View Full Version : Finely buying a cnc tomorrow..unless?

James Jaragosky
08-07-2008, 9:42 PM
Well I am finely going to take the plunge and order a cnc router. I have been reading this site for some time and have been impressed by what can be done with a cnc router.
My desire is to do 2d & 3d images in entry doors. having read all the posts on this site and others concerning cnc I feel my head will pop if I try to analyze this purchase any longer. I have considered shopbot and shop saber along with a few others but I think for the money I will take a chance with a off brand to save a little cash. I do realize that there is a risk in choosing an off brand, but I have had good success with my off brand laser for the past year and feel I can handle most mechanical issues with limited assistance. My big worry is software and the 3d learning curve. to help keep my learning curve down I have decided to get mach3 and the vcarve pro / 3d /photo carve package.<FONT size=2>
I am going to order the machine listed below unless something pops up to change my mind.
I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or insights on what I may be missing in the specs provided below.
Thanks for reading my post and any comments will be seriously considered
Jim J.
S408 4X8 Industrial Router System 1.00
Col3 High Frequency Spindle - 6 H.P. 1.00
MACH Controller w/ MACH3 CNC Interface 1.00
Vectric Bundle 1.00
DD4 Dual Drive Four Motor Drive System 1.00
DC3 Dust Collection Attachment 1.00
Bits Starter Bit Set 1.00
TVAC10 Vacuum System
(It uses microsteppers and duel R&P)

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Table Size

Khalid Khattak
08-08-2008, 2:55 AM
James nice decision..Did you look what i have done with my home built CNC in 'My Woodwork' thread????:D:D

After watching my thread, Did it make you to decide to buy CNC????

dan mosheim
08-09-2008, 12:26 PM
Hi ... I've been running a Multicam 1000 for almost 3 years. There are a lot of people out there running many different machines and I think the success you will have with it will depend as much on your personality and character traits than the machine itself. Do you like to meticulously maintain things? Until we got on a very meticulous maintenance schedule, we had some irritating, hard to diagnose little problems, mostly electrical. If you're easily frustrated by computer problems, I'd be a little leary of making the plunge. There is a pretty steep learning curve that I suspect is more lengthy and challenging than importing graphics into your laser program ... i.e. tool pathing strategies, surfacing strategies, if you are running small parts, holding in place strategies, order of cuts, all kinds of stuff that you just can't anticipate. That said, I wish I had bought mine sooner and I wish I had included the automatic tool changer in my package. I have a blog and if you want, you can see some of the stuff we've done with it for our own work and for other cabinetmakers.
http://dorsetcustomfurniture.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-custom-cnc-work.html and video here http://dorsetcustomfurniture.blogspot.com/2008/03/custom-metal-and-bubinga-bench.html and also you can visit the 'beds' and 'sideboards' sections of my website to see some examples of inlay work done with the cnc Email me if you have more questions. Good lukc... danhttp://www.dorsetcustomfurniture.com/Items.aspx?mId=47&cId=71&pcId=

james mcgrew
08-09-2008, 2:40 PM
the routers like vortech come from basically the same manufacturer in jin-han china and are available from some reputable providers. they can need a few things like wiring upgrades. there is a fellow on cnc zone who got one and took it apart and really worked his up right, he was very kind to document and photo all of his efforts, these routers are very popular in australia and i have a frien here in central south carolina who is operating on very succesfully in his cabinetshop, it does mater where you get it and the support reputation of who sells it to you. as with any cnc go see it operate in somebodys shop first!!!

jim mcgrew

James Jaragosky
08-09-2008, 6:33 PM
Thanks Dan for the tempered encouragement. I am not anticipating this to be easy in the least, I have told TLOML not to expect anything out of the router for at least 6 months. As far as maintenance goes I have worked as a machine mechanic in the past for a high volume plastics department, so I have some experience there.
And anyone who has every worked with computers has been ready to pull their hair out at some point, so that's nothing to worry over because I am almost bald as it is.

I have wanted to do 3d doors for about 10 years now ever since I was at a wood working show in the Chicago area and saw a bear in a forest engraver in a 4" thick solid walnut door.

I have very seriously look at the shopbot if for no other reason than the support that the owners give each other, it is quite amazing the community that has built up around this product and with as many happy owners as they seem to have you just got to believe that they make a good product. A couple of things lead me away, first is the price seems to have jumped up a little over 2k recently. The video that they sent me with my quote shows a price around 2 grand less than the paper quote I got from them, I realize pricing changes but a 2k jump still smarts. even then I might have went with them but when I contacted the sales dept to inquire about the jump in price I got cocky answer from some sales guy about if you got raise the price might as well raise it big instead of little raises over time. what ever happened to it cost x to produce market and support add y percent for profit and sell it at that. it would appear that the cnc and laser manufactures adhere to the the it costs x to make add as much as you can until they squeal then your at the sweet spot. second reason I decided to choose another machine is that I kind of feel if I am paying $24109.24 for a machine I should not have to assemble it.(just MHO) I also wanted a more ridged table.

