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  • Opinions on the router CNC Machine

    I have ask this question on other woodworking sites and just wanted everybodys opinion on the CNC machine { For instance Shark } . I have been thinking about this CNC machine for my retirement job - well I'm weighing the pro's and con's . Of course I know I'd have to buy a laptop and a router and the good router bits ......cutting wood is all I'm thinking of on it ..your opinions are very meaningful.............MB
    Usually busier than a cat in a sandbox !!!!!!!!!!! MB { Dewalt 788 only }

  • #2
    Marshall

    I just built a CNC router table. It is still new to me and I am still figuring things out but I can say that I think it will be a very useful tool. I would suggest doing some research though, CNCzone has a lot of information. The laptop is usually not recommended for the router table because of power options. My table uses a full size router so I can use 1/2" shank bits or 1/4" shank bits. Depending on what you want to do with the machine you might want to upgrade the software. If I can answer any other questions just let me know.
    Tim

    In God we trust, all others must pay cash!

    I don't want no bargains, they always cost me more money.

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    • #3
      General International has I nice hobby size one and larger models.

      Tom

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      • #4
        Thanks for the comments , the more that I've found out about this I'm kind a backing off , for I want to retire and enjoy it - not keep working .............MB
        Usually busier than a cat in a sandbox !!!!!!!!!!! MB { Dewalt 788 only }

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        • #5
          Marshall

          I'm sure you would enjoy it once you figure things out, the only real downside of it is there is a pretty big learning curve, its not a tool you can just plug in and use.
          Tim

          In God we trust, all others must pay cash!

          I don't want no bargains, they always cost me more money.

          Comment


          • #6
            I got the CNC bug a few years back and decided to build my own. Actually ended up building a couple. It was a great learning experience, and part of what I learned was that I didn't have the time or patience to learn G-code. Later I did buy a small CNC carving machine called the CarveWright, which is a very simple, user friendly, entry level machine. People do a lot of impressive stuff with them, but they are quite small in terms of capacity (14"width maximum by almost any length). As a hobbyist tool though, that is fairly inexpensive to acquire, I think it is a great first step.

            They have been marketed in various forms for years now, and their on-line user forums are extremely helpful. Due to the number that are around, and the length of time they've been in production, they're usually pretty easy to find used as well. They used to sell them through Sears actually, but I believe the best deal on a new one is likely direct when they run a sale. I paid a little too much for mine 'cuz I bought it through Woodcrafters. I first saw it in their catalog, so I figured I'd give them the business. Plus that way I'd have somebody local to call on if there were any issues. Well that turned out to be too smart by half since walking in the door I already knew more than anyone working there about CNC's, and even though they had several in their catalogs, they had no experience or knowledge regarding any of them.

            The CareWright is rather light duty. It requires some dust collection mods to keep it functioning well long term, and in general I have found it to truly be more of a hobbyist level than most of thye other offerings. Having said that, I did buy one with all of the bells and whistles and have been having great fun with it. Just remember to take good care of it, as it does not tolerate neglect.

            Other than being easy to learn (I honestly do believe anyone can take this thing home and be carving within just a couple of hours), its small size is also something of a bonus. My over-stuffed shop just can't support even a half sheet (4'x4') CNC any longer, so the CarveWright is also great on that count (it's just a bit bigger than a DeWalt 13" planer).. You don't have to know a vector from a raster to start designing cool stuff with their software straight away. The disc drive system that it uses allows you to plug it into any computer, do your design work, save it, and then plug the memory card directly into the machine to run the cutting. There's no need to have a dedicated computer, or to even have one in a dusty electronics killing shop... so two points there as well.

            Other than the easy CNC for Dummies programs that they provide, another cool thing that is somewhat unique about them -particularly at their price point - is their scanning probe attachment. I'm just beginning to get acquainted with mine but essentially it allows you to copy a 3D object into its memory, fiddle with the image if you like, and then run it as a new carving program, all without having to learn any G-code or other special programming commands. C/W is about as close to plug and play as it comes.

            If you desire something bigger, I would suggest building your first if you aren't too sure how much you'll use it. Cheapest way to get into it, and you'll know better than anyone how to fix whatever breaks. I would caution that while the router based machines are great starters, most of the routers that folks use aren't really built for CNC duty (compared to the high frequency spindles that are more commonly employed). The lateral pressures that are exerted on the router, as well as the thrust load when plunging and drilling will wear them out in no time. I had great success with the 3 hp model that Festool first marketed a few years back. It wasn't their machine, but it was a very stout brute, and once they saw a market for that size router they replaced it with one of their own. You may still find one of the older discontinued mocels and they were an absolute steal (close-out priced for around $300 I seem to recall). Much longer lasting than any of the big P.C. and Milwaukee models that we tried.
            Ron Paul

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