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CNC 4'x8' router - ball screws vs helical rack

I'd haunt whatever machine-specific forums are available for the two (or other options) and see which has the least unhappy users. I don't care about glowing reviews, I want to see what the grumpy Gus's have to say.

In the Camaster forum, any dirty laundry is wisked off to a password protected "owner's only" area. The forum is a sales tool, but can be very helpful. Might check cnc zone with same question.

I own a lower end stepper driven Camaster. Personally, I was a little put off by some build quality details. Wincnc is ok. I was not impressed how they preloaded the pinion against the rack. Repeatability over a hour.. not so much. That is a stepper machine though. I'd expect their higher end machines do much better.

My estimation is ShopSabre is the more established of the two..
 
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When I was looking into routers in this class, I thought that the DMS Patriot was more impressive than either the shopsabre or the cammaster. For what that's worth.
The pictures of the frame do not look nearly as robust, and only 8 position tool holder vs 12. shorter Z height and stroke. Their bigger machines look realy nice, though, and if I ever can find an excuse to buy one (and the money), it's good to know they are out there.
 
The pictures of the frame do not look nearly as robust, and only 8 position tool holder vs 12. shorter Z height and stroke. Their bigger machines look realy nice, though, and if I ever can find an excuse to buy one (and the money), it's good to know they are out there.
That's all true, but if you're only interested in an extremely stout looking frames with cheesy controllers, the chinese will be happy to put something 5k pounds on your doorstep for $15,000.

I ended up with a Laguna SmartShop II, which came up local to me nearly unused for a good price. Don't buy one of those, either. I get good use out of it but...
 
Agree on some level that wincnc is a cheesy controller, but it works, and it’s what the other people I work with already know how to use. On some level I need to rationalize the equipment, so we don’t need an expert for each individual machine. If I spend enough money I can get Mitsubishi, fanuc or similar controller. What I get for that is not going to be a game changer for people making cuts in plywood, foam, etc, making models, furniture, etc.

I might buy a $15000 china special (or build my own from the ground up) if it were for me personally, but I need something that will just work, and has easy access to repair parts and service assistance if it breaks down. If I’m trying to figure out how to source parts for a machine that is not supported by the manufacturer, I can’t keep up with the rest of my job.
 
Don't be so shy, share with us.
It's a weird amalgam of Chinese iron, b&r controller, good spindle, all pasted together. The control is pretty good (for a stepper motor control) it doesn't lose steps and the repeatability is actually very good.

But, for example, they didn't put any sensors or interlocks at all in the tool change routine. I've come back multiple times to find it missed a tool change and there are multiple broken tool changer fingers and holders all over the floor. On the other hand, it uses generic Chinese tool changer fingers that I can get on Amazon next day for next to nothing. Laguna paid B&R to to the firmware once, and that was that. So there's some obvious functionality that's missing, and will always be missing. Most notably, there are no Z coordinates on the work offsets, which makes you wonder what the point of having offsets is, as you can't run multiple fixtures. Programs only run directly from the USB port, and if it loses contact with the thumb drive while running the control crashes. The pop up pins are just standard air cylinders, so they only locate +-.01 or so.

It lives in my garage, I get real work done with it. I mostly bought it because it was the right price and it was already set up single phase for the spindle and the drive and the vacuum pump.

For what I paid, it does the business. For what they ask for a new one? You'd be insane.
 








 
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