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Thread: Educate me on woodworking CNC machines in 2019

  1. #16
    I searched around and I did find importers around but the mark up was too much and made no sense. I thought about importing my own but didn't know what all that entailed and sounded like a big headache. I happened upon AcctekUSA and they had a couple in stock in their shop tested and ready for pickup. It was a good enough price that I bought from Chicago and trailered it back to Dallas.

    You might also want to keep an eye out on craigslist for a used machine. A decent one at a decent price pops up on there now and then.

  2. #17
    Join Date
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    What size did you get Art?
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach3

  3. #18
    Join Date
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    Deep South
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    I got the 24 X 36 Camaster Stinger 1. It looks almost exactly like the machine Bruce posted a picture of but mine doesn't have the clever dust collector design. If I had it to do over, I would buy one like Jim bought or perhaps the "professional" level 4 X 4 kit from CNC Router Parts. I am not interested in cutting out big things from plywood sheets but I would like the ability to carve bigger signs. I have turned down some nice jobs because my workspace is small. I don't have room for a 4 X 8 because I would have to get rid of some conventional woodworking equipment and I'm not willing to do that.

  4. #19
    Here's my two...

    I am a hobby user (engineer by day also). Mainly a woodworker, but I dabble in electronics and build all sorts of stuff. When I was doing my research, CNCRP came up a lot too. One thing that impressed me was that most of the posts were praise whereas a lot of other posts on other machines were for how to make them better. Their prices fit within my budget too. Don't forget all the of the extras - dust collection, bits, base, laptop or pc, etc. etc. All of that adds up.

    I bought their Standard level machine - 24x48. It is a very well thought out and designed machine. No issues whatsoever. I use a Bosch 1617. Again, no issues. I have let that thing buzz for hours! I did get the precision collet set. I have cut lots of mdf, wood, circuit boards, aluminum, brass, plastic, slate, etc. The aluminum and brass were thin stock - no modelling yet. As for cutting qaulity and such, the machine performs very well. I can't really quantify the tolerances as I got it to "good enough for me" and quit tweaking. 5 or 10 thou is not out of the question. That is plenty good for most everything I do.

    I had one issue with the machine - a bearing split. That was probably my fault. CNCRP helped me diagnose it. I have also had a few issues with the ESS board. I have gotten help from CNCRP and Warp 9 on that. I use Mach 3 and Vcarve Pro. I also use Fusion 360, but I haven't attempted the CAM part of it yet. For 2d drawings, I use a goo old fashioned CAD package and then transfer the dxf to Vcarve. Though, I am getting better drawing with Vcarve.

    Oh, I bought the electronics package too. I didn't want the machine itself to be another hobby. And it has been a real workhorse. It is very dependable and repeatable/consistent and all that jazz. I built a base out of 2x4's. Nothing fancy. The 48" is way more than I'll probably use, but I bought a little more than I thought I'd need.

    Anyway, good luck with your hunt! It has been pretty fun and rewarding.

    Tony

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Elizabeth, CO
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    101
    Like Dennis above, I also built my own DIY machine. 49” x 60” cut area. It is similar to CNC Router Parts machine in that it is built from 8020 extrusions (mine are bigger ), which does make it versatile to modify and reconfigure if needed. For example, my machine has an overhang (6”) on one end so I can work on ends of boards for joinery cuts (mortises, tenons, dovetails, etc.). I also designed it to allow gantry to be raised an additional 6 inches, in case I ever want to carve on a large beam, for a fireplace mantle, for example. Most commercially available machines cannot do this.

    Oh, and it only cost $2800.

    0BDE1DCD-6BFD-4901-9744-74F432957713.jpeg
    Last edited by Richard Gonzalez; 01-06-2019 at 12:28 AM.
    Colorado Woodworkers Guild
    Colorado CNC User Group

  6. #21
    That looks nice Richard, do you have a link to your design?

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Madison WI area
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    113
    Following... and am in same boat...Focus seems to be going to the Camaster and/or Axiom. Spoke with Grant at Camaster a week ago still waiting his email to me.( he was gonna get back to me with some users near me that have Stinger 2x4 machines) Spoke with George Vondriska (he wrote the book "CNC ROUTER ESSENTIALS" a MUST read IMHO) and offers classes at his workshop on 3 different machines. Laguna, Axiom, and Next Wave Shark. The New Wave Shark price is very appealing to me, but I am gonna wait and do some more research. My budget has now moved into the $10k range as I want to buy this tool only once and want the proper size. There is a CAMASTER owner near me that has invited my wife and me to come take a "test drive" on his machine. I will be doing that soon... In the meantime I am playing with the software downloads. I tried calling Next Wave (mfr of the Shark) and never was able to get through to a live person, that is very concerning to me. (as is a customer service rep that doesn't follow through)

    The one thing i think i have figured out is i definitely want something that holds a 4 foot sheet. 2x4 or 4x4. Makes no sense to me to buy a 36 inch work top and have a foot hang over ie 2 x 4 piece of plywood that i cant do anything with.

