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Thread: Bobscnc e3 opinions?

  1. #1

    Bobscnc e3 opinions?

    I'm considering getting my feet wet with CNC. I've done a little reading and you tubing over the past few days and I think I want to try his e3 router.
    At ~$600 it has a good sized cutting area 17 15 3. This is large enough to make everything that I've thought about making (plaques - key fobs - trinkets - signs).
    And - it comes with a DW router. Others I've looked at need you to buy the router.

    As I said, I'm pretty much set on this setup. Has anyone used his e3 cnc? I'm looking for reasons not to buy it, not reasons to buy another setup. Hopefully that makes sense? User friendly? Tight cuts?

  2. #2
    For that price, it looks like a good way to get your feet wet. If you enjoy it, expect to be buying or building a more expensive machine later.
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Leland, NC
    Well, it would be very easy for me to start ripping that system apart. However, if all you want to do is see how cnc works it is something to play with. At least the guy is honest about taking it easy and not making any wild claims.

    Not sure what you mean by "tight cuts"? If you mean "not sloppy" or "in tolerance" then it will probably do what you need IF you take it easy. If it works out for you (the idea of doing some things with a cnc) then you will get tired of doing things slowly very quickly. That is ok as long as you are not thinking this will be your "forever" machine and meet all your needs as you discover more things that cnc can do easily.

    Then there is another another plus side, putting it together yourself will give you the confidence to build a faster, stiffer machine later on. That will save you lots of money, and you can still use this small one when you are not in a hurry.

    As long as your expectations are not too high I think you will enjoy using that machine.

    You will also need to budget for some dust collection, and remember, software that does 3D relief work does not come cheap

    Just to give you a frame of reference:

    If you are cutting 3D work, like the one he shows on YouTube of the leaves, an 8X10 of that will take about 7 hours using a 1/8 ball nose cutter running at 30 IPM with a 10% stepover.

    On my homebuilt machine (basically a CNC Router Parts kit) I cut that at about 250 IPM for a total time of 51 minutes.

    So, if you are dreaming about doing larger 3D work, you might want to rethink the type of machine you want to buy. If you are mainly interested in doing engraving you will probably be ok cause it is a lot of fun watching them cut.

    You will need to budget something for dust collection and also remember that software to do 3D relief work does not come cheap. No such thing. You can find cheap 3D modeling stuff, but getting machine code is a way different story.
    Last edited by Ted Reischl; 07-15-2017 at 5:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Marquette, MI USA
    Look at it this way.... as a bicycle. Good bicycles are expensive. If you build one out of plywood you can be sure that you wont ride it very fast, that it surely wont perform as well as one made from a more stable stronger material, and that if you use it hard, it wont last long. That said, if you never rode a bicycle, it may be a way to get riding very cheaply to see if you like it.
    Gary Campbell
    CNC Technology & Training
    Control & ATC Retrofits

    YouTube: Islaww1

  5. #5
    Free 3D CAM:


    Autodesk Fusion 360, "free" to hobbyists and startups earning less than $100,00/yr. includes CAM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Norfolk, UK
    That router is going to be about as rigid as a wet noodle. That being said, if you just want to see what you think, it could be a good way to get into it very cheap.

    I've been running my router machining jigs all day at 400ipm with a 1/4" endmill - all accurate to 0.05mm (0.002".) Some of those jigs still take over an hour to machine. I'd be fairly impressed if you could machine at 15inches/min with that router and maintain any tolerance worth maintaining with even a 1/4" endmill. The comments above of taking forever to machine are very true. Again, that being said, If I'm VCarving really fine details for inlays, I'm not really going much faster than that either (wood starts to splinter, as i'm limited to 24,000rpm max on my spindle).

    My router is kit form 3/4" or thicker Aluminium. The router linked looks like it might be 1/4" plywoood? Just as a stiffness comparison

    Once you start finding you can make some awesome jigs with CNC, and then start using those to machine lots of awesome stuff.. you'll really want a more powerful, more rigid machine that's more mechanically sound.

    I've been slowly transitioning over to Fusion from Aspire as I figure out it's quirks in CAM. I still do all my mechanical design in SolidWorks, but it doesn't have cheap CAM available like Fusion does. The HSMWorks core that runs the toolpath generation is very powerful, but I find I need to simulate a lot more to catch all the weird stuff it seems to do. In Aspire I just run the toolpaths without sim, I trust it.. Fusion's HSM toolpaths though are pretty impressive - fairly reliable material engagement so you can really max out the feeds and speeds your machine is capable of. I ran a small jig today in 6 minutes with a 1/4" endmill that previously took 8 minutes with a 3/4" endmill - and I think I the 1/4" one actually came up a touch nicer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hayes, Virginia
    Exhaustive research is much less expensive than purchasing a machine and then continue having to move up to the next level until you find the right machine that fits your needs. When the machine includes software the cost and learning curve goes up plus you have more time involved.

    We have all learned this rule through the years when purchasing table saws, band saws, etc. Most agree that it is wise to purchase your last machine first and in spite of the work required to do the research which can be a horribly difficult task its the best course of action. Unfortunately the financial concerns involved in any machine purchase bears heavily in every decision made and it often detracts from making the best choice. Even a toy that a novice would purchase isn't a bargain if it doesn't work.

    Take your time, do whatever research is necessary and wait until you have the necessary funds to buy your last machine first.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 07-20-2017 at 10:44 AM.

  8. #8
    I agree. I just went through it all about a year ago. One of the things I did after I narrowed down my list to a reasonable number of machines was to visit the support forums. The machine I picked had very few complaints. One machine I looked at was about a quarter of what I bought, but the users spent much of their time working to improve the machine. I didn't want the machine to be my hobby. Its another tool in my shop. Now, if my budget was more constrained, I would have bought what I could afford and dealt with it. Even the machine I bought is not perfect (spent several hours fiddling with it yesterday).

    Another thing to consider is all of the associated costs - software, tools, a table, etc. etc. I spent a lot on all of the support items (power strips/protectors, dust collection).

    I've had my CNCRP machine for around a year now. I bought a little more capacity than I thought I needed. It has been a great machine and a lot of fun learning and using it and all of the software. Still learning!

    So, its a balance between what you want to do and how much you are willing to all things really.

    Good luck with your decision and enjoy!


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