Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« on: February 28, 2020, 11:33:58 AM »
Hello GDIY

my son and I have been looking into a small format router for some time.  With no first hand exp. we wanted to ask for thoughts on which is a good starter machine.

To start this would be used for our CTC prototype plates. Mostly etching as we are working to connect with Frank to source panels.

https://www.cancam.ca/product/d-11-minitron-desktop-cnc-router/

Here is what we are considering. Any thoughts, input on other options would be great.

Wall
If you are curious, you'll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.
Erno Rubik


ruffrecords

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 12:07:36 PM »
$3000 is a LOT of panels. I went down this route a few years ago for much the same reason - quick turn around prototype panels. I paid less than $400 for my machine. It was a lot of effort to get it going and to hook it up to a PC and to get the design data into a suitable format. Even then the results were less than satisfactory. i broke no ebd of drills and the thing was insanely noisy.

If you just want to engrave you might like to think about a laser version - very much quieter. I also looked at a chunky vinyl printer. This would allow you to make full colour prints of front panels and just stick them on. You could even include markings for where the holes need to go and then drill them by hand. Unfortunately the manufacturers were not able to guarantee the necessary accuracy so I never took it any further.

YMMV

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 12:30:11 PM »
$3000 is a LOT of panels. I went down this route a few years ago for much the same reason - quick turn around prototype panels. I paid less than $400 for my machine. It was a lot of effort to get it going and to hook it up to a PC and to get the design data into a suitable format. Even then the results were less than satisfactory. i broke no ebd of drills and the thing was insanely noisy.

If you just want to engrave you might like to think about a laser version - very much quieter. I also looked at a chunky vinyl printer. This would allow you to make full colour prints of front panels and just stick them on. You could even include markings for where the holes need to go and then drill them by hand. Unfortunately the manufacturers were not able to guarantee the necessary accuracy so I never took it any further.

YMMV

Cheers

Ian

Noted. $3000 is a lot of panels and there is no substitute for Schaefer & FPE.

My wife suggested learning from a shared workshop of some sort in the future and build from there.
If you are curious, you'll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.
Erno Rubik

ruffrecords

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 03:07:32 PM »
Noted. $3000 is a lot of panels and there is no substitute for Schaefer & FPE.

My wife suggested learning from a shared workshop of some sort in the future and build from there.

Maker Spaces or the equivalent often have this kind of gear you can use at reasonable rates. That might be a good way of familiarising yourself with the equipment, and  its pros and cons.

https://makerparts.ca/pages/makerspaces-in-canada

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

iampoor1

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2020, 09:23:34 PM »
the problem with many of the budget CNC machines is that they really have very little rigidity, and the accuracy specs are based on the theoretical resolution of the motor drivers, not real world performance metrics. Remeber, milling aluminum is totally different than engraving wood or plastic.

If you are building just 1 project, I would just get all the panels fabbed.

I dont have my cnc machine setup yet, but I bought a cncrouterparts benchtop pro machine for milling panels. The sheer mass and rigidty of the machine (it weights about 250 pounds) was a huge concern for me., and when looking aat most of the budget hobbyist machines, it just doesnt look like they really offer much.

Also note that they do not even specify a spindle/collet runout spec for that machine. If you have 3-4thousands (which is not uncommon on the cheap Chinese spindles), that is going to seriously hamper your accuracy and cutting head life.

Most of the makerspaces near me offered LARGE cncc machines, but not accurate ones. I think milling and engraving aluminum panels is not exactly what most people have in mind when they see CNC machines. My local makersspace had a really nice 4x8 machine....with a bosch router as the cutting tool.  :o >:(

shabtek

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2020, 12:22:11 PM »
FM Steve/Lazy Lizard did some nice panel overlays in plastic material years ago with manual pantograph engraver (I think) not sure if he cut a template first  or what but I recall it looking like pultec or antique hp test gear legend plates.  not cnc (unless you had the template cut cnc) but an idea for diy replication fwiw
"really fine players do not use stomp boxes or master volume, they match the amp to the room and turn it up to 11.  Stevie Ray, BB King, Albert King, Duane Allman, Dicky Betts, Louis Armstrong"
   -CJ

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2020, 12:47:04 PM »
Thanks for the help.

We had looked into various materials and even UV screening our own cards. In the end in was mostly for learning the ropes.

The concept of rigidness and vibrations had not even occurred. My old barn workshop would collapse!
If you are curious, you'll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.
Erno Rubik

Kid Squid

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 11:54:10 AM »
Quote
FM Steve/Lazy Lizard did some nice panel overlays in plastic material years ago with manual pantograph engraver (I think) not sure if he cut a template first  or what but I recall it looking like pultec or antique hp test gear legend plates.  not cnc (unless you had the template cut cnc) but an idea for diy replication fwiw

Hi Shabtek ! Hope you're doing well man  :)

I'm still doing that method, until i get my workshop finished. Manual engraving using my Rank Taylor-Hobson model K pantograph.
and yes, its still a right pain in the a**

using 5 ply black on white traffolite, all setup is manual and scales using my Scale-o-matictm ;)
It's great when its done, but really time consuming, and a very steep learning curve ( I was lucky - I had some on the job training from a old school legend of a guy at work)

I was looking at CNC routers a while back, and the only one that really done it for me is from http://www.pdjinc.com/
from the states, but they were the ones i fancied the most !

