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Which CNC would you recommend?

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
Of course they're better quality, they cost like 3x the price of those two))) For the price of a Bantam machine I can buy a high grade machine from either of those two manufacturers and it will look as good as Bantam.
 
If DiY is on the table, you could certainly build something better than those two. I'd avoid extruded aluminum frames if you ever want to cut metal. Build it from blanchard ground solid steel riding on linear rails and driven by ballscrews like the video below. The non-precision supporting structure can be made from gravel filled epoxy (epoxy granite), or even steel tubing filled with epoxy granite. Size it according to your needs and budget. Keep in mind the smaller the work area the more rigid you can make it for less cost, so size accordingly.
 
If you want to make actual parts, find an inexpensive manual mill and do a CNC conversion. It will be 200 times better than any flimsy hobby router.

If you just want to mess around with CNC, then any cheap router you can buy will teach you the basics.
 
If you want to make actual parts, find an inexpensive manual mill and do a CNC conversion. It will be 200 times better than any flimsy hobby router.

We had a sign shop up the street make a thing out of clear plastic with an engraved design, with a colored backing behind it. They had a router they said cost about $3,500. It did a really nice, intricate job. I was surprised at how good it came out.

I'm sure there's a bunch of crap out there but some cheap routers can do a nice job.
 
If DiY is on the table, you could certainly build something better than those two. I'd avoid extruded aluminum frames if you ever want to cut metal. Build it from blanchard ground solid steel riding on linear rails and driven by ballscrews like the video below. The non-precision supporting structure can be made from gravel filled epoxy (epoxy granite), or even steel tubing filled with epoxy granite. Size it according to your needs and budget. Keep in mind the smaller the work area the more rigid you can make it for less cost, so size accordingly.
I'll definitely do this later when I have more experience, what you see in that video is done in a well equipped shop by a dude who definitely knows what he's doing. I need a working CNC to figure out all the nuances and design flaws before I start building my own one. The materials and tools you see in that video cost well over 2k USD, and this doesn't include the cost of all the "first time mistakes" I would make.
Thanks for the video though, I saved it for later.
 
Thank you everyone, I went with this one, it's 6090-200 SFU, it uses ball-screw instead of lead screw on all axes, and it's bigger than those previous two, but the price was not that different so I decided if I ever want to try building my own one or upgrade it - I'll need a bigger machine to machine it.It It also has an increased travel on Z axis (200mm). I also ordered a mechanical Z-Probe with it. They said I can later order all the upgrades they have for it separately, also they said it can be made with linear rails for some extra cost, but I ran out of money so I decided to go with SBR for now and convert it to linear later if I need to. Also they said they use double Y drives only for their bigger models, so I assume the single one is fine for now, I can upgrade it myself later if I feel the need, I'll have a machine to make all the necessary mounts for it))

I already ordered it and they're manufacturing it for me (they don't have any in stock, that's one of the ways how they're able to keep the price this low), it will take them about a week or so to manufacture it and then they'll send it with a postal company because their manufacturing is located in a different city 1000km from me. If anyone is interested to see how it goes please let me know, I can post an update here once I receive it.
 

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So it arrived about a week ago.
Here's my first cut with it.
I've already crashed the Z axis while setting it up 😅, good thing it has low torque steppers.
So far I'm happy with it, the build quality is pretty decent.
Future plans: Add proper spoil board (this one is too flexible and too low), tram it, add dust vacuuming, build enclosure, upgrade spindle, replace steppers with servos, upgrade Y axis with double motors to remove play on the sides, replace SBRs with HGR.

One thing I don't like about Mach3 is it can only jog 1 axis at a time, is there any way around it (without buying more stuff, I'm happy with the laptop for now)?

Thank you for your help so far.
 

