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Budget CNC

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mick H28/10/2020 16:35:43
734 forum posts
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Is there such a thing as Budget CNC? My 16 year old grandson in Australia would like to expand into this area. He has experience with computer building and programming together with manual lathe, milling machine and 3D printing experience.

An off the shelf machine at circa £3000 is out of his reach at the moment even with Christmas on the horizon. Should he just save up his dollars or try a different approach?

Mick

JasonB28/10/2020 16:51:34
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He could take a look at some of the small gantry type routers, the "3040" size would be quite a bit cheaper and although it's not going to munch through blocks of steel will do aluminium and other sheet type materials

Michael Gilligan28/10/2020 17:14:11
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I posted a link recently, to a continuing series in ‘TimePiece’

... commencing issue 82 [May/June 2019] available here: **LINK**

https://www.bwcmg.org/timepiece

The articles are brief, but [in my opinion] informative

MichaelG.

Brian H28/10/2020 17:45:10
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1857 forum posts
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There is an excellent website with helpful people here;

**LINK**

Brian

John Haine28/10/2020 17:55:57
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184 photos

Not sure if it helps but I was able to get the milling machine bit of a Novamill off ebay for £600 and built the electronics for around 200. Even with Mach3 it all came in under 1000.

Andrew Evans28/10/2020 20:16:15
329 forum posts
8 photos

Similar to John, I have a Denford Orac up and running with Planet CNC for under £1000 with all new motors, drivers, a control board, software and a computer. Maybe harder in Australia as I guess availability of used CNC machines is lower. So it is possible to get a well built CNC lathe or milling machine with a modern control system for a reasonable sum if you are willing to put a lot of effort in. Certainly not cheap or easy though and fair play if he can tackle it at his age.

Bazyle28/10/2020 20:49:07
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Rather than being a perfectionist at the start maybe suggest starting with a mockup of the tables in wood with small cheap steppers while he perfects the computer control side where you say he has some experience. Then progressively uprate the steppers and design his own table but keeoing small - like 4in cube which will cover 90% of initial machining rather than rushing into a 2ft square table and precision ball screws.

Search Solsylva. I think the original site is gone but one was demonstrated at the Bristol MEX 5+ years ago, A thread I then found somewhere explained how someone uprated it progressively to work to 1 thou in aluminium.

Paul Lousick28/10/2020 22:05:29
1576 forum posts
594 photos

A CNC router for cutting wood is a cheaper option than a mill or lathe. (a quick search found these).

**LINK**

**LINK**

mick H29/10/2020 07:48:33
734 forum posts
21 photos

Thanks very much gents. I have sent him all the links. I have a feeling that he might be attracted to the machines oriented towards wood as he has a wood lathe and enjoys the medium.

Mick

David Colwill29/10/2020 08:32:02
670 forum posts
34 photos
Posted by mick H on 29/10/2020 07:48:33:

Thanks very much gents. I have sent him all the links. I have a feeling that he might be attracted to the machines oriented towards wood as he has a wood lathe and enjoys the medium.

Mick

Oh dear! smile p

IanT29/10/2020 17:42:20
1669 forum posts
161 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 28/10/2020 17:14:11:

I posted a link recently, to a continuing series in ‘TimePiece’

... commencing issue 82 [May/June 2019] available here: **LINK**

https://www.bwcmg.org/timepiece

The articles are brief, but [in my opinion] informative

MichaelG.

Another very good link Michael.

I've downloaded the CNC series and had a first pass read. Obviously, as a non-watch maker/repairer a good deal of it went straight over my head - but in terms of micro-machining, I found it very thought provoking. The use of CNC to do manual 'micro-drilling' was most interesting - and no CAD/CAM involved...

And it might even be almost affordable too....

Thank you.

Regards,

IanT

JasonB29/10/2020 18:28:59
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Posted by IanT on 29/10/2020 17:42:20:

I've downloaded the CNC series and had a first pass read. Obviously, as a non-watch maker/repairer a good deal of it went straight over my head - but in terms of micro-machining, I found it very thought provoking. The use of CNC to do manual 'micro-drilling' was most interesting - and no CAD/CAM involved...

