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Hobby Cnc

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James Mitchell 303/05/2022 23:35:56
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So I’m looking for a hobby CNC,

I don’t have much space so would like something compact…

id like to be able to cut steel so want something pretty rigid!

any suggestions?

JasonB04/05/2022 07:30:43
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What sort of size/thickness steel parts are you wanting to cut, how often and how quickly as that will have a bearing on they type of machine. The lighter gantry types will cut steel and have a good X&Y capacity but it will be a slow noisy process. A more mill based machine will cope with the steel better but you may be linited in Y movement.

John Haine04/05/2022 09:04:21
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There's a Denford Starmill on eBay right now. Looks like it needs a cleanup and probably new electronics but could be an excellent little machine.

John Haine04/05/2022 09:04:57
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Look at denforddata.com for details.

John Haine04/05/2022 10:07:44
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Apologies, wrong link.

https://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=4181

**LINK**

It looks like it is the same mechanical package as the Novamill, which I have and it's excellent.

John Haine04/05/2022 10:59:08
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Ha! Well it's just gone!

Andrew Johnston04/05/2022 12:07:37
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Posted by James Mitchell 3 on 03/05/2022 23:35:56:

...any suggestions?

To make any sensible suggestions we need far more information. For starters:

What maximum size of workpiece do you want to cut?

What sort of machining - 2.5D, 3D or full 4-axis?

How much space is available?

Budget?

What sort of steel, ordinary mild steel, or tool steels and stainless steel?

I have a Tormach 1100 which will happily cut steel, like these brackets in hot rolled steel:

spectacle1.jpg

By hobby standards the Tormach is a fairly large machine at 450kg, and is the same horsepower as my Bridgeport. That not withstanding I find the Tormach works better running small cutters at high spindle speeds rather than running large cutters at slower speeds. A high maximum spindle speed is important, 5100rpm on the Tormach. Even that is a bit slow for really small cutters. I have added a high speed spindle for use with small cutters, like this 1mm ballnose cutter, running at 24000rpm:

governor bevel gear cnc.jpg

Andrew

James Mitchell 304/05/2022 19:23:41
3 forum posts

Everything up to and including took steels, travel wise I’m not too worried most of the stuff I’ll be playing with will be quite small, let’s say 5” x 8” would be fine

so I hint rigidity and torque will be my main considerations!

JasonB04/05/2022 20:08:35
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By the time you have allowed a small say 6mm tool to clear the work and for lead ins and outs that 5" Y movement will be in the region of 140mm which rules out the likes of the little Denford that John showed.

Its about the limit of my KX3 so you would be looking for a machine of that sort of size as a ready to go CNC mill or something in the same size range if you wanted to convert. The Tormachs have a better X to Y ratio so the 770 would do.

You are going to need a good 4-5ft of width and 3-3'6 of depth plus room for the screen & keyboard,

John Haine04/05/2022 21:55:20
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Posted by James Mitchell 3 on 04/05/2022 19:23:41:

Everything up to and including took steels, travel wise I’m not too worried most of the stuff I’ll be playing with will be quite small, let’s say 5” x 8” would be fine

so I hint rigidity and torque will be my main considerations!

What do you mean by "tool steels" - HSS or carbon steels?

Certainly rigidity is important, but remember that CNC takes away the grunt of winding handles, so running small cutters fast and taking lighter cuts (as long as it is still cutting) means that torque is not so critical as power. Though the Novamill couldn't handle 5x8inch I find that I hardly ever use a vice but other holding methods to minimise the space lost to clamps.

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