Jim Mcgrew, thanks for the advice I will follow it and see what ever I decide to buy run first. To that end I am talking to the wife about flying out to Boston and riding up to Nashua on Tuesday to see one run.
As always I truly am humbled by all the good advice and fellowship I receive from SMC Thank you all.

James Jaragosky
08-09-2008, 7:06 PM
James nice decision..Did you look what i have done with my home built CNC in 'My Woodwork' thread????:D:D

After watching my thread, Did it make you to decide to buy CNC????
You did help push me over the edge. your work on a home built machine made me realize that I needed to quit waiting around for the perfect machine and just do it.

james mcgrew
08-09-2008, 9:33 PM
james, you may also wish to consider attending IWF in atlanta aug 20-23,there will be multiple suppliers of machines and all the woodworking goodies of the world there, the show comes once every two years and is worth the trip for anyone of a crafted talent, i am building a display of cabinetwork and carvings as i will be representing the camaster owners group at the show, i like you have a passion for custom!!




i do hope if you go to new hampshire take a digital camera and let us know what you find there have been a lot of people who have posted about the vortech and the company deserves a fair shake!!

jim mcgrew

james mcgrew
08-09-2008, 9:40 PM
ps i went to shopbots plant and spent 1/2 a day there and came away with the same impression!! bought a used camaster and ordered another shortly therafter!!! found several other camaster owners and found owner support.

jim mcgrew

Steve knight
08-09-2008, 11:13 PM
looking at their bit set it's a waste of money as most of the bits are not something you would use on a cnc machine. anyone that would included bearing guided bits for a cnc machine is not thinking very well.

Khalid Khattak
08-10-2008, 1:29 AM
Thanks James:) for watching my work patiently...Basically CNC router is nothing but a piece of steel and some plastic parts:( in my case MDF...The real thing is your hardwork, creativity and innovative ideas for making your work looks good and appreciable..:)

There are many persons around having $$$$ of router but making nothing..:(..It doesn't matter if you have MDF router or steel one..My machine work for me 80IPM straight and rapid is 120IPM..It is just with 200Oz-in stepper motors..If I spent few bucks on my steppers and upgrade those i will difinetly tripled my working speed and i have no worries of damaging my homebuilt machine by pushing it to higher speed.. My accuracy is within .1 of millimeter..:D

Currently I making Chest table by using Vectric Vcarve Pro and Artcam Pro...However you have to need some beautiful designs and creative ideas as i mentioned earlier and i hope u have it...

In this your wife will be a good partner as womens have good sense for these things..

Thanks for reading this post;)

James Jaragosky
08-10-2008, 11:53 PM
I have had a few PMs from folks asking about my new purchase, so here is a reply to one of them that sums up where I am at currently.
Well It now looks like I will be staying home. I got a pm or two warning me away from that particular company they didn't seem to mind the machine just said the owner had trouble delivering the goods after taking payment.
so I am currently going to the bank tomorrow to arrange a payment on this machine http://www.iehk.net/gallery/gl_cncIEP1325_01.html (mhtml:{98B03C51-E4CC-4EDC-900A-5DD07E4BDB84}mid://00000006/!x-usc:http://www.iehk.net/gallery/gl_cncIEP1325_01.html)
its got all the bells and whistles I need and I cant beat the price it also has quite a following on the other-zone from the assie crowd, they just love these machines.
Anyhow I'll update my post after I buy my new off brand that way when I start asking questions all the anti off brand crowd can say I told you so.
but I'm not afraid of an adventure, besides I may get lucky.

Steve knight
08-11-2008, 12:17 AM
looks like the vacuum on this machine is not well suited for cutting sheet stock. You could not use a spoilboard with it and cut through. not positive but it is something to check. if the pump does not have enough cfms to keep up with leaks it will not work for that. looks more like a high vac low cfm pump. those work well for some things but not for sheetstock if you plan on cutting through the material.
max speed is only 4" a second thats not super fast. though I seldom cut above 3"ips I do jog a lot faster.

