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Thread: Tinker toy and waste of money?

  1. #1

    Tinker toy and waste of money?

    Recently. I've developed an interest in CNC routing/engraving.
    After watching a ton of YouTube videos on the subject, started looking at machines.

    My budget is low and, initially, looked at 3018 machines on Amazon.
    $200-300.
    I realize the working area is smaller than a piece of copy paper.

    Also looked at the Maslow CNC kit which makes huge stuff up to 4'X8' and would take up a lot of space in my small work area.
    https://www.maslowcnc.com/

    And looked at a kit from BobsCNC
    https://www.bobscnc.com/

    I would like to stay under $500 but don't know if this will give me anything worth having.
    (BobsCNC kit is a little more)

    My initial interest is in router engraving and haven't gotten excited about laser engraving.
    Maybe because I don't know anything about it

    I'd like something I could use an offline controller instead of having a computer in my dirty cramped unheated shop.

    I see lots of plans for DIY builds, not sure that's what I want to do.

    While I would, initially, just be doing hobby stuff like engraving pictures in wood, there might be a possibility of selling some stuff.

    My wife does 30+ craft shows a year so she might be able to display some things.
    Possibly Christmas ornaments, Steeler stuff for gifts (Steelers logo is the only NFL logo not trademarked), for example.

    Am I living in a fantasy world?

    If not, any suggestions would be appreciated

    Thanks, as always, for any input

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Your talking about toys here when most of the folks have spent $3000 at minimum. Spend a little time reading here and you will see what I am talking about. Here is one that seems to be popular https://carbide3d.com/shapeoko/
    Last edited by Bill George; 01-17-2020 at 4:34 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill George View Post
    Your talking about toys here when most of the folks have spent $3000 at minimum. Spend a little time reading here and you will see what I am talking about. Here is one that seems to be popular https://carbide3d.com/shapeoko/
    Thanks, Bill.
    I forgot to mention that I read all of the posts in CNC Machines and many in the Laser Engraving and Sign Forums.

    It sounds like a fantasy that I can do anything in this?

  4. #4
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    Larry, there is still a "ceiling" where being under it brings many, many trade-offs that can result in discouragement and abandonment of the activity. You can do real work with the Inventables machine or even the smaller Shapeoko setups, but below that things start to get iffy...In My Humble Opinion. My recommendation is to chose a machine that can do real work so that your investment isn't wasted. And if you find it's not for you, you'll have a much easier time selling a quality setup than you will with something lesser.
    --

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

  5. #5
    Thanks, Jim.

    I suspected that was the case.

    Unfortunately, those kinds of machines are out of my range at this point
    But, I will take a look and see if I may be able to find a way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Foster View Post
    Thanks, Jim.

    I suspected that was the case.

    Unfortunately, those kinds of machines are out of my range at this point
    But, I will take a look and see if I may be able to find a way.
    Did you even look at the Link I posted? You might find them used but not for $300
    Last edited by Bill George; 01-17-2020 at 5:54 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller

  7. #7
    Sorry, Bill.

    I missed the link but will go there next.

    Just checked out the X-carve and Shapeoko and my wife would kill me in my sleep

  8. #8
    If she does craft shows already, show her some of the stuff you could make and sell to try to pay for the machine. Look for a used machine. Make some stuff to sell at the craft show and save that money to buy one. There's always a way. I wouldn't waste my time personally with one of those real cheap machines.

  9. #9
    Thanks, bobby.

    My wife throws nickels around like manhole covers.
    Don't get me wrong.
    I love her and her "thriftiness" is sometimes a good balance.

    I just checked on Ebay and Pittsburgh Craigslist and didn't find anything there.

    A thought I had was to get one of those cheap machines and make a few things it would be capable of and, possibly, upgrade if there was a market

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Foster View Post
    Thanks, bobby.

    My wife throws nickels around like manhole covers.
    Don't get me wrong.
    I love her and her "thriftiness" is sometimes a good balance.

    I just checked on Ebay and Pittsburgh Craigslist and didn't find anything there.

    A thought I had was to get one of those cheap machines and make a few things it would be capable of and, possibly, upgrade if there was a market
    Your wasting your money, look at the machines in that Link I sent you. Sell something, work some overtime, get a part time job or whatever it takes…. but don't waste your money. There is Always a way. Listen to the guys on here, you asked for advice, these folks are the best; investing money to make money is not waste. Your wife needs to rethink her goals. PS check the buy sell area of Sawmill Creek.
    Last edited by Bill George; 01-17-2020 at 8:38 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller

  11. #11
    Thanks for your advice, Bill.

    I do trust the advice I get here.

    But, I'm 70 years old.

    I only work at my old job a couple days a month.
    While looking for something to tinker with, I may have to face the fact that it may not be a $1500+ machine.
    I'll keep my eyes open to see if I stumble on a used one.

    I do appreciate everyone's helpful insights even if it's not what I wanted to hear.


  12. #12
    Everyone has a budget. If you know that they are going to have limitations and you may be limited to more of engraving than carving then try one of the small machines. Used machines come on the market all the time but you never know when. Patience is key. Might try going to the shark cnc forum and see if any of them are being listed. Not a great machine but you can get by with one. I did it for awhile. Personally, in that price range, I might look at a cheap laser engraver rather than the routers at that price.

    Another option is to look into the chinese machines. Much cheaper and they make small ones and they are definitely cheaper.

  13. #13
    More good suggestions, bobby.
    Thanks

    I'm not pulling the pin today.
    Need to see how Uncle Sam treats me with a refund

    Research

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    FYI I am going on 77, and several others on here are in their 70's or older. You are looking at something for a hobby, but it could be a source of income so do not get a small cheap one that will limit your abilities. Go to the VCarve Pro website and look at what the folks there are doing. Download the trial software and learn what it can do.
    http://forum.vectric.com

    https://www.vectric.com
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller

  15. #15
    Thanks for the suggestion, Bill.
    I will do that.

    I wasn't using my age as an thought that I'm old.
    I'm not but can see it from where I'm standing.

    It was to suggest that my work income opportunities are limited.

    If I could convince myself that I could make some decent money with the machine, it would be easier.

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