    Great post...lots of good info and knowledgeable folks here.
    Ridgid R4513 jobsite saw, Ridgid R4512 Table saw, Ridgid JP601 jointer/planer,
    Jet DC-1100VX-CK Dust collector, Bosch 1617 EVSPK router, Bosch RA1181 router table, Rikon 10-326 Band saw
    Dewalt 735 planer, Fuji Q5Platinum HVLP,

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Iowa USA
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    You do not want a Shark. Lots of plastic and worse, targeted to new users and people who shop for a price. Any of the others your asking about would be fine. Most of the serious or commercial users on here tend to like the Camaster. good machine (pricey) and holds its resale value. Yes you want something that will handle a 4 ft wide sheet, I ended up with a 4x4 ft machine for that reason.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach3

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Deep South
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    In my personal experience, the 3 foot length has been more of a limitation than the 2 foot width.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    El Dorado Hills, CA
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    I have a 2x3 DIY kit that is perfect for my small space. The work area is enough for me.

    The machine footprint is 36" by 48" which is small enough that it can sit pushed up against a wall. There is enough room for me to lean over and reach all areas of the table. I can pull it away if access is needed to the other side which is very rare.

    A 4x4 machine would likely need access on both sides which would require a lot larger amount of floor space.
    Steve

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Grefe View Post
    Where are you guys buying these import (Chinese mainly) machines from? Is there a storefront/website that I should be looking for?

    I’m partial to supporting a local manufacturer, so CNCrouterparts seems to keep popping up in my research. It doesn’t hurt that they’re only 20 miles away from me.
    I bought mine (5' x 8' x 12", vaccum table, spindle, etc) from Hytek Tools. They are the importer. My machine price included delivery, setup, a very nice Amana tooling package and a day of onsite training. All in all, I'm happy with it. I feel you need to have a CNC machine to be able to assess what you will actually want in a CNC machine. My next machine will be different. I may import directly from China on the next one. There's no way I would want a bolt together machine. My machine is a welded frame and the rigidity that comes with it makes a huge impact on cut quality. You can import a machine directly with your budget. The CNC router facebook group has a few guys that have done it that share their experience. If that doesn't appeal, the Camaster machines are excellent. I know a few guys with different machines in their range and they are all very happy with them.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NE Iowa
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    425
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Amen to that! I ultimately chose a 4x4, but in hindsight I really should have found a way to fit something that would take a full piece of sheet goods, if only for convenience. "You can cut small things on a big machine, but you cannot (easily) cut big things on a small machine." Most of what I cut is pretty small, but I use the whole table with a half-sheet for my tack trunks. I probably waste more material that way for the trunks because splitting things up into half-sheets isn't as efficient. Fortunately, it's not something I do in large quantities, so no big deal...but I can dream. LOL
    Jim,

    I'm really curious about this. I've been considering getting a CNC machine, but no way do I have room for anything bigger than 24" x 36" bed size. The machines seem highly interesting to me for making wood and plastic parts for various constructions that would be a significant challenge or impossible with traditional tools, and for making casting molds. But all the things I imagine would easily fit the small format machine. What am I missing?

    (For what it's worth, I do very little with sheet goods in my shop)

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    Jim,

    I'm really curious about this. I've been considering getting a CNC machine, but no way do I have room for anything bigger than 24" x 36" bed size. The machines seem highly interesting to me for making wood and plastic parts for various constructions that would be a significant challenge or impossible with traditional tools, and for making casting molds. But all the things I imagine would easily fit the small format machine. What am I missing?

    (For what it's worth, I do very little with sheet goods in my shop)
    The 48x something lets you just handle a lot less plywood to cut in smaller pieces. If you don't mind buying smaller sheet or work mostly in dimension lumber just buy what you want. But rule of thumb is you will always wish you had purchased the larger machine, whatever you buy!!
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach3

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
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    I guess I am the exception. As I noted in my post above, I haven’t wanted for a larger machine, but I'm not in it to make money. For me, the 24”x36”x5” travel is perfect.
    It all depends on what you want to do, what your budget is, and shop space. Of course, if budget and space weren’t an issue I’d have a larger machine.
    Please help support the Creek.

    My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

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  15. #30
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    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    Jim,

    I'm really curious about this. I've been considering getting a CNC machine, but no way do I have room for anything bigger than 24" x 36" bed size. The machines seem highly interesting to me for making wood and plastic parts for various constructions that would be a significant challenge or impossible with traditional tools, and for making casting molds. But all the things I imagine would easily fit the small format machine. What am I missing?

    (For what it's worth, I do very little with sheet goods in my shop)
    You're not missing anything. A quality "desktop" machine will do the kind of things you want to do no problem. 2z3 or 2z4 is very versatile. For furniture parts, Z-axis height becomes a little more important, IMHO, which is why I suggest you consider quality small format machines that have a little more headroom available. Since I'm familiar most with Camaster at this point, the Stinger I in 2x4 or 2x3 can be had with an extra 2" of z-axis space for just under $400 added to the machine cost plus any other options. Other manufacturers may or may not offer the same. I'm sure that Gary could come up with a super precise small machine that has huge headroom if you "bribe" him accordingly.

    My statement was more about my own needs which are evolving. Keep in mind that I started a small business after I retired from full time work a little more than a year ago and as a "generalist", I'm taking the opportunities as they come my way. Most of what I've done on the CNC has been small stuff. But there have been a few times when I wish I had found a way to opt for the larger CNC. For example, I can cut my tack trunk components no problem because I've been able to "optimize" them to fit on 48.5" by 48.25" "sheets", but it certainly would be easier and slightly more material efficient if I could run 49x97. I don't do enough of them for it to materially mater, but like I said, I can still dream. The other thing is that you can certainly do "long things" no problem on a "short" machine by tiling as long as you can reposition the CNC so that the material can be moved forward/back on the long axis.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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