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Thread: Best Website for Advice (pros/cons) on Benchtop CNC

  1. #1
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    Best Website for Advice (pros/cons) on Benchtop CNC

    Seems to be one of the more difficult types of tools to get good (believable) relative ratings for. Been researching for several days and thought the HD4/Shark was one of the better ones (stiffer/stronger) for the money till I read a few threads here.

    I am pretty sure I want to run Vetric software, probably desktop to start. Seems to be an industry standard even if I need to buy a copy.

    I don't don't think I need any bigger than a cabinet raised panel size, or say 24x36, but I am sure there will be a use for larger if I had it. I do want it to sit on a benchtop.

  2. #2
    A friend has the Shark and it's anything but rigid and stiff. What's your budget for this CNC?

    David
    David
    CurlyWoodShop on Etsy, David Falkner on YouTube, difalkner on Instagram

  3. #3
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    Just about anything that CNC Router Parts / AVID sells is pretty decent and they are good people to deal with.

    I built up from a kit a WorkBee and did the controls and panel myself using a PMDX Usb controller, and Mach4 control software. But I know how to do wiring and controls and have pretty decent mechanical skills. Never done a lot with it yet besides testing but its not a project for everyone.

    You might check the Classifieds here, sometimes some good bargains come up.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  4. #4
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    John, a lot depends on your budget. The adage “Buy your second machine first” is particularly applicable to CNC.
    I’ve had my Camaster Stinger 1, 24”X36” for several years. No complaints.
    Please help support the Creek.

    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Falkner View Post
    A friend has the Shark and it's anything but rigid and stiff. What's your budget for this CNC?

    David
    Don't have a specific budget. Trying to get a feel what's a good sturdy machine to establish one.

    The Shark seemed doable financially. Yea I know I need hundreds of dollars in bits and other important accessories.

  6. #6
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    If you want to save some money assembling your machine, Avid (formerly CNC Router Parts) is well respected. If you want to buy a quality small format machine that's able to do heavier work, then machines like Camaster, ShopSabre, ShopBot, etc. come to mind. In all cases, the investment is a bit more than for the Shark products. If you need to stay at a lower budget, Shapeoko XXL with a few upgrades can be a workable machine.
    --

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

  7. #7
    If you do consider the Shapeoko, also look at the Millright Mega V, at the same price point as the Shapeoko but a far more rigid and accurate machine.

  8. #8
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    I have a Sienci Long Mill, developed by two university students in Canada. It uses lead screws, not belts and is very rigid. The biggest may be too small for you, though. The cutting size is 30 x 30. You can always tile in Y to go as long as you want, though. Since you want to mount it to a bench top, keep in mind that the cutting size may be quite a bit smaller than the footprint. My table is 48 x 48. The smallest that the 30 x 30 can be mounted to is about 42 x 42. I imagine that not all machines need the same extra for their footprint.
    Grant
    Ottawa ON

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    If you want to save some money assembling your machine, Avid (formerly CNC Router Parts) is well respected. If you want to buy a quality small format machine that's able to do heavier work, then machines like Camaster, ShopSabre, ShopBot, etc. come to mind. In all cases, the investment is a bit more than for the Shark products. If you need to stay at a lower budget, Shapeoko XXL with a few upgrades can be a workable machine.
    Thanks Jim, you say with upgrades the Shapeoko XXL can be a workable machine. Would it be as robust and stiff as the Shark after those upgrades? Better? For this effort I was hoping to get something a little less "Kitty" and more finished out of the box. If the better unit is the Shapeoko XXL with upgrades and at least a full day of assembly (some reported two days) I would be okay with that but that was contrary to the things I have read (impressions) finding no direct comparisons between the two.

    Just from a visual appraisal the Shark appears more rigid and "looks" better designed.

    This is why ask the experienced people here

    Again thanks for your help once again..

  10. #10
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    I could certainly be "smoking something", (I'm not...) but I'm not accustomed to seeing "Shark CNC" and "robust" in the same sentence. Maybe they have changed something recently, however. Shapeoko with a Z-axis upgrade is a workable machine for personal use. Keep in mind that any $2000-$3000, give or take, machine isn't going to have the stiffness of a welded steel unit or heavier aluminum strut construction like Avid uses. There are trade-offs for the difference in initial cost. The US manufacturers I mentioned in my previous post build heavier machines that I absolutely would use the "robust" term with. But they are more than double the price of the entry level machines. That's a major reason why another poster asked about your budget. It really does matter.
    --

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

  11. #11
    Shark and rigid should never be used in the same sentence. I had a Shark for my first machine. From a rigidity standpoint, I consider it more of a toy than a tool. I would spend more time cleaning up tool marks than I did actually cutting and carving. In fact once a 1/4" end mill dove into the bed and the gantry would visibly flex as it kept trying to push forward. On my machine now, it would have snapped the bit in half before I even had a chance to hit the e stop. If you found a used one for around $1000 then I'd say go for it and use it to learn. I was ok with mine because I knew no better. Once I saw a camaster stinger 1 in person and saw how it was capable of making really good cuts at speeds that the shark would never dream of working at, I saw my mistake and just sold my machine. Today you couldn't even give me a shark. The one thing that they are good at is getting publicity for themselves. Here is a youtube video that if you watch about halfway thru he goes into the lack of rigidity and shows you how much it flexes with just a little pressure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mulkr7ZN50A.

    Personally now, my first choice are the chinese machines. You get much more for your money. My second choice would be an Avid machine kit. They cost a little more than a chinese but are pretty stout machines. The Shapeoko would probably be next on my list.

  12. #12
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    Bobby, impressive video. Are most of the black components in the video thick PVC type plastic? I remember reading that somewhere but can't find it now.
    Please help support the Creek.

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

  13. #13
    Yeah. Not sure the exact type of material but basically some type of plastic. In later models they put some aluminum strips on some of those pieces to try to support them more instead of just moving away from the plastic like most other companies have. What he showed in the video is what I experienced with mine.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby milam View Post
    Shark and rigid should never be used in the same sentence. I had a Shark for my first machine. From a rigidity standpoint, I consider it more of a toy than a tool. I would spend more time cleaning up tool marks than I did actually cutting and carving. In fact once a 1/4" end mill dove into the bed and the gantry would visibly flex as it kept trying to push forward. On my machine now, it would have snapped the bit in half before I even had a chance to hit the e stop. If you found a used one for around $1000 then I'd say go for it and use it to learn. I was ok with mine because I knew no better. Once I saw a camaster stinger 1 in person and saw how it was capable of making really good cuts at speeds that the shark would never dream of working at, I saw my mistake and just sold my machine. Today you couldn't even give me a shark. The one thing that they are good at is getting publicity for themselves. Here is a youtube video that if you watch about halfway thru he goes into the lack of rigidity and shows you how much it flexes with just a little pressure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mulkr7ZN50A.

    Personally now, my first choice are the chinese machines. You get much more for your money. My second choice would be an Avid machine kit. They cost a little more than a chinese but are pretty stout machines. The Shapeoko would probably be next on my list.
    Thanks for the video

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page View Post
    Bobby, impressive video. Are most of the black components in the video thick PVC type plastic? I remember reading that somewhere but can't find it now.
    Yes if its the Shark its black plastic. If you could find a used Camaster or AVID / CNC Router Parts machine that would be great. I had listed on here a used machine a few months ago steel frame based on their design with their factory professionally built control panel running Mach4, and not one hit from this website. I sold it locally for less than half what I had invested .
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

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