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Ah, "spoil board", dust vacuuming, phallic symbol out of cardboard....hm, me thinks this is a woodworking router....wrong forum for that ;)
 
Ah, "spoil board", dust vacuuming, phallic symbol out of cardboard....hm, me thinks this is a woodworking router....wrong forum for that ;)
Not really, but I have a friend who makes furniture and this would allow me to learn faster and pay the bills while doing it.
Everything i listed would be useful for other materials, not just wood.
Yesterday i was looking at granite slabs, not precision ones, but to raise the surface, not sure if it's a good idea though.I need a way to mount stock about 8cm higher.
 
Hold on there pardner.....in metal CNC operations, one does not use a spoil board, or mount stock directly on a granite slab, one uses vises and fixtures, and one is very very careful that the cutters don't hit such vises, fixtures, etc....

I'm gonna try really hard here to give you some solid advice:
- you are starting with the WRONG MACHINE for doing metal CNC work. The primary issue is that you have what appears to be an aluminum gantry style machine that is bolted together. This is just not gonna be rigid enough to get reasonable results. I suggest you review photos of professional metal cutting CNC machines, you will see that they all start with a very robust cast iron or similar structure which is very rigid and able to absorb vibrations, handle the stresses of the cutting operation, handle the stresses of the rapid movement of table, etc....if you were to try cutting even the lightest aluminum cuts you will find that you have all sorts of inconsistent behavior that will destroy your tolerances on your current machine
- BEFORE you go off trying to modify your machine to work with metal, you REALLY need to learn a lot more about machining. I STRONGLY suggest you do some manual machining for a while and get an intuitive feel for how milling machines, cutters, feeds and speeds, lubricants, all affect the machining results. Not sure if available in your area, but taking an apprentice or similar college set of classes could be invaluable, getting some advice and guidance from experienced machinists...after this, YOU WILL understand what I'm saying in the previous sentence, as you will see the affects of machine stiffness on your results

Now, if you just want to play with plastics and wood, and fiddle with a very simple CNC machine with huge limitations (due to the controller you have), you most certainly can do that with the style of machine you have there.

You will get much more encouragement from the hobby oriented web sites, this site focuses on professional machines.
 
To OP, here is a very interesting DIY CNC mill being built by a very smart guy:

What is interesting about this project by Stefan is that he is starting with a very rigid frame with a lot of mass, and then putting together 3-axis operations around this frame.
 
Use what you got. You might find one item to change in the future.. besides the machine.
You do not have the money to swap to servos and drives with the same torque as your steppers. You will gain (maybe) slightly faster rapids, your machine can not handle that. You will not gain accuracy or control, likely to lose accuracy and rigidity moving to reduction setup.
Anything more squshum than a dremel for the spindle is going to overpower the frame and lead to worse cuts.

Why is there side play? That sounds like operator error, not motor. Dual drive gantries are big or have geometry needs. Big is 6 feet or more span. One axle, one motor.

MIDI line is how you jog multiple axis.

Enclosure, again why? You are not spraying shards of steel and coolant.

Throw money at vices and clamps, measuring items, a few cutters- not the machine. Have fun with it.
 
Use what you got. You might find one item to change in the future.. besides the machine.
You do not have the money to swap to servos and drives with the same torque as your steppers. You will gain (maybe) slightly faster rapids, your machine can not handle that. You will not gain accuracy or control, likely to lose accuracy and rigidity moving to reduction setup.
Anything more squshum than a dremel for the spindle is going to overpower the frame and lead to worse cuts.

Why is there side play? That sounds like operator error, not motor. Dual drive gantries are big or have geometry needs. Big is 6 feet or more span. One axle, one motor.

MIDI line is how you jog multiple axis.

Enclosure, again why? You are not spraying shards of steel and coolant.

Throw money at vices and clamps, measuring items, a few cutters- not the machine. Have fun with it.
No, i meant it for a long perspective, of course I'll buy clamps, tools and cutters first, I already bought some, but the reason I was looking at servos is to
1. Increase torque.
2. Have closed loop.
3. Remove vibrations that steppers naturally have.

