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Which CNC would you recommend?

Your assumptions are not accurate. Real CNCs from 30+ years ago are still a great starting out point and can even work hard everyday if you get the right ones.

I don't know how the used market is in Ukraine, but in the US you can buy a working older machine for not much more than your budget.
I can't find them anywhere in Europe for this low :(
Maybe I could find some local brands, but then I'll have an issue with its transportation and the workspace, because I don't have enough room to work with it properly. I'm currently on a learning path and such big heavy machines are not an option for me at the moment.
In real world people don't start learning how to drive a car on an eighteen-wheeler.
 
Your assumptions are not accurate. Real CNCs from 30+ years ago are still a great starting out point and can even work hard everyday if you get the right ones.

I don't know how the used market is in Ukraine, but in the US you can buy a working older machine for not much more than your budget.
My grandpa bought 3 heavy milling machines and they were rusting in his backyard since I was 5, and until he passed away. He never saw them running.
I'd rather have a smaller CNC that works and makes some light stuff, and go from there, than have a big heavy expensive (potentially good) mill that doesn't work and just takes up space in my garage.
 
In real world people don't start learning how to drive a car on an eighteen-wheeler.
Sure they do, if that's the most efficient path to what they want to do (plenty of farm kids learned on big rigs). My first CNC was a Brother tapping center. I knew nothing about CNC machines when I bought it. My first time driving a forklift was when I unloaded it with a 10k lb lift. My first time driving a big rig was driving one home 16 hours after buying it towing a 23 ton tag trailer that I bought with it. You have the internet at your fingertips, you don't have to learn by trial and error any more. You have access to virtually stand over the shoulder of lifelong professionals and watch them work and learn from them, as well as forums like this where extremely knowledgeable people with decades of experience volunteer their time to help others. Do the research up front and buy what you need to best do the job, there's no need for training wheels.. They'll just slow you down and cost you more in the long run.
 
$2k? 🤣

I'm looking at maybe picking up a cheap $20k router for plastic parts!

My starter machine was $120k.

$2k will get you a couple of vises.
It is good to have money. Yet some do not.
What did you buy for 120k as a startup? That a big bite out of the gate.
Cash flow on top to make it run? Where did that come from?
A friend wants to start a steel grind shop. Says he has $60k saved up. Comes to me for advice.
Has the itch than can not be scratched.
Four hours or talking and he says "Bob, it sounds like you are trying to talk out of this".
Me: "No, I get it. I just do not want to be the the guy who talks you into it."
Seven or eight out of all startup shops will fail within 6-10 years.
The failed shops do not post here or on the net but I have seen bad things happen to good people.

I have been to the edge. The cliff is deep.
Thought it all would work. Shotgun at my head rigged to pallet with a wire in my hand to the trigger.
Sat there close to 24 hours undecided. Just one tug. All this will be gone.
There are downsides if you spend too much money.
Bob
 
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My grandpa bought 3 heavy milling machines and they were rusting in his backyard since I was 5, and until he passed away. He never saw them running.
I'd rather have a smaller CNC that works and makes some light stuff, and go from there, than have a big heavy expensive (potentially good) mill that doesn't work and just takes up space in my garage.


Don't take this the wrong way, but you don't know what you don't know.

It isn't really possible to machine metal effectively without very heavy, rigid, accurate, powerful machines.

To make my first real part required a 13k lb lathe and a 17k lb mill. And those were not big machines.

If you want to make real stuff from metal start by getting an understanding of what machinery can do what. The machines you posted cannot cut metal effectively. They are flimsy routers.

Once you grasp what it takes to make what you need to make you can start shopping, or wait until you have a better situation.

A common mistake is to think you can machine stuff with a light hobby machine by taking tiny cuts. Doesn't really work that way. Takes a certain level of rigidity, dampening, spindle torque to do much of anything in metal.
 
My little baby CM-1's are 2200 pounds, without rotaries or workholding, and those have half-scale 20 taper spindles and 10" x 12" work envelopes. I can move them easily enough with a pallet jack. It's the smallest and lightest thing I know of that I could call a professional grade mill.
 
A common mistake is to think you can machine stuff with a light hobby machine by taking tiny cuts. Doesn't really work that way. Takes a certain level of rigidity, dampening, spindle torque to do much of anything in metal.
I understand but have you tried such?
Yes it is bad. Takes a lot of time so you will want bigger.
BUT it can do it if you like way under McD's pay per hour.
I can do tenths work on tool-holder pockets on a piss ass mill drill thing with my controls. It is so, so slow and so bad.
I had hopes to put ten low buck in the line but.. that not an option. Fussy bitch.

Above the Op asked about dual drive on a gantry. Thoughts on this from machine building people? (if you have never done it please sit down and shut up)

The OP does not have big budget but wants to make parts.
Should we kill him and say this all wrong and you are posting into the the real machine forum where we do not like you or try to help?
I guess we will see.
I was a rookie. Good men helped and taught me. Some men thought me an ass and totally stupid. I can not forget that.
Maybe such question are not allowed here as this board only for "seasoned" professionals.
 
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Above the Op asked about dual drive on a gantry.
Better to connect the screws than use dual drives. That way you can tune the axis to be square and don't have any issues around drives that are not perfectly matched.
 
