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General Discussions => Machine Shop => Topic started by: 31cc7 on January 14, 2020, 07:08:00 AM

Title: Chinese CNC machines
Post by: 31cc7 on January 14, 2020, 07:08:00 AM
Hello,

I am trying to find a way of quickly creating a front panel prototype. The idea is to cut it out in a sheet of plywood or plastic.
I could probably use my angle grinder and a driller to make cutouts but I think there is too much room for mistakes and it wouldn't look too pretty unless I spent considerable time practising.
So I was looking on Amazon for something that would mechanically made a cutouts and stumbled across these CNC routers e.g. 3018 or 3018 Pro clones that seem to be affordable.
I am not sure though if these are capable of making cutouts. Is such machine enough? What would I need?
Are there any other ways to make prototypes?
I am sorry for a bit vague question and perhaps stupid.

Thank you!
Title: Re: Chinese CNC machines
Post by: ruffrecords on January 14, 2020, 04:10:31 PM
I looked into this a few years back for exactly the same reasons and invested in a Chinese CNC machine. They were a bit different and more expensive (£300) back then with big external power supplies and a parallel port interface. Once I got it going, which took a while, I spent a long time trying to get it to create front panels in aluminium with very little success. You really need a more powerful (and more noisy) motor for that and you do need to add lubricant if you want to avoid losing mill bits on a regular basis.

About the only thing it would cut reasonably well was wood.

The big problems for me were noise and the inability to cut aluminium so it has laid dormant in my garage for a couple of years. I am waiting for laser types (which are silent) to become powerful enough (at reasonable cost) to cut aluminium at which point I may invest in a laser head. Until then I will use Schaeffer and their excellent UV printing.

Cheers

Ian
Title: Re: Chinese CNC machines
Post by: 12afael on January 15, 2020, 05:40:33 AM
I have been using aluminum PCBs as frontplates.  you can provably have them in 3mm thickness. 
Title: Re: Chinese CNC machines
Post by: 31cc7 on January 15, 2020, 08:35:43 AM
Thank you for replies!

I just want to get an idea if the parts will work in given arrangement before I would send it to a company that does these things. After looking at some videos on YT I found that I will give such machine a go. I'll update if I get any good results.
Title: Re: Chinese CNC machines
Post by: ruffrecords on January 15, 2020, 03:27:53 PM
I have been using aluminum PCBs as frontplates.  you can provably have them in 3mm thickness.

I think this is a good alternative for prototypes or small quantities. Chinese PCB manufacturers can do these for a fraction of the price of the CNC'd equivalent.

Cheers

ian