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Thread: Choosing a CNC

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by mickr View Post
    I'm using grblShield and grbl, I have 4 motors on my unit. 1 z motor, 1 x motor and 2 y's one goes which go in opposite directions. It uses four DRV8825 stepper drivers.
    I bought the frame kit from ooznest in the UK but didn't use their controller. The electronics / drivers etc I sourced on ebay for a fraction of the cost. I can manually jog in gcodesender, preview the toolpaths, and In grbl (on the arduino) I can set soft limits and I'm almost sure you can set acceleration curves too!
    Attachment 35805
    Ditto.. My X-Carve has 4 steppers (2 Y motors) attached to its gshield.

    All of the settings @mtbehnke couldn't find are controlled by the Grbl firmware and saved in eprom (configured through either raw commands or software). You just send a '$$' command to GRBL and it will spit out all your configuration settings.

    There are quite a few CNC controller options other then gshields.. Smoothieboards, TinyG's, 32bit controllers, controllers with built in 1/32 steppers. At the end of the day all of them are mostly custom Arduino based boards.

    My lowly gshield even supports 3 axis automatic homing using a custom touchplate i built. I think the new version even ships with a Z touch plate.

    You also don't need a full computer to control the CNC. Lots of people just use a Raspberry Pi and remote setup. However, i find it super handy to have a PC in my shop.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Mine is probably beyond a "hobby" CNC. It did come in a kit and it works awesome. The photo below was taken before I installed a scratch board. It's a PRO4848 4'x4' CNC Kit from cncrouterparts. I use Aspire to do 3D design and generate the G code. I use Mach3 to run the machine. Mach3 is running on an older iMac 24" I had lying around so it runs under Windows 7 in bootcamp. The iMac doesn't have a parallel port so its not true that Mach3 requires that type of interface. My setup uses an Ethernet interface. I also have an addon skin for Mach3 that makes the interface look more modern.

    CncRouter.jpg
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Gil,
    That machine is one I've had my eyes on. Which controller do you have on it? Do you have the 23 or 34 motors? Also, your Z axis looks super tall. What's the reason behind that?

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by jchuchla View Post
    Gil,
    That machine is one I've had my eyes on. Which controller do you have on it? Do you have the 23 or 34 motors? Also, your Z axis looks super tall. What's the reason behind that?
    I ended up going with the Nema 34 motors because I thought I might try to cut aluminum and the guy there told me if I took small enough passes that thing would cut steel. I bought the enclosure with controller pre-built. I really struggled with that decision because it costs so much more than building yourself but once you see the nice job they do I felt pretty good about paying extra.To be honest I didn't do much research. I was into building Mame cabinets and a virtual pinball machine and another guy on one of those forums was using this machine so that's where I got the idea. Not sure why teh Z axis is the size it is. I didn't change anything from the kit.

    I will say the Z axis came with a thin metal sheet for a dust cover in the back. I was having repeatability issues in the Z axis and the guys had me remove that plate and then it started working perfect. The issue was they had it designed so that the there was a bend in the plate for it to move across a shaft and for the axis to move it had to move the bend in the metal. It was just too much force and caused it to stick in one direction. I also was having an issue with the machine losing connectivity to the PC. I called again and the guy helped talk me through troubleshooting and it turned out there was a jumper wire missing on the power supply they usually install. I forget what it was for but once I installed a jumper it's never had that problem again. So they've been helpful when I needed it.
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    nice! I was looking at making some signs like that. However getting annoyed that I can't find a endmill/bit long enough to cut 3/4" mdf that is smaller than 1/4". I'm thinking of picking up the 1/8" collate for the router, that looks like it opens up my options a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLost View Post
    Now that this subforum has a new name I thought i'd start a thread on 'hobby' CNC's and some of the options available..

    My recommendation (after a year of ownership) is still the Inventables X-Carve.


    The cost has gone up since i purchased mine (i paid ~$800 shipped on a Black Friday special for a 1000mm kit). Todays price is $1.5k for the V2 (new) X-Carve of the same size (that price is without the waste board). However, you can get the price below $1k for the smaller kit and you use the old controller.

    The X-Carve (IMHO) has the best design, uses less parts, is the easiest to modify, and has the best support & software of any home/hobby CNC ive found.

    You can build it any size you want (want a 500mm x 1800mm? no problem).
    The free design and control software is so easy even my kids can use it.
    Support from Inventables is nothing but Amazing.


    Attachment 35797
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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydenp View Post
    nice! I was looking at making some signs like that. However getting annoyed that I can't find a endmill/bit long enough to cut 3/4" mdf that is smaller than 1/4". I'm thinking of picking up the 1/8" collate for the router, that looks like it opens up my options a little.
    If you have the Dewalt 611 check out Elaire..
    http://elairecorp.com/dewaltroutercollets.html
    model # DWP-1250

    Extemely low runout high precesion collet for $25.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    This is where I got my collets. They are really nice quality.
    http://www.precisebits.com/gateways/ColletsNutsHome.htm
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  8. #28
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Sounds like grblShield and grbl have some pretty solid capabilities, more than what I saw online at first.

    For bigger machines I think having acceleration curves is probably pretty high on the list. I usually cut at around 200-250 inches per minute, although I know some guys run around 400. I've had projects that originally estimated at 4, 8, even 10+ hours of cutting time and have been able to bring those down to an hour or two by speeding up the machine and changing other toolpath settings. I won't let mine run unattended; too many bad things can happen. So speed is key.

    I think my whole Y-axis, which also carries the X- and Z- axis, probably weighs around 180 pounds. If the machine isn't adequately anticipating changes in direction/curves it can overshoot and you'll get bad cuts. In Mach3 you can configure how many line of g-code you want it to 'look ahead' when it's figuring out speeds, I think I have mine set at around 25. I was cutting a small craft project earlier today and there were times it was easily running through 25+ lines of g-code a second.

    And yes, Mach3 is a bit antiquated, but it's also got some really nice features. I have an add-in that lets me use an x-box controller to move the router around, which is really handy when setting the X,Y and Z zero points. The cost of the software was pretty minor compared to what I spent in total, although certainly the controllers were a bit more expensive.

    I'd be glad to answer any more questions on my setup. I'm also curious about James' setup at Boscoyo. I thought I read somewhere that he built his own and he's running production on them.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    James told me he has two of the large pro models from cncrouterparts. I'm pretty sure he said they were fully upgraded with VFD spindles and the bigger drives. While he mostly cuts Coro, he does a lot of volume so speed and repeatability is important for him.
    I like the designs of those machines but the diy guy in me says that they don't need to be nearly that expensive.


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