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Martin Boekers
02-10-2009, 11:04 AM
Greetings all!

I am looking to add a CNC machine to my shop within the next 6 months.
I haven't dealt with them before. Any suggestions?

Carve Wright seems to be a good starting point as the entry cost is low, and it may be a good machine to learn the basics on.

Should I consider this one or jump right in with a smaller Shop Bot or similar machine.

I wanted to address this first with the engraving area as it may be more aware of our market and can give me a more relative assesment.

Thanks in advance.

Marty

Janet Liddiard
02-10-2009, 12:22 PM
When I was initially thinking of starting a business I researched the CarveWright in detail. I think the concept is wonderful and the price is great. However, it appears that they hadn't worked out all the kinks yet. When I checked reviews, forums, etc. related to the machine, the response was pretty strong that the quality of the machine was poor and there was a high percent of machines with issues. Also, it appears it should be used more for the hobbiest vs. professional business that would be using it every day. I just checked again (since it had been more than a year) and it appears the reviews are still the same. Amazon.com is a good place to check out reviews. Just thought I'd pass it along.

Doug Griffith
02-10-2009, 12:30 PM
One step up from the Carvewright would be a CNC Shark by Rockler. It is not a Shop Bot but uses software that can evolve with you. VCarve Pro. Check to make sure the VCarve Pro software that comes with the machine can be upgraded to Aspire before making the plunge. Also visit the Vectric website to see what you're getting into.

Cheers,
Doug

Rodne Gold
02-10-2009, 12:33 PM
Depends what you want , a glorified rotary engraver or a true 2 1/2 / 3d CnC router or something inbetween.
I dont think you are going to get away with less than $15k for something 1/2 decent. And that most likely entry level.
Perhaps look at the cheaper chinese CnC routers for value - they not as bad as the cheap chinese lasers.

AL Ursich
02-10-2009, 12:42 PM
Marty,

I agree the Carvewright has it's share of problems but could be a stepping stone to a bigger more capable machine IF early finances are tight.

I have 3 and you can see what I do on my web page, so depending on your needs it could be an option.

I also agree if your able to step above a Carvewright and get into a mainstream machine then that is the way to go. If bigger signs and deeper carve projects are in you future than bigger is the way to go.

I post on the Carvewright forum under digitalwoodshop and have a electronic background so fixing them is easy for me.

Good Luck with your decision.:rolleyes:

AL

Gary Hair
02-10-2009, 1:37 PM
You could also go the route that I took - I built mine. It's small, 18" x 36" x 6", but it does what I need it to do. It is driven by Mach3 and I do my drawings in Corel X3 as well as Vcarve Pro - Aspire would work perfectly also. If I were to buy a router like mine, I would be looking at something around $10,000 but I have about $2,500 in mine, not including software. I bought a used computer for $100 that runs it but I use my more powerful computer to design and run Vcarve.

If you are interested in more details, I'd be happy to share them.

Gary

George Brown
02-10-2009, 4:26 PM
You could also go the route that I took - I built mine. It's small, 18" x 36" x 6", but it does what I need it to do. It is driven by Mach3 and I do my drawings in Corel X3 as well as Vcarve Pro - Aspire would work perfectly also. If I were to buy a router like mine, I would be looking at something around $10,000 but I have about $2,500 in mine, not including software. I bought a used computer for $100 that runs it but I use my more powerful computer to design and run Vcarve.

If you are interested in more details, I'd be happy to share them.

Gary
I am also interested in getting/building a cnc router. I would get the shop bot, looks like a very nice setup. BUT, I was leaning towards building one. So if you would share the details, that would be really appreciated. Mach3 is what I would also use (not expensive), but don't know about the stepping motors, the controllers for them, and some ideas on how to build the frame/lead screws/rollers. Any info would be appreciated.

George

Doug Griffith
02-10-2009, 4:56 PM
If I were to go about building my own CNC, my first choice would be using Animatics SmartMotors and JenCNC. It's not the cheapest route though.

http://www.animatics.com/web/jen.htm

Cheers,
Doug

Tony Joyce
02-10-2009, 7:06 PM
Have a look at this www.mechmate.com (http://www.mechmate.com) lots of good info and free plans.

Tony Joyce

Gary Hair
02-10-2009, 7:06 PM
If I were to go about building my own CNC, my first choice would be using Animatics SmartMotors and JenCNC. It's not the cheapest route though.

http://www.animatics.com/web/jen.htm

Cheers,
Doug

I don't know anything about them but they look/sound expensive, probably overkill for most cnc users. There are plenty of proven products that are perfect for business and hobby use. I would advise staying with mainstream software and hardware, if only for support purposes - they are mainstream for a reason and there is lots of support for them.

