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Thread: Setting up new workshop: what other tools for CNC-centric hobby shop

  1. #1

    Setting up new workshop: what other tools for CNC-centric hobby shop

    I am setting up a new hobby shop in a 25x30 building and I'd like to learn CNC. I'm wondering what other big stationery tools would best complement a large CNC.

    Typical variety of hobby projects planed including cabinets and furniture. I would like to get a CNC capable of handling 5x5 and 4x8 plywood sheets so I'm looking at building an Avid Pro 5x10 or getting a similar size prebuilt from CAMaster.

    In a past shop I used a 5-in-1 European combination machine. That would be an option again - there should be room for a combo machine, CNC, and bandsaw, while leaving enough room for workbenches and assembly areas.

    I'd really rather do separates, though. I can see a way fit in a large jointer and planer, bandsaw, 5x10 CNC, and maybe a shaper, but the footprint of a sliding table saw just isn't going to work. Is it even worth trying?

    The bandsaw will be a 24" with a good sized table. For hardwoods I can do all of my rough dimensioning on the bandsaw, then accurate dimensioning of thickness and width with the planer.

    Most work with plywood, I would think, would be covered by the CNC. Other simpler sheet good cuts could be done with my Festool track saw.

    What about cross cutting boards? The sliding table saw excels here but again a huge use of space just for cutting long narrow boards. The track saw could be used. SCMS? RAS?

    Many threads I read are about adding a CNC to an already well equipped shop, but what changes would you make if you were starting from scratch with a CNC/bandsaw centric shop?

  2. #2
    I have many customers with all the above in their shops. I guess the question would be, "What do you intend to make with this CNC router?". It seems like most of my router customers invest more in the material handling side of things rather than additional equipment. Trolleys, clamping equipment, doweling machinery, etc.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  3. #3
    One thing to consider with the slider and the CNC is you can likely ditch the jointer. The only jointer left in my shop is sitting collecting dust and will eventually be gone. While its slower, if it fits the work you do, you can do face jointing on the cnc and be doing other stuff while its working and with a slider glue-line rips eliminate the jointer.

    Id be thinking outbound of conventional equipment, sander, construction boring machine, horizontal boring, stuff like that. A good construction boring machine is worth its weight in gold. Clamp rack? Ritter style face frame table? etc.. Castle pocket hole machine?

  4. #4
    For reference, here is a layout of the shop space with a 5x10 Avid CNC, a 24" bandsaw, 20" jointer, 24" planer, a shaper with table extension and sliding table, and a saw with 53" rip capacity and 10' slider (the bandsaw was positioned last second and needs more thought).

    Getting rid of the slider is obviously a huge win on space. I hadn't considered the jointer as disposable but with the slider for straight line rips the jointer is only doing face jointing. Certainly a very large one trick pony.layout.jpg

  5. #5
    It seems you really need to define what it is you want to do. To me a jointer is one of the indispensable machines in the shop because I work with rough lumber. Mark buys his lumber pre-surfaced in quantity for commercial cabinetmaking and millwork, so he doesn't need one. You could flatten material on the cnc but it really only makes sense for large slabs.

    You are trying to fit some large machines into a small space while still having room for benchwork and finishing. You are going to have to compromise. You already know the pluses and minuses of combination machines. Having used some combos I prefer separate machines, but something has to give. I would be hard pressed to do cabinetwork without a tablesaw, and a slider is far better than a cabinet saw for my purposes. In your situation I would be looking at a sliding table saw/shaper and a jointer/planer combo plus a smaller cnc.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    ...You are trying to fit some large machines into a small space while still having room for benchwork and finishing...
    That's what I see as well. Trying to understand the flow of lumber into the shop. There appear to be machines directly in front of both 10' doors. Also, where are the dust collector and compressor? Nesting routers that aren't equipped with automated loading are normally loaded from the front (X axis). There appears to be a machine directly in front of that working area as well. Agree with Kevin: Narrow the focus.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    It seems you really need to define what it is you want to do. To me a jointer is one of the indispensable machines in the shop because I work with rough lumber. Mark buys his lumber pre-surfaced in quantity for commercial cabinetmaking and millwork, so he doesn't need one. You could flatten material on the cnc but it really only makes sense for large slabs.

    You are trying to fit some large machines into a small space while still having room for benchwork and finishing. You are going to have to compromise. You already know the pluses and minuses of combination machines. Having used some combos I prefer separate machines, but something has to give. I would be hard pressed to do cabinetwork without a tablesaw, and a slider is far better than a cabinet saw for my purposes. In your situation I would be looking at a sliding table saw/shaper and a jointer/planer combo plus a smaller cnc.
    A jointer, I think, will have to stay. I am looking at saw/shaper combos and jointer/planer combos as well as full combination machines.

