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Thread: New CNC build - AVID 4848Pro with GCnC Electronics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Seattle, WA
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    New CNC build - AVID 4848Pro with GCnC Electronics

    Hi All,

    Figured some of y'all might be interested in this build as it seems to fit the size and budget requirements that get posted here often.

    Back in October of 2020 I put an order in for an Avid Pro4848 machine with the 'Pro' legs, proximity sensors, Auto Z plate and the 3HP spindle + mounting plate. After asking a few users here and on other forums I decided to go with an Acorn control setup from Gary Campbell instead of the Mach3/4 electronic package offered by Avid (more on this later).

    Gary was very helpful, but it turns out that he has sold his business to his business partner Matt DeVincentis. After speaking with Matt through email and on the phone a few times I decided to go with the upgraded package he offers, a Closed Loop control package with an integrated 40amp relay for full automate control of the spindle.

    Fast forward 3 months and I just got the call from Avid this week that they're about ready to deliver their part of the system. Fortunately I live close enough to Avid that I was able to save a few hundred dollars on shipping by picking up the system from their warehouse (they charge reduced shipping for the extrusions and no shipping for the spindle / custom parts). Building the GCnC electronics package has also been slowed down significantly by COVID, but I'm hopeful that the whole package will in my shop by the end of the month.

    My plan is to post some build updates as well as thoughts on the entire system as I go along. Although there are plenty of glowing reviews on the GCnC setup, there isn't much information about a closed vs open loop setup or about building a combined system (Avid + GCnc; I think I've seen 1 or 2 others on any forum).

    That being said, a few Q&A items I hope help others:

    Why Avid Pro4848? Why not bigger or another mfg?

    First off I really wanted a 4x8 ft machine to start, but after a lot of thought (well over a year) and multiple re-orgs of my shop I decided that although I could technically fit a 4x8 machine, it really wasn't going to be comfortable. I didn't want to go any smaller than 4x4, so that narrowed down my options. From there I liked the ease of moving an Avid machine over the other options. I know it comes at the trade off of rigidity, but I've moved my shop twice before and I'm sure I'll do it again in the future. My wife will probably kill me if I need 3 truck loads to move next time (last time was 2). Finally, Avid is local and I'm sure I'll need their help once or twice in the future, so having somebody nearby was a nice selling point.

    Why GCnC and not the Avid electronics?

    I've never run a CNC, so all of my knowledge is third hand - but the reviews for Mach 3 are bad and the reviews for Mach 4 seem to be incrementally better. That never really made me feel great. I get that Mach 4 is supposedly a better, but 'better than bad' isn't necessarily great. Acorn on the other hand gets much better reviews and so does GCnC (Gary) as an integrator. I was glad to talk with 2 knowledgable people who have clearly built many systems in the past.

    Why Closed vs Open?

    An Open loop system would obviously have been much cheaper, but between talking with Matt and watching some videos of (much smaller) CNC machines lose steps and ruin work / catch pieces on fire, I decided to go for the more professional option from the get go. It's no secret that most, if not all, professional level machines use closed loop control systems and upgrading from open loop motors to closed in the future wasn't an economical solution. Basically I'd be looking at near full system replacement, so I decided to spend the money upfront instead.


    We'll see how this goes - this will be my first CNC machine. Hopefully it'll also help some other buyers in the future either make the right choices, or not make the same mistake I'm inevitably going to make!

    Ben

  2. #2
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    Dec 2017
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    I love my Avid CNC machine.20210102_154721.jpg

  3. #3
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    Ben, that sounds like a great machine for your needs and while you opted for the 4x4, one of the great advantages of the AVID setup is that it's extensible in the future if space and needs provide for that need. And if I were buying one, I'd probably also look at the controller/drive upgrade you did, too.

    I look forward to your documenting your build!
    --

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

  4. #4
    That's almost the exact setup I have
    ordered last year, ran my first part the end of March, 2020
    Avid pro 48X48
    I got the steppers, control box wired, Acorn, and spindle all from Gary.
    The only trouble I am having is the rotary tail-stock. Not as accurate as it should be.
    If you need any help/pointers feel free to message me.
    I did a post last year.
    ______________________________
    ULS 4.60, Vision 810, shear, beveler
    Avid Pro CNC

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Grand Forks, ND
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Buehler View Post
    I love my Avid CNC machine.20210102_154721.jpg
    Nice machine Scott, would you mind sharing where you got your ATC setup from for this and the approx. cost of adding it? Leaning really heavy towards an AVID machine but I would like to have the ATC option to do right away or add afterwards.
    A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2016
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    Seattle, WA
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    Scott, is it safe to assume youíre using https://www.cncdepot.net/product-pag...d-cnc-machines ? How do you like it?