Gary

Gary Hair
02-10-2009, 7:14 PM
I am also interested in getting/building a cnc router. I would get the shop bot, looks like a very nice setup. BUT, I was leaning towards building one. So if you would share the details, that would be really appreciated. Mach3 is what I would also use (not expensive), but don't know about the stepping motors, the controllers for them, and some ideas on how to build the frame/lead screws/rollers. Any info would be appreciated.

George

The best place to get the information to build your own is cnczone.com. It is to cnc what sawmill creek is to... everything else. This link may get edited out, but if so - you need to search the web for a "zone" of "cnc" - a "cnczone" so to speak... if only there were a website with that name... .com

I spent countless hours on that site and learned enough to build my machine. There are lots of people and lots of opinions, just like most forums. I can say this - if you want a router that is 24" x 48" or less, you can build your own for a few thousand, probably 10k less than you can buy it from a major manufacturer. I am contemplating building a few for sale myself, but no more than a few a year. I run a full-time engraving business so I may not be very quick to get them built, but they would be solid and durable.

Gary

Doug Griffith
02-10-2009, 7:39 PM
I don't know anything about them but they look/sound expensive, probably overkill for most cnc users. There are plenty of proven products that are perfect for business and hobby use. I would advise staying with mainstream software and hardware, if only for support purposes - they are mainstream for a reason and there is lots of support for them.

Gary

I've programmed them when used as PLCs and they are very nice. They are not as cheap as steppers but the controllers are built into the motors so you don't need to purchase or hobble together one. You pretty much just chain them together with a power supply and connect to your PC. The controller software also appears much less clunky than Mach3. But you're right. Support may be a little thin.

Cheers,
Doug

Brad Knight
02-10-2009, 9:35 PM
I've been looking for a while myself, and at this point I've pretty much settled on a Shopbot buddy... and this is why.

First of all, support. I've spent a lot of time looking through their forums (and I know there are a lot of creekers over there too) and they can't be beat (except by creekers that is).

Second (and this is a big one) SOFTWARE. The Shopbot comes with the control software so you don't have to go out and buy/config Mach. It comes with Partworks which is a Shopbot version of Vcarve and Cut3d. When you buy a Shobbot, you can get started almost right away without having to worry about buying and setting up 10 different pieces of software. You can buy the more advanced pieces of software, like Aspire, but it comes with enough to get going.

Expandability... with the Shopbot buddy, you can start with a 32" or 48" by 24" machine, but as your needs expand, you can expand the machine with what they call their powersticks. You can start with a 2'X4' machine and expand it to a 4'X8' machine for $1495.

Size... in conjunction with the expandability aspect, you can take a small machine that pretty much fits against the wall, and when you need the full size roll it away from the wall and when finished and working on smaller pieces, roll it back.

Price. No, it's not a $1500 carvright and it's not a $4000 CNC Shark... but it's also not a $20,000+ machine also. (Just like to add... I still haven't done it yet, because the price is still high, but I'd rather save a while and get something I'm sure will do what I want and will be flexible enough to expand in the future to wait... either that, or I'll find something cheaper and better, but this is where I'm at now. )

Accessories... they've got a 3d probe, they've got an indexer, I've already mentioned the powersticks...

I thought about the route of building my own. I've built controllers that ran oilfield equip that pumped water 4200 gal/min @ 15,000psi, measured and mixed 20 different chemicals based on the pump rate... and then dumped upwards of a million pounds of sand in the water and pumped it 15,000' underground...

... the moral of the story???

I've built enough machines, I just want to use one. I know I could design and engineer a machine to do what I want... but I'd rather work wood than work the machine.

Just my 2

Dave West
02-11-2009, 1:39 AM
A few years ago I built my own from plans on cnczone.com. Mine is made from cabinet grade plywood, iron gaspipe and rollerblade bearings. Laugh if you want, but it's amazingly accurate for what it is and still going strong years later. Building your own isn't for everybody, but it was inexpensive and a great learning experience.

Dave

Martin Boekers
02-11-2009, 3:32 PM
Thanks for all the insite and input!

After some research from all your thoughts, I'm leaning toward the Shark Pro. It can handle things a bit bigger than the CarveWright plus I like the idea of clamping the piece in place as opposed to the CarveWright system, and seems to have more positive reviews. Not to mention It fits within the budget guidelines.

