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Thread: I need some CNC selection recommendations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    I need some CNC selection recommendations

    I haven't visited "The Creek" in a very long time. This group was so extremely helpful when I purchased my laser several years ago. I need your help again trying to work thru the selection for a CNC machine. Some of the machine descriptions give information, but it's hard to derive if they will do what I need from an CNC machine.

    I want to cut 1/16" (.063) aluminum sheet into small tags for sublimation out of sublimation coated aluminum sheet. The pieces will range from 1" x 3" to 2-1/2" x 4". I would like a bed with a minimum capacity of 12" x 12". I would like to use a small diameter cutter (.125" or so) to reduce scrap and be able to cut the .063" material in one pass, if possible. I want a machine that will work with a Windows 10/11 PC via USB connection. Provided software or compatibility with some standard like CorelDraw is a must.

    This forum helped me choose and operate my Trotec Speedy 100 years ago (still going strong today) and I appreciate your help on this project.
    Trotec Speedy 100 30W
    Corel X5
    EngraveLab 9
    Sublimation
    DataCard SP75+
    Duct Tape
    WD40

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
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    Randy, looks like no responses here. I too have not visited here very often.

    I suggest you look at the Onefinity Machinist model.

    Consider equipping it with a spindle vs. a router. Get a HY spindle and VFD with sensorless vector control (SVC). A good VFD will allow you more turndown for metal. If your budget will stand it, look at Mechatron spindles and Hitachi VFDs. The Mechatrons are top shelf German made spindles and are some of the best out there. They make a 2.2 kw water cooled spindle with ER20 collets. Couple that with a WJ200 Hitachi with SVC and you will have turndown that will allow you to cut nonferrous metals with ease.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    I honestly didn't see this thread previously.

    The conundrum I have with making a recommendation here is that you need a machine that has the precision to deal with cutting non-ferrous metal, but at a relatively small size. The size you mention is typically the purview of very inexpensive hobby machines that are not likely going to make you happy, especially for professional work. So if your budget permits, go beefier. Something like Alan describes is an option as is AVID if you are fine with "some assembly required". If you want more turnkey, you're into something like a Camaster SR23, the equivalent from ShopSabre, etc. And yes, go spindle. You'll want/need the control that comes with that as well as the ER collet system that does a much better job with small tooling for your intended application.
    --

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

  4. #4
    Talk to Gary Campbell. He is in the business of building small, precise machines and if nothing else could give you some guidance.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
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    Most of the machines sold today work with programs like Fusion 360 or V-carve (there are others). If your tags will have rounded corners be aware that some of the less expensive machines don't do corners perfectly. It doesn't show up on wood but it can show up on aluminum. I assume, but can't confirm, that the issue is that the controller moves one axis at a time. The movements are very fine so it's hardly noticeable so it might not matter to you. Do you have a budget or a time frame that you need this machine by? I really like my Onefinity but it took months to get.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Digby View Post
    I haven't visited "The Creek" in a very long time. This group was so extremely helpful when I purchased my laser several years ago. I need your help again trying to work thru the selection for a CNC machine. Some of the machine descriptions give information, but it's hard to derive if they will do what I need from an CNC machine.

    I want to cut 1/16" (.063) aluminum sheet into small tags for sublimation out of sublimation coated aluminum sheet. The pieces will range from 1" x 3" to 2-1/2" x 4". I would like a bed with a minimum capacity of 12" x 12". I would like to use a small diameter cutter (.125" or so) to reduce scrap and be able to cut the .063" material in one pass, if possible. I want a machine that will work with a Windows 10/11 PC via USB connection. Provided software or compatibility with some standard like CorelDraw is a must.

    This forum helped me choose and operate my Trotec Speedy 100 years ago (still going strong today) and I appreciate your help on this project.
    Randy - I don't think you have mentioned it - but what is your total budget for this cnc machine? I have two of the Avid CNC machines, and they both communicate with pc via ethernet connection. One of them in particular is intended to machine aluminum and other non-ferrous materials. I bought the Avid Pro 4824, installed a 4HP water cooled ATC spindle, and converted from Mach4 to Centroid Acorn for the control. This little machine works great, and I am currently working on finishing up the enclosure. I plan to use a mist coolant system.

    I think Avid now offers some choices for spindles, and you would not necessarily need the ATC (automatic tool change) feature. I like it because it eliminates the necessity of setting the tool height every time a new cutter is installed. But setting the cutter height (zeroing it to the work surface) is no big deal and takes only a minute or so to do using the Avid touch plate.

    David

    avid cnc.jpg

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/2Lx75qFoGK2vQPVc7

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Marquette, MI USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    Talk to Gary Campbell. He is in the business of building small, precise machines and if nothing else could give you some guidance.
    If the OP were to have contacted me, and he didn't, I would have suggested that due to the size of the parts and especially because of the difficulties in holding parts that size, to have them cut on a laser.
    Gary Campbell
    CNC Replacement & Upgrade Controllers
    FabMaster ATC-40 Bridgemill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Iowa USA
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    Ditto to what Gary said. I was going to suggest looking at a place online where I have purchased precut tags before. They make standard sizes and if color if you want. For a large enough order I am sure they will make custom sizes.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  9. #9
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    I would agree that if this is a one-time need to cut some tags, then farm them out to a cnc laser shop. But if you want to have some fun and this will be on going, then it's really not all that difficult to create some holding fixtures to machine small parts.
    David

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