  7. #7
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    Dec 2017
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    Willard,Utah
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    Sorry for the late response. Yes I got it from CNC Depot.

  8. #8
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    Willard,Utah
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    So far, I love it. Plenty of power. I just got it set up a couple weeks ago and have not yet had the chance to write the script to Auto change it yet, so I'm just changing manually. But next week I will start working on that part of it

  9. #9
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    Jul 2016
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    Lebanon, TN
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    Ben, thank you for this thread, I am a total newbie to CNC and have been researching many machines for my hobby use, but I'm now at the point that I think what you have just bought and are building is pretty much where I want to go.

    CNC Depot is just down the street from me, but I can't see what they offer as having much value for me at this point.

    I would love to see a full shopping list of items and parts, it's hard for a newbie to figure out exactly what is needed and to research options.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Crozet, VA
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    Subscribed ... really interested to see this build. Thanks for sharing.
    There is a very fine line between ďhobbyĒ and ďmental illness.Ē - Dave Barry

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Seattle, WA
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    Time for my first update. I definitely work at a hobbyist pace, so progress might be slow. Everything* is now in my shop in ~25 different boxes.

    I got a chance to drive out to North Bend on Friday and pickup the Avid parts. For anybodyís future reference, a 4848Pro system just fits in the back of a Tacoma pickup. Avidís got an interesting (in a good way) setup going on but I didnít ask to tour the place. Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend and there werenít a bunch of people working at the time. I was 1 of 2 orders being picked up that day.

    GCnCís boxes arrived on Monday through UPS. UPS didnít treat one of the boxes with the care Iíd hope for, but the dang thing also weighs 75lbs, so Iím not surprised somebody had a hard time moving it around. Thankfully when opened up everything looks good.

    I decided to spend my free time on the weekend working on Ďinfrastructureí projects in preparation for the CNC. Once the machine is in place I bet itíll be hard to get back there so I took some time to rerun a full 6 inch dust collection line, cleaned up some networking and did some drywall repairs (looks matter, right?). I did figure I couldnít end the weekend without doing a tiny bit of assembly, so after putting the kid to bed last night I got one section of the legs assembled.

    Anyways, on to first impressions. The Avid kit is legit. I had only seen them in pictures and my expectations for quality were probably an 8 out of 10. Think fit & finish + Ďheftí of parts. I know this isnít a welded machine thatís going to weigh 2000 lbs. In actuality Iím finding things to be a 9 or 10. The extrusions are milled perfectly (directly from 8020) and the custom milled parts from Avid are great. Definitely impressed with first impressions.

    The GCnC kit - oh my. Itís a tank. The closed loop kit comes with a 40amp contactor for full control of the spindle VFD. As I said, the box weighs ~75lbs and itís going to be a bear to mount. Fit and finish both inside and out looks really good. After talking with Matt Iím going to replace a network cable that UPS didnít treat well, but otherwise itís good to go.

    So, now onto pictures. First Iíve got all the Avid boxes laid out on my assembly table. Forgive the mess - I had already started working on the dust collection which means tearing the shop apart.

    04B879DE-7337-459C-B333-B20A17725084.jpg

    Second Iíve got the main control box from GCnC
    7DD4BD95-2F1A-43F2-A84B-49F17A240D68.jpg

    Third Iíve got the chosen spot in my shop. The space is ~6í6Ē wide and ~10ft long. Hopefully enough space for this machine and maybe some room for expansion.

    455943BA-1879-456A-B6B1-3A193A05D4D9.jpg

    Plan is to get some more assembly done tonight and hopefully get the table in place. Itís really like building legoís for adults.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Congrats on getting your machine (parts) in-house and moving toward your build!

    BTW, you really need to open that battered box right away in case a claim is needed. Take photos of the box before you start slitting it open for good measure. Probably should have checked it while UPS was still there.
    --

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

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Congrats on getting your machine (parts) in-house and moving toward your build!

    BTW, you really need to open that battered box right away in case a claim is needed. Take photos of the box before you start slitting it open for good measure. Probably should have checked it while UPS was still there.
    He said that the inside and out side was finished nice and the Ethernet cable needs to be replaced so I think he already opened the box. Also he will need a shielded ethernet cable not just a jumper cable

  14. #14
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    Interesting....shielded Ethernet cables are a lot less common, but I can see the appeal for this application as they may be running very close to "noisy" cabins to components.
    --

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

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Interesting....shielded Ethernet cables are a lot less common, but I can see the appeal for this application as they may be running very close to "noisy" cabins to components.
    That is what is supplied and spec out for the Acorn controller

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