As I develop this end of the business I'll be sure to consider a Shop Bot for future additions.

I just don't have the time or mechanical skills to build my own just yet:mad:

Although in the future I may consider that also as I feel if you actually build it you get a broader scope of how it works and maybe be able to have a better operating understanding for maintainance.


Thanks again for all the input!!!


Marty

Gary Hair
02-12-2009, 1:33 PM
A few years ago I built my own from plans on cnczone.com. Mine is made from cabinet grade plywood, iron gaspipe and rollerblade bearings. Laugh if you want, but it's amazingly accurate for what it is and still going strong years later. Building your own isn't for everybody, but it was inexpensive and a great learning experience.

Dave

Dave,
There are a lot of people who have built machines like yours and they are pretty amazing. Who would think that those parts could net you a machine like that? I built mine out of 80/20 extrusions, but only because I got a great deal on the parts I needed.

Here is a picture of mine.

Gary

George Brown
02-12-2009, 4:41 PM
Dave,
There are a lot of people who have built machines like yours and they are pretty amazing. Who would think that those parts could net you a machine like that? I built mine out of 80/20 extrusions, but only because I got a great deal on the parts I needed.

Here is a picture of mine.

Gary
VERY nice looking machine. Could you show a couple of pics of how the bearings are configured?

Thanks
George

james mcgrew
02-12-2009, 4:59 PM
dave, with two industrial grade camasters and a carvewright in my shop (carvewright is in the antique tools section) i can say i am impressed with that machine! even though i have some fantastic machines, i still want to build me one !!!

camaster builds the mini cobra which is a smaller version of the larger machines and at reasonable cost for the industrial quality of the machine!

jim mcgrew

Peter Elliott
02-12-2009, 5:25 PM
Guys,

What do you think of these. I know there a ton of cnc shops starting up but I think this guy be around. Not bad for the small version for around $2200 including Mach 3 License.

Like some others have said, I can build one but really the time and learning curve, I'd rather buy one. Of course it's got to be affordable.

I think this is a step up from the Shark....

Some take a look at the specs and give comment??? for us non cnc guru's

http://cncsidewinder.com/


http://www.cncsidewinder.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/26x16-1.jpg

Sidewinder CNC 26 x 16 Router $2195

This Machine Package Includes:

Controller and 269 oz. Stepper Motors
A Study 14 ga (.075) Frame
Footprint 40" W x 27" L x 23.5" H
Weight approximately 110 lbs
Cutting Area approximately 26" x 16"
Z-Axis Travel 6"
Rapid Travel speeds of up to 360 inches per minute
Bosch RotoZip Rotary Tool package included
Full size router option available
Mach 3 Software included (Licensed Version)
Shipping and handling costs to the lower 48 United States - $200

AL Ursich
02-13-2009, 11:54 AM
Gary,

You could SELL that one readymade.... Nice !!!!

AL:D

Gary Hair
02-15-2009, 5:15 PM
VERY nice looking machine. Could you show a couple of pics of how the bearings are configured?

Thanks
George

Thanks George. The bearings are almost identical to these, but I made them myself with some 1/2" plate and my table saw - and a lot of thread tapping...

Gary Hair
02-15-2009, 5:17 PM
Gary,

You could SELL that one readymade.... Nice !!!!

AL:D

Are you interested?

I am planning my next router as we speak. A little bit bigger and some modifications to the design.

Gary

George Brown
02-16-2009, 12:55 PM
Thanks George. The bearings are almost identical to these, but I made them myself with some 1/2" plate and my table saw - and a lot of thread tapping...
Good design for the bearings, how is the clearance between the upper and lower adjusted?

Also, from the photos, it looks like you are using a lead screw for transport. How do you handle the backlash?

Thanks
George

Gary Hair
02-16-2009, 2:48 PM
Good design for the bearings, how is the clearance between the upper and lower adjusted?

Also, from the photos, it looks like you are using a lead screw for transport. How do you handle the backlash?

Thanks
George

In the picture you can see a white allen-head screw, this is an adjusting screw to move the bearings - the bolts go through a slot instead of a hole.

I am using ACME, 1/2" 10tpi screws for X, Y and Z. I used anti-backlash nuts from dumpstercnc.com. I have as close to zero backlash as you can get, or at least as close as I can measure with a dial indicator that is accurate to .001.

Gary