeoko and haven't been happy with it. if I upgrade, I'm thinking about going to something with a rack and pinion or ball bearing and maybe even a 4 by 8. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm still on the low end of the spectrum. I know you can get a cheap Chinese one on eBay new for cheap, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. Anyone have any thoughts?
I know Kevin is running CNC, from this thread. I'd love to get into CNC as well, but the need and the budget isn't there, yet. ( 😉 )
That is a good point. He runs a really nice commercial one, but I bet he might have some ideas. @Kevin-Kendrick do you have any thoughts on this?
Yea guys, the one I use on the weekends isn't actually meant for what I do with it. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, lol. The boss lets me use it anytime I want and that's a heck of a fringe benefit if you ask me. It's a DMS 5-axis router ($145K new) and is typically used for cutting other types of materials like plastic, not MDF or plywood.
Couple of things I would suggest if you're considering purchasing a machine. First suggestion, a 3-axis will suffice but a must have is a good dust collection system, it's one of the things I miss most on these machines here at my workplace. Trust me, if you thought you were making a mess while cutting panels with a hand router, you're going to be shocked at how much bigger that mess can become on the CNC if it doesn't have dust collection. I'll take some pics next time I cut a set of cabinets (this next weekend probably) and post what the machine looks like afterwards. Second suggestion, bigger is not always better. If you're on the hunt for used equipment, you'll find many 4x8 machines on the market. Most cabinet shops use this size for efficiency in handling the materials. For guys like us (DIYer's), a smaller machine makes much more sense, especially when you consider most of us will have limited shop space to work with in the first place. No sense putting a 4x8 machine in a two bay garage, you just gave up half the shop for the machine. So how big is big enough, read on.
About a year or so ago, I built a small vacuum fixture (pic attached), decided on a 24"x32" because is would be easy to handle and with this size, you get six blanks from every 4x8 sheet of MDF or plywood. Have built a bunch of different size cabinets and this fixture has worked out great! In fact, I can only remember a couple of times where I needed a larger spoil board, towers and arrays. So my suggestion would be no bigger than a 4x4 and you could certainly entertain even smaller for space reasons. As for specific machine recommendations, there are so many to pick from now days, domestic and/or international, it's hard to keep up. I've heard good things about the Probotix CNC's. You can choose from the most basic model and add whatever options you feel would benefit you most as upgrades. Are there cheaper alternatives, sure, but buyer beware, sometimes you get what you pay for. Here's a link to check out one of the ProBotix machines, they offer several different sizes too. https://www.probotix.com/CNC-ROUTERS/CNC-ROUTER-GX3725
For anyone who decides to take the plunge, my door is always open. If you're looking for help picking options on a specific machine or if you already have a machine and you're looking for cutter suggestions, recommended feed rates, help on a vacuum fixture, etc. Just reach out and I'll help in any way I can.
Interesting that you say that. I was just thinking that a 4x8 would take up most of any shop. I found this 4x4 by millright CNC. It looks nice, but it's downside might be the router. It still uses the Dewalt hand router. It is only about $6k after shipping, but looks like it is built to last and is preassembled. I will definitely take a look at probotix as well.
The Dewalt router would be it's Achilles heel, IMO. They are fine for their intended purpose, hand routing. Have never been a fan of the CNC's that adapt hand-routers. While you're checking out the ProBotix stuff, take a look at their optional 80mm air cooled motor. If I was ordering one of their machines, that's the one I would go with. They also offer it water cooled but that requires all of the other stuff to make it work( pump, tank, filter, etc.).