    I do have an oversized 3 car attached garage very close to the shop building that could be used for assembly and non-machining work. It is deep enough that the entire back wall (35'+ length) could have permanent workspace, 1 bay will likely stay empty, and with the other 2 cars out would leave a very large workspace. Just not available for large machinery.

    I am leaning towards the Avid Pro just because building it myself is what I want to do (as opposed to doing it to save money). Dropping it down to 4x8 would help save some space. Reasoning for 5x10 would be ability to process 5x5 sheets, room for an ATC along one side, and room for a rotary access and/or vertical table on one end.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,558
    J/P, Sliding saw and a bandsaw are very complimentary for the work. Saw/Shaper is a very valid option, although there are less choices for that combo vs a dedicated slider. Various sanding devices also are valuable, depending on what kind of work you decide to do. I say J/P because in a relatively small space, you have the ability to process wide solid stock both for flattening and thicknessing. Yes, you can flatten on the CNC, but in my personal experience, other than processing larger slabs, the J/P is more efficient for solid stock prep. The slider nearly alleviates the need for edge jointing, but not flattening and thicknessing.

    I view and use the CNC as "just another tool", even though I favor it highly for producing project components. But there are just some things that are still better performed with saws and the J/P, particularly for furniture projects.
    --

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

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    J/P, Sliding saw and a bandsaw are very complimentary for the work. Saw/Shaper is a very valid option, although there are less choices for that combo vs a dedicated slider. Various sanding devices also are valuable, depending on what kind of work you decide to do. I say J/P because in a relatively small space, you have the ability to process wide solid stock both for flattening and thicknessing. Yes, you can flatten on the CNC, but in my personal experience, other than processing larger slabs, the J/P is more efficient for solid stock prep. The slider nearly alleviates the need for edge jointing, but not flattening and thicknessing.

    I view and use the CNC as "just another tool", even though I favor it highly for producing project components. But there are just some things that are still better performed with saws and the J/P, particularly for furniture projects.
    Jim,

    How does the shaper fit in to your workflow? I'm wondering if that is the piece I need to lose (unless part of the saw), or if it needs to be more compact (separate machine but lose the side extensions).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Posts
    728
    Unless I overlooked it, no one has mentioned dust collection. That would be my first priority with a CNC. With all othr tools also. You only have one set of lungs and dust can and will eventually kill your lungs.
    My Dad always told me "Can't Never Could".

    SWE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eure View Post
    Unless I overlooked it, no one has mentioned dust collection. That would be my first priority with a CNC. With all othr tools also. You only have one set of lungs and dust can and will eventually kill your lungs.
    I didn't mention it, but dust collector and air compressor can go in a yet-to-be-built lean-to along the back wall.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    60,558
    Yes, DC is necessary and preferably one that can deal well with the nature of different kinds of machines including CNC. Good that it's now been mentioned.
    --

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

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason McCray View Post
    For reference, here is a layout of the shop space with a 5x10 Avid CNC, a 24" bandsaw, 20" jointer, 24" planer, a shaper with table extension and sliding table, and a saw with 53" rip capacity and 10' slider (the bandsaw was positioned last second and needs more thought).

    Getting rid of the slider is obviously a huge win on space. I hadn't considered the jointer as disposable but with the slider for straight line rips the jointer is only doing face jointing. Certainly a very large one trick pony.layout.jpg
    I'm in a similar sized space and just kind of went through what your talking about. I agree with the other comments about combo's, its also what I did. a J/P combo and a saw/shaper combo, however, in hindsight, if I really wanted to space, the 5-n-1 combo would have been better. If your CNC centric, what is the impetus for the 20" jointer and 25" planer? I looked at a 20" J/P combo but just couldn't find the use case 95% of the time, and you have a CNC for the other 5%. I also just purchased a CNC, but decided the largest I could fit was a 4x4 (which is really 8x8 of floor space). You may not want to be going from shop to garage to assemble and cut, especially if it's cold/hot outside. If it were me, and its not , I would take Erik's suggestion and narrow focus and try to make a fully functional shop with a good flow, even if that means downsizing something.
    Last edited by derek labian; 12-21-2021 at 1:51 PM.

  14. #14
    Depending on your cnc details you likely will need access to both long sides for maintenance. You probably can snug one short end against the wall though.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 12-21-2021 at 3:30 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    black river falls wisconsin
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    893
    get 5 x 8 cnc. will save shop space.

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