As for the machine rigidity - i know it's not as rigid as the ones with cast iron fixed gantry, I knew what I'm getting into before buying it, I have YouTube, I'm not that stupid))
I'm also not really interested in manual machining nor I have it available for me nearby, I'm an IT guy, I love pressing buttons and have the machine do everything for me 🤪.
The reason I bought this particular CNC is because of the table size, for a fixed cast iron gantry to have this work area it would have to be GIANT lol.
I do, however, plan on buying a smaller milling machine with a cast gantry, possibly even not CNC to begin with, and then convert it.
For now, as you said, I'm having fun with this one ☺️
 
Hold on there pardner.....in metal CNC operations, one does not use a spoil board, or mount stock directly on a granite slab, one uses vises and fixtures, and one is very very careful that the cutters don't hit such vises, fixtures, etc....

I'm gonna try really hard here to give you some solid advice:
- you are starting with the WRONG MACHINE for doing metal CNC work. The primary issue is that you have what appears to be an aluminum gantry style machine that is bolted together. This is just not gonna be rigid enough to get reasonable results. I suggest you review photos of professional metal cutting CNC machines, you will see that they all start with a very robust cast iron or similar structure which is very rigid and able to absorb vibrations, handle the stresses of the cutting operation, handle the stresses of the rapid movement of table, etc....if you were to try cutting even the lightest aluminum cuts you will find that you have all sorts of inconsistent behavior that will destroy your tolerances on your current machine
- BEFORE you go off trying to modify your machine to work with metal, you REALLY need to learn a lot more about machining. I STRONGLY suggest you do some manual machining for a while and get an intuitive feel for how milling machines, cutters, feeds and speeds, lubricants, all affect the machining results. Not sure if available in your area, but taking an apprentice or similar college set of classes could be invaluable, getting some advice and guidance from experienced machinists...after this, YOU WILL understand what I'm saying in the previous sentence, as you will see the affects of machine stiffness on your results

Now, if you just want to play with plastics and wood, and fiddle with a very simple CNC machine with huge limitations (due to the controller you have), you most certainly can do that with the style of machine you have there.

You will get much more encouragement from the hobby oriented web sites, this site focuses on professional machines.
I addressed most of the points in my previous reply, one thing I forgot:
It's not an aluminum machine, all the important parts are steel. The base is one solid unit made of welded steel profiles and plates, it's quite rigid. The gantry sides are steel as well, with rigidity steel fins bolted to it.
Z axis is also welded steel, but it's quite thin walled, so it wants an upgrade.
The only structural aluminum extrusion I don't like it's the X axis cross beam. Maybe if I manage to find super heavy HGR rails and also bolt a rigidity solid metal plate to the back of X axis - it'll stiffen it nicely.
 
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Use what you got. You might find one item to change in the future.. besides the machine.
You do not have the money to swap to servos and drives with the same torque as your steppers. You will gain (maybe) slightly faster rapids, your machine can not handle that. You will not gain accuracy or control, likely to lose accuracy and rigidity moving to reduction setup.
Anything more squshum than a dremel for the spindle is going to overpower the frame and lead to worse cuts.

Why is there side play? That sounds like operator error, not motor. Dual drive gantries are big or have geometry needs. Big is 6 feet or more span. One axle, one motor.

MIDI line is how you jog multiple axis.

Enclosure, again why? You are not spraying shards of steel and coolant.

Throw money at vices and clamps, measuring items, a few cutters- not the machine. Have fun with it.
They sell up to 1500W water cooled spindles as upgrades for the machine.
The side play is due to the Y drive being in the middle, so there's a leverage on the sides, i can slightly wiggle the gantry with my hands on the sides, like it's pivoting around the center, but it was with the machine turned off, maybe I should try it with the machine enabled.
That was exactly my concern when choosing a single Y axis motor model.
If the play is still there when the machine is powered on, I'll see if there's a way to tighten the SBR carriage, for now.
 
I think the low end of precision CNC mill would be a CNC bridgeport for $5,000.
But that price might buy a pretty worn out one.

A desktop CNC Router would give some programing talents but would not teach anything about fixturing parts, Fixturing partsis often very important.
 
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