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Thread: help guys !! CNC router inquiry

  1. #1

    help guys !! CNC router inquiry

    hi guys ,
    this is my first post here , i am totally new to this field, and i am opening a drinking coasters and customized wood working shop.
    i am looking for a good cnc router that would help me do the engraving on my hardwood drinking coasters
    simple work such as company logos, simple artwork . etc , to give a 3d feeling.
    i am looking for a fast machine that is user friendly and could cut too
    i am looking for something less than 50k usd ( the best value for money )

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Shohola, PA Pocono Mountains

    For about $2K you could get a CarveWright and start with a small investment and test market the idea... $50K is a bunch of money to invest and possibly loose... A Business Plan would help get you started in the right direction. Many a business fails from poor market research.

    When you mention Logo's many think that a fortune in money can be made doing sports stuff and other copyright logo's... That is a Slippery Slope as you would be breaking the law making and selling such stuff without proper permission. Do a search on Copyright here and the other forums like the many laser forums and you will see the stories of the Cease and Desist orders.

    If your still game for a big boy CNC you are at the right place. Do a search on buying a CNC and this question has been answered many times in many ways.

    Last edited by AL Ursich; 08-03-2013 at 1:21 PM.
    1 Laser, 4 CarveWrights, Star 912 Rotary, CLTT, Sublimation, FC7000 Vinyl, 911 Signs, Street Signs, Tourist Products and more.
    Home of the Fire Department "Epoxy Dome Accountability Tag and Accountability Boards".

  3. #3
    Doesn't sound as if your project requires too much of a cnc. Some things to consider, how many do you want to do at a time and how much room do you have for the cnc. What future uses would you have for it?

    Take your time and learn about them before you buy a cnc. Lots of variables to choose the right one for you. For that kind of budget you may even want to look at lasers also.
    A good place to start would be shopbot and cammaster. Can get them both much less than your 50k price depending on size and options. Both would be more than capable. Both have good forums to research.

    With your budget you might check into lasers also.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Terrace, BC
    For what you're envisioning, a small machine may be all you need. I do presentation boxes, and use CNC routing for engraving corporate logos, inlaying carved 3d (2 and a half D, really) models, etcetera.

    I started with a Carvewright - and it did a good job, but I found maintenance to be a problem as I was running it 6 - 10 hours a day, 6 - 7 days a week. Four years ago, I upgraded to the Shopbot "Desktop", which has an 18" X 24" cutting area and haven't looked back. When I purchased it (with the spindle option, instead of the router option), it ran me about $6K - I believe they may be even more inexpensive now. I run that thing 8 - 12 hours a day, 6 - 7 days a week and haven't had a maintenance issue with it yet. I'm considering getting a second one, because I have that much work, and could keep both of them busy most of the time.

    There are other good machines in the sub $10K bracket that would probably be more than sufficient for what you are considering doing. A Carvewright isn't a bad option to start if you want to test your market (I still use mine - but only for it's ability to probe existing carvings and render them into an electronic file.

    I REALLY don't think you need to spend $50K to accomplish your goal. I used to work on an industrial CNC machine in a cabinet shop - and you wouldn't BELIEVE the floor space required to comfortably use a machine with the capability to carve up a 4 X 8 sheet of material.

    Best of luck with your venture.
    I love mankind. It's people I can't stand.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Conroe, TX
    Frankly I think you would be better off with a laser. I have a CNC Router and a 60W laser. The router is best for V-carving deep profiling. The laser is far better for imaging and cutting wood up to 1/4". The laser beam is only about .007" in diameter, so the resolution of things like small logos is many time better than even the best V-tool could do.

  6. #6
    I've never had the opportunity to use a laser but seeing some of the work from them, that is what I was thinking. Out of curiosity, what is the production time for the laser work as opposed to the router? For his budget he could get both and have the best of both worlds.

  7. #7
    thanks a lot guys for helping . i did my business plan and the market is good , i dont want to fall into buying a small machine and outgrowing it in the next month , i already have 2 contracts that i can start with and that could support the business . i thought about lasers too but my coasters on hardwood would be a .4 cm deep to embody a 3d look and laser would be quite slow from what i heard. i am thinking of the cammaster cobra , it seems a great machine with future capabilities + a Chinese laser ( big flatbed ) from a Chinese provider ( etl) that have a distributor near me . another thing to ask you guys , if i want to color my coasters , i was told that UV printers is the best , can i know your input on that

    thanks a million

  8. #8
    thaks for your fast reply ,
    for the sport stuff , most of our local clubs don't even have a store and could be contacted with this , the market is not penetrated .
    ive seen a lot of videos on carvewrights and they seem good but i dont think they can handle large orders

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    The Camaster Cobra is a excellent machine. They have a good forum (camheads) with members that will answer any question you might have.
    I have the smaller Camaster Stinger with a spindle in place of the router, it's built like a tank.
    Please help support the Creek.

    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
    - Steven Wright

  10. #10
    I really want a cobra too. I'm trying to just work up to the stinger 3 right now. If I'm not mistaken I think cammaster has a sale going on right now for money off accessories when you purchase the machine.

  11. #11
    If you expect small relief carvings work like coasters to be the primary output for the foreseeable future you might get a better return on investment from multiple small machines rather the a single large machine. Filling a 4'x8' bed with multiple blanks for machining might take DAYS to mill 100's of coasters. For the same money and floor space, you could get 2-4 smaller machines (shopbot desktop, camaster stingerI or similar) and produce 2-4x the work in the same time. Get all the upgrades you can (spindle vs router, vacuum hold-down, etc..) to simplify and maximize throughput. If you determine later that you need to upgrade to a larger platform, the smaller machine can still be dedicated to production of smaller items: at less than $10k they'll pay for themselves that much faster than a $40k+ machine. Set-up, electrical service, etc is much quicker/easier on a smaller machine as well.

    The Cobra is a fine machine and if you see yourself producing casework, larger signs, etc in time it would be worth consideration, but it really has no significant advantage for smaller work that requires few if any tool changes.

    Kevin Groenke
    Fabrication Director (retired!)
    UMN College of Design

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    New Hampshire
    Multiple machines is an excellent suggestion. First start out with just one to confirm it will do what you want and then scale. I have a Cobra and we had a similar discussion on about how two Cobra's would be better than a heavier machine because you could run both and then would also have a backup if one of them had a problem. Even a new machine can be down a long time if you slam the spindle in to a big piece of metal. The disadvantage is that you might not have something like a material autoloader like some Thermwoods come with. Also, you might want multi heads/ATC option but if you cut a bunch out on a 4x4 stinger, you could change a bit at the end of one cutting cycle. I personally make one thing at a time often and find the three cutting heads (X3 option) very handy and speedy.
    CAMaster Cobra X3 408 w/Recoil
    BobCAD V25
    Corel Draw X5

    Precision Sign and Post
    Windham, NH

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