It's really just making use of the Mach3 screen as a DRO and using it to control 3 power feeds rather than handwheels. There are better options for "conversational" use where you are just wanting to do simple things like face a surface or drill a series of holes on a PCD.

IanT29/10/2020 19:03:57
1669 forum posts
161 photos

I kind of knew that "in theory" Jason - but somehow the actual example given seemed to make a bit more 'real' for me - something practical I could grasp.

I didn't think I'd want or need (two entirely different things) 3D printing but I have found good uses for it. It took a little time but not as much as I had feared. I'm still working on 3D CAD but maybe making some slow progress now.

CNC might be the final straw that causes my aging grey matter to implode though.

Regards,

IanT

JasonB29/10/2020 19:36:59
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I had always been put off CNC by the mention of G-code and having watched a couple of guys on the SMEE stand one year take what seemed like ages to enter G-code to do a very basic cut had felt it was not for me. However with the advent of freely available CAM I've not really had to delve very deep into G-code but can make useful parts on my CNC

Michael Gilligan29/10/2020 19:44:45
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16620 forum posts
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Posted by IanT on 29/10/2020 19:03:57:

[…]

somehow the actual example given seemed to make a bit more 'real' for me - something practical I could grasp.

[…]

.

Exactly my thoughts, Ian yes

MichaelG.

Ronald Morrison29/10/2020 21:22:06
44 forum posts

Does the CNC he desires need to be able to cut metal? Would a wood cutting CNC machine satisfy him for a while? How about helping him build a CNC router? With that approach he/you can save some money and have a better understanding what it takes to make a CNC machine. Knowing that will set him up to be better able to understand and use a CNC mill. Here are a couple videos on making one.

Do it yourself CNC

$500 home built CNC router

Neil Wyatt29/10/2020 22:09:40
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Posted by JasonB on 29/10/2020 19:36:59:

I had always been put off CNC by the mention of G-code and having watched a couple of guys on the SMEE stand one year take what seemed like ages to enter G-code to do a very basic cut had felt it was not for me. However with the advent of freely available CAM I've not really had to delve very deep into G-code but can make useful parts on my CNC

It's interesting, virtually all 3D printers are driven by G-code but I've barely been aware of it in all my 3D printing adventures.,

As Jason suggests this is increasingly the case with new CAD/CAM systems.

Look out for interesting news in MEW 299...

Neil

JasonB30/10/2020 06:55:09
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If you have not seen it alreadysmile d

mick H30/10/2020 08:00:08
734 forum posts
21 photos
Posted by Ronald Morrison on 29/10/2020 21:22:06:

Does the CNC he desires need to be able to cut metal? Would a wood cutting CNC machine satisfy him for a while? How about helping him build a CNC router? With that approach he/you can save some money and have a better understanding what it takes to make a CNC machine. Knowing that will set him up to be better able to understand and use a CNC mill. Here are a couple videos on making one.

Do it yourself CNC

$500 home built CNC router

Hallo Ron.....I haven't spoken to him for a few days but I would guess that a compromise might be an attractive idea. He loves building things so a home built CNC might be just the job for now. He has access to and is competent on his brother's metal lathe and milling machine and has his own wood lathe so he probably has the wherewithal. As for helping him build it, there is nothing that I would like better but he lives in OZ and I am in the UK. I will send him the links. Thanks for the interest.

Mick

mick H30/10/2020 08:01:18
734 forum posts
21 photos
Posted by David Colwill on 29/10/2020 08:32:02:
Posted by mick H on 29/10/2020 07:48:33:

Thanks very much gents. I have sent him all the links. I have a feeling that he might be attracted to the machines oriented towards wood as he has a wood lathe and enjoys the medium.

Mick

Oh dear! smile p

Sorry David, have I missed something?

Mick

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