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View Full Version : Which CNC system to save for?



Sienna
06-21-2008, 10:45 PM
Ok, I have to ask. :P

I think its readily apparent to me that I need a CNC system in the house. I know a lot of you have them.

So, I want to ask, if I was going to save up for a CNC mill, which one should I be saving up for, and how much is it going to run?

(and if you recomend something like a Sherline, can you please clarify whose package for the steppers/servos and controllers you are recomending?)

Also, (maybe in a new thread?) which CAM software should I be looking at? (The part that turns models into G-Code.)

Thanks!

Droid Works
06-22-2008, 01:22 AM
This is the one most of us use, great machine and great price.

http://www.sherlinedirect.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=185

Adrenalynn
06-22-2008, 11:11 AM
Do they offer a ready-to-mill machine that doesn't include a POS computer and pre-installed open-source software?

If I wanted to assemble my own from parts, I'd assemble my own from parts. I need another garage-bound POS computer like I need another hole in my head. So I'm kinda hoping that they have a package just like the one you linked to, sans computer, and I'm just missing it. Thoughts?

asbrandsson
06-22-2008, 05:10 PM
Hello,

I bought a Denford mill set up, which is a sherline set up with their own controller and a cabnit to put it all in.

I am looking to get a fourth axis for it so that I can 3D parts. Other then that I think that they are all pretty much the same and pretty handy if you want to keep the designs that you are working on for yourself, and the time for proto-typing is cut way down.

Asbrandsson

Droid Works
06-22-2008, 05:51 PM
Do they offer a ready-to-mill machine that doesn't include a POS computer and pre-installed open-source software?

If I wanted to assemble my own from parts, I'd assemble my own from parts. I need another garage-bound POS computer like I need another hole in my head. So I'm kinda hoping that they have a package just like the one you linked to, sans computer, and I'm just missing it. Thoughts?

You don't have to use their computer. You can use your own but it has to have a parallel port.

Adrenalynn
06-22-2008, 05:57 PM
Nod. I'm wondering for cost-savings if you can get the package sans computer & open-source software?

lnxfergy
06-22-2008, 06:35 PM
Nod. I'm wondering for cost-savings if you can get the package sans computer & open-source software?

Right here: http://www.sherlinedirect.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=203

And add this: http://www.sherlinedirect.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=224

(I think...)

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
06-22-2008, 08:28 PM
Perfect, thanks!

You save about $700 by having them hang on to their $250 computer.

Sienna
06-23-2008, 05:57 PM
Does anyone have any experience with stepper drivers that work over USB, and that have support for 64bit Vista?

DresnerRobotics
06-23-2008, 06:33 PM
and that have support for 64bit Vista?

What did your CNC ever do to you? :(

Sienna
06-23-2008, 06:51 PM
At the moment it is my primary operating system, since it can run my CAD software (which is AutoCAD Inventor LT).

It would be a pain in the butt to say the least to have to reboot my computer every time I want to mill something.

(I could investigate building/buying a cheap computer just for the mill, but I honestly HATE getting Linux tweaked to work right at home. I want an appliance at home, I have enough computer stuff at work to drive me crazy.)

JonHylands
06-23-2008, 10:03 PM
I took one of my old laptops (a 1.0 GHz P3) and reformatted, installed Windows XP, and run Mach3 on it. I don't use that machine for anything else. I wouldn't advise running a CNC package on a "daily-use" machine, if you're using one of the parallel port controllers. They are all timing based, and having lots of crap running in the background does not make for a stable timing platform for doing CNC.

I bought one of the CNC-ready Sherlines, and got a 3-axis controller (with the steppers) from Xylotex (http://www.xylotex.com/). I used the free version of Mach 3, but eventually bought it.


Later,
Jon

Adrenalynn
06-23-2008, 11:36 PM
Tyb': ROFL!

Jon: Sounds like sound advice. I'd personally consider the CNC machine to be an "appliance". Runs one thing and one thing only. Maybe a DVD boot distro?

JonHylands
06-24-2008, 07:33 AM
I'd personally consider the CNC machine to be an "appliance". Runs one thing and one thing only. Maybe a DVD boot distro?

Well, if you wanted to run Linux, I suppose. I wanted to run XP, and given how stable it is (especially when it isn't connected to a network), I haven't had to touch it.

I forgot about one of Sienna's original questions - unless you're planning on spending a lot of money, forget anything that does the g-code automatically for you.

Unless you're spending thousands on software, you really need to have an understanding of how to machine things to use a small CNC machine. Because you'll have to write/tweak a lot of g-code by hand, you have to understand things like feed speed, and how much of each kind of material you can take off with a single pass, and stuff like that.

- Jon