james mcgrew
08-11-2008, 1:02 AM
here is a video taken in the godwin cabinet shop in jan 08, it is the same model router cutting panel at 400 ipm, i shot this and some other video that day, steve is right vacuum works best when sealed correctly and we edgeband all edges of ourspoil board. the becker bucsh pumps have cfm ratings of 130 cfms but do achieve 27" mercury kieth taught me the trick of pin nailing his smallest parts after first pass then just breaking the pin after completion, i prefer to onion skin and slow down down a bit on third pass this has yet to fail us when processing panel parts. my camaster is us built but kieth godwin and i are just a few miles away from each other and i would take either router any day


here is a chip load calculator for those in need (see below)

and some photos of the machines new

james mcgrew
08-11-2008, 1:15 AM
here is a letter composed by bill glenn on the subject of vacuum, it helped a dumb country boy like me get some grip on how it works!!

reprinted with his permission

"There is much confusion about what kind of vacuum pumps are needed for different applications regarding hold-down on CNC Routers. Many of us think that more horsepower automatically results in better hold-down and opt for more HP and of course more electric bills. I will try to give an unbiased view on how it works and what works best from a (kuntryboys) way of saying it. I have used everything from reverse blowers from Grainger that will work on 220 single phase to 25 HP regenerative blowers to Positive displacement pumps such as Becker, Busch, or others. I have built CNC routers for 13 years and just lately feel like I understand it enough to really help someone else understand it. For most people including myself, we may think that a pump holds down parts because it "sucks the part down with air". When we understand what really holds the part it will help us understand more about holding down parts. Piab is a company that makes small vacuum cups, small pumps, etc. Several years ago I read a book they had and it explains very well how it works and it was very interesting. Basically without getting too deep into science this is it:
On what is called a standard day which is 59 degrees F at sea level air weighs about 15 lbs per square inch. Think of it as a column of air 1 inch square that goes all the way toward outer space until there is no air molecules. If you live in the mountains say at 2000 ft in elevation then your column of air is going to weigh less because there is not as much of it to weigh. If any of you are airplane pilots then you already know that the hotter the temperature the farther apart the air molecules are and the longer it takes to get off the ground and the slower you will fly. The same is true with vacuum. It will not hold down with as much force the hotter it is and the higher in elevation you are. But remember this column of air is fluid so it will try to replace any vacuumed areas. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Air only weighs 15 lbs per square inch maximum. It cannot be made to weigh more with any size vacuum pump because the most you can vacuum out of anything is whats there. (15 LBS. MAX) if you have a 10" square you are trying to hold down the maximum you can hold down with is (10" x 10"=100 square inches) = 150 lbs of force. This is only with a pump that will pull 28-29 inches of vacuum. This can be accomplished with a positive displacement pump such as Busch, Becker, or others that can pull this kind of vacuum. Regenerative blowers on the other hand cannot pull this kind of vacuum but are more on the order of 10-12 inches which would make its hold down force per square inch be more around 6 or 7 lbs per inch. If you were holding the same 10 inch sq piece of material it would be held down with more like 60 or 70 lbs.
Positive displacement pumps would probably be the ultimate but we have to remember that they do not put out the same volume as a regen blower. They put out much less per given HP because they are doing more work so you must find a balance. They also require more HP to get the job done. So if you use residential electricity you may find that you want to go with a 5-7.5 HP positive displacement pump such as Busch, Becker, etc and make sure you don't have leakages etc. I will mention some tips there later. If these pumps are too high new there are several companies that sell rebuilt ones with a guarantee. If you have plenty of electricity you may want a high volume regen blower such as Fuji, FPZ, etc of 20 or 25HP and when you have that kind of volume you don't have to be as bothered by leakage. On a 4 x 8 table I feel that 10 HP regen and below is a little bit marginal. Of course there are huge vacuums that will pull huge volume and high vacuum but most of us are trying to do CNC on a budget and could live off some peoples electric bills. Positive displacement pumps generally cost nearly 2-3 times the price of a regen blower.
I have a customer who has 2 of our machines. I was surprised to learn that he is running both tables with 7 1/2 HP rebuilt Busch pump that pulls 28-29 inches and has decent volume. He paid about 3300.00 for the pump. He is careful with his leakage. Heres how he does it:
Our low-cost vac tables are MDF 1 1/2" thick with a grid sytem cut into the table with 4 zones on a 4 x 8. Each zone is 24" x 49" with a 2" PVC pipe running to each zone that has a PVC cut off/on for each zone. He mills a sheet of 3/4 LDF or MDF on one side. He then adhere this to his grid table being careful to only put the wood glue on the grid itself so as to not seal up the bottom of the sacrifice board. This keeps the sacrifice board from becoming sealed. Then he mills the top of the sacrifice board. He also then seals up the edge of the sacrifice board to not let air escape through the edges. When you cut your parts be careful to set your z so that it doesn't go unnecisarily deep into the sacrifice board. When the sacrifice board gets uneven and is affecting the vacuum you can then remill the board just enough to clean it up. When you get down to the grid again simply do the same with another board and start over. This works very well. (Thanks to Greg Westberry for the enlightenment on how he does his vacuum system and some help on the above info as well)
I have also found that if you have limited electricity available such as only 220 single phase and don't want a phase converted setup that a Dayton 10 HP blower working in reverse works fairly well because it has such a huge volume but uses a lot of electricity to start and you have to build a different vacuum box to handle the volume.
Hope this helps a little in making your decisions. I will try later to give some tips on how to cut parts with low volume or no vacuum at all."
Bill Glenn
Camaster CNC

james mcgrew
08-11-2008, 1:52 AM
here is avidieo i got from the chinese fellows some time ago when i was about to purchase this model