For all the naysayers about older iron.
Kira VTC30S 1995 $4500
Haas SMM2 2011 $20000
Bridgeport $200
QuickTech 6 axis lathe with live tooling $8000
Svend Jacobsen surface grinder $2500
Ribon internal external grinder $0
Pacific lathe $0
Miscellaneous accessories and tooling $0
Laser engraver $0

I can do anything I like on these machines and hold microns if I take care. I have more work than I can do if I want it. My clients are from aerospace to zoology and everything in between. My products are used by world championship winners and are considered to be the best by users who know what they are doing.I didn't buy everything at once but I was patient and waited for good deals.

This is not a one size fits all world. I would love to own the Makino I ran but I don't need it.

Saying all that I do think the poster should speak to the hobby side of the net. The machines he is looking at won't take a 12mm wide 20mm deep cut at 2000mm/min feed in aluminium. He should still lurk and when he has moved to more appropriate machines and then start asking the questions here. Regarding upgrading a upgraded hobby machine is still a hobby machine. If anything start with some conventional machines and move to CNC from there. You will work your ass off but if money is an issue then you need to pay in sweat.

Above all else don't listen to those who say it can't be done.
 
I have used a tabletop hobby mill before at a job that had one. It was extremely limited in the size of tools that could be used and the cuts it could take. A 1/8" tool would chatter on anything but the absolute lightest cut. This was a pretty well regarded hobby machine that cost 3k if I recall correctly. These machines are OK at cutting plastic, but struggle with aluminum. If you are cutting aluminum, hobby tabletop machines are a waste of money. You would be better off buying a file and drill press and layout fluid to make your parts. You could throw a party for your friends with all the money you saved.
 
Toothed belt on a machine like the ones he is looking at. I recently built a CNC press for inserting Wurth connectors in a PCB over a metre long. I used rack and pinion drive, if I experienced a racking problem I was going to use two pinions connected by a shaft.
 
There are some mono block small mills coming out of Asia- not recommending alibiba, a place to start. Emgo might have more pinned down recommendations.
Go with a size up on your drives. Nema 34 steppers have plenty of power and speed for the scale you are looking at. Not those hybrid things, real steppers.

The router like things, you will not be happy with the results.

If you find a cm1 haas double your budget- run, do not walk - with cash in hand to the seller.
 
Toothed belt on a machine like the ones he is looking at. I recently built a CNC press for inserting Wurth connectors in a PCB over a metre long. I used rack and pinion drive, if I experienced a racking problem I was going to use two pinions connected by a shaft.
I previously looked at a cheaper machine that had toothed belt on Y axis, it has too much elasticity and as a result the parts come out oval instead of round.
I didn't notice it had belt at first, I've noticed the parts were not geometrically correct and started investigating and then found out it had a belt instead of the proper screw drive
 
I'll stop you all there: I'd rather have a cheaper machine that can have *some* of the work done now, than not have an expensive machine and get done nothing.
If it won't be able to cut some aluminum parts I need - I'll still be able to use it for cutting FPV frames and do engraving.
So please, help me choose between these two in terms of upgradeability and their initial design.
When I'm ready to buy a bigger professional machine - I'll ask you about it. At the moment this isn't what I'm asking about 🥲
 
The problem with cheap old iron is that its difficult/expensive to move and you need a proper shop to put it in and power it. That puts it out of reach for alot of folks regardless of how cheap the machine itself is.

As for the op, if you are a 'DIY guy' jsut go build your own. Some junkyard steel, steppers for $150, ballscrews for $120, linear rails for $60 and a $10 Ardunio for a controller. Throw in an old router for a spindle and you've got something better than those you pictured for a couple hundred bucks. Its still going to struggle at making Al parts, but you will learn why you need more power, rigidity, a full enclosure, and flood coolant real fast. Its not an appropriate topic for this site, but there is a ton of info on DIY machines all over the place.
 
The problem with cheap old iron is that its difficult/expensive to move and you need a proper shop to put it in and power it. That puts it out of reach for alot of folks regardless of how cheap the machine itself is.

As for the op, if you are a 'DIY guy' jsut go build your own. Some junkyard steel, steppers for $150, ballscrews for $120, linear rails for $60 and a $10 Ardunio for a controller. Throw in an old router for a spindle and you've got something better than those you pictured for a couple hundred bucks. Its still going to struggle at making Al parts, but you will learn why you need more power, rigidity, a full enclosure, and flood coolant real fast. Its not an appropriate topic for this site, but there is a ton of info on DIY machines all over the place.
I would need to precision cut that junkyard steel to make the frame, at the end I'll end up paying more for the tools needed to do it, or a shop that would do it for me.
I still like the idea of figuring this stuff out, and I thought about it myself, but I might not have that much time for this since I can get conscripted any day now, and if I start building it from scratch - I might never finish it, but if I buy a pre -built one - it can start making FPV frames or other "accessories" for it right away, I have friends who would be willing to do it if I'm not around.
 
OP - I'd look into a Bantam machine. They're cute little desktop CNC routers like in the photos you mentioned, but (at least as far as I can tell) of better quality. Our electrical tech here at the school has one (primarily for drilling circuit boards) and we've whipped out a few aluminum odds and end on it. Don't know if you can find one used or not - the new ones will definitely stretch your budget, though (>$4000 US).

I realize this might not be what you're looking for, but I don't know if anyone on this forum has tried either of the machines you showed at the beginning to confirm (at the very basic level) that they're not scams composed of loose hardware in a bag with unintelligible assembly instructions. The Bantam is a small machine that works (but buy some earplugs too...we call ours the "Screamin' Chicken").

All that to say, best of luck to you
 








 
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