Heres a couple of pics







« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 12:30:15 PM by Kid Squid »
It is not the same as 4+12, nor is it the same as 4+8, but 4+12 IS the same as 4+8+12....

http://www.facebook.com/LazyLizardLabs

abbey road d enfer

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2020, 03:59:14 AM »
I have recently bought a CNC router, with the intent to make front panels and other stuff, like guitar bodies and necks, so I got a big machine (60x90cm) with a big spindle (2.2kW). I have the machine installed in my workshop for a month now and I can't get it to work. I've been in daily contact with the (Chinese) manufacturer and they could not help me.
The machine is delivered with a crack of Mach 3, that doesn't work on W10 (only from XP up to W8), so I had to buy a 2nd-hand PC, and for some reason they don't work together.
So, lesson #1, make sure the supplier has a good after-sale support.

For legending, I am looking at a flatbed UV printer. Another $3k, but I think the result is worth it.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Kid Squid

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2020, 12:44:22 PM »
Quote
I have recently bought a CNC router, with the intent to make front panels and other stuff, like guitar bodies and necks, so I got a big machine (60x90cm) with a big spindle (2.2kW). I have the machine installed in my workshop for a month now and I can't get it to work. I've been in daily contact with the (Chinese) manufacturer and they could not help me.
The machine is delivered with a crack of Mach 3, that doesn't work on W10 (only from XP up to W8), so I had to buy a 2nd-hand PC, and for some reason they don't work together.
So, lesson #1, make sure the supplier has a good after-sale support.

For legending, I am looking at a flatbed UV printer. Another $3k, but I think the result is worth it.

I'm looking at a 2ftx4ft type, not decided on spindle yet, but possibly looking to incorporate a makita spindle that I picked up a while ago.
That was for me the whole reason for not going chinese. When things dont go right, the last thing we need is for a breakdown in comms.

Did you check out the PilotPro here ? out of all of them so far, these seem to be the boyos !!
http://pdjinc.com/pilot%20rails.html

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... flatbed UV printer. Niiiiicceee  :)
It is not the same as 4+12, nor is it the same as 4+8, but 4+12 IS the same as 4+8+12....

http://www.facebook.com/LazyLizardLabs


ruffrecords

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2020, 09:49:05 AM »
@abbey

You might like to take a look a grbl which is an open source software that runs on an Arduino. It converts g-code commands into the required motions. It has come a long way since I tried it about 4 years ago and is apparently now compatible with a number of  design packages. When I tried it I had a CNC with a parallel printer interface so I simply built a cable that allowed the arduino to send it the correct signals. I do not know how much that end of the interface has progressed.

https://github.com/grbl/grbl

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

abbey road d enfer

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2020, 10:32:40 AM »
@abbey

You might like to take a look a grbl which is an open source software that runs on an Arduino. It converts g-code commands into the required motions. It has come a long way since I tried it about 4 years ago and is apparently now compatible with a number of  design packages. When I tried it I had a CNC with a parallel printer interface so I simply built a cable that allowed the arduino to send it the correct signals. I do not know how much that end of the interface has progressed.

https://github.com/grbl/grbl

Cheers

Ian
I am aware of grbl. I'm not sure it's intrinsically better than Mach3. I haven't considered it since my machine has a USB controller.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

ruffrecords

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2020, 11:03:43 AM »
I am aware of grbl. I'm not sure it's intrinsically better than Mach3. I haven't considered it since my machine has a USB controller.

Given your CNC is Chinese, what is the betting the USB version contains nothing more than a regulat paralle CNC interface driven by an Arduino running grbl? Have you looked inside?

Edit: I just discovered you can buy a ready built PCB that does exactly this:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-3-Axis-1-1-GRBL-Control-Board-USB-CNC-Milling-Laser-Machine-Controller-Card-/112698430645

Cheers

Ian
« Last Edit: April 13, 2020, 11:09:59 AM by ruffrecords »
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

abbey road d enfer

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2020, 12:06:48 PM »
Given your CNC is Chinese, what is the betting the USB version contains nothing more than a regulat paralle CNC interface driven by an Arduino running grbl? Have you looked inside?
I have. Doesn't look like an Arduino though. It's one of the most common Chinese control interface. Sells for about $15.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2020, 12:26:07 PM by abbey road d enfer »
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

ruffrecords

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2020, 05:54:50 PM »
I looked at a close up of the PCB. It uses an STM32F103 chip which is ARM based so definitely not Arduino related.

Never mind. It was worth a try.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

abbey road d enfer

Re: Desktop CNC Router Selection Help
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2020, 05:08:48 PM »
I'm happy to report that I finally succeeded in installing the control software for my CNC machine. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. Now I have to improve my competences with the dxf-to-gcode converter.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.


 

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