Steve knight
08-11-2008, 1:57 AM
I have two fien shop vacs for my main hold down. this works pretty good for most parts U cut out of sheetstock. I use them with a 1/2" or 3/4" trupan top.
this does not work well with thin plastic I found that stuff wants to lift up. but for most sheet stock it works well for 6" ips or less. I have used a higher " pump with pucks and that works well but it not as practical for one off pieces.

james mcgrew
08-11-2008, 2:02 AM
i also use the feins although i do plan to buy a large vacuum pump for the comercial machine i will be putting in my shop. this one will be heading for my barn. and i would like to have another table top as well, what type of router are you using ?


Steve knight
08-11-2008, 2:08 AM
I don't do a huge amount of sheetstock so right now it is enough. Plus I would need a new electrical panel installed to have the power since my other one is full.
I have a shopbot of course (G) prt alpha. missed the new model by a few months.
I do a lot of one offs and a mechanical clamping setup is far more useful for the most part since it only takes seconds to change around.

James Jaragosky
08-11-2008, 5:20 PM
This may be the best opportunity to see all the options in one spot.
and as bad as I really want to order my new cnc router, I think I'll wait
until the show. besides I believe that some manufactures have show specials.
I might be able to afford a auto changer with the right deal.

james mcgrew
08-11-2008, 8:30 PM
cool, james we will be at CAMaster booth 6974 it will be nice to meet you!!

someone once told me "if it's a good idea today it will be a good idea tommorrow!!"

poured a 60 foot bar with epoxy today, i am soo ready for the show

jim mcgrew

James Jaragosky
08-11-2008, 10:14 PM
I have not used epoxy in years.
It was not cheap around $80 a gal if I remember correctly.
How thick was the pour?
I really look foward to meeting my fellow creekers.
see you there.

james mcgrew
08-11-2008, 10:34 PM
we bought 13 gallons from a fellow in clifornia much thinner than before but excellent quality, still sticky!!! and 50 a gallon +/-

see you in atlanta, it is a massive show wear tennis shows and plan for a minimum of two days on the floor!!


james mcgrew
08-18-2008, 8:03 AM
james i did some 3d doors for the tv unit we built for the show, hope to see you there!!


James Jaragosky
08-18-2008, 9:55 AM
james i did some 3d doors for the tv unit we built for the show, hope to see you there!!

I can"t wait to go.
I Even managed to get the wife excited. (wait until she finds out it's like watching me shop at the Borg only X10. I can spend 30 minutes choosing a $60 saw blade, it drives her nuts.):D
I need to still print all my tickets but other than that we are ready to leave Thursday morning.

Michael Kowalczyk posted something about meeting Thursday night for dinner at a place called bones. but I have not heard anything more.
are you bringing the wife?
IFW Check List

Sneakers / Check
Checkbook / Check
passes & tickets / Check
Wife / Damm I always forget something:eek:

james mcgrew
08-18-2008, 10:59 AM
my wife is coming wed night and will leave on fri morning, she is with a friend who is a pretty accomplished turner! (gives the guys at columbia woodworkers club a real run for thier money!!)

with the friends i am not sure what thursday will bring but i am sure we can all get together!!

i got real excited about bones but red meat and i had to part years ago (got the gout)

here is current work

Khalid Khattak
08-18-2008, 11:29 AM
James..this is really a quality stuff... please share more as u proceed;)

james mcgrew
08-18-2008, 11:45 AM
thanks, will update from the show!!!

Michael Kowalczyk
08-18-2008, 2:36 PM
Sent you a PM with my cell#.

To All: I did make reservations for Thursday at 6:45PM for all that are interested. I will need to now fast if you are coming because they fill up fast.

Hey james mcgrew,
I sent you a PM also with my Cell#. You can still come they have Halibut, Salmon, Mahi Mahi, Chicken and Lamb Chops there and an awesome salad. Sorry about the "G" :( My father had it also.

Here's the info again if anyone needs it.


3130 Piedmont Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 237-2663

have a safe trip and hope to see as many of you as I can in 2 days..