Jump to content
4DThinker

2nd CNC purchased for dedicated use?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I've heard all sorts of wise advice for those considering getting a CNC.  "Buy your second CNC first!" for example. 

I benefit from already owning 2 CNCs, but am honestly considering buying another one.  Not a larger one.  I looked back at the kind of cuts I do most of the time.  Most (90%) were joinery cuts that only took up a small area of my Probitix Meteor (26" x 50" cutting area).  Any project might consist of flat cuts needing my CNC bed configured one way, and vertical cuts needing it set up another way. 

 

Probotix also sells smaller CNCs, down to their V90 MK2 (20" x 13" cutting area) selling for $2999.  For my needs though I can get that price down to under $2000. I don't need their MDF spoil board.   I don't need the cheap mouse and keyboard and monitor they normally include. We have a spare unity controller that just needs a fuse replacement, so I don't need a new one of those. I don't need their router mount as I have a spare left over when I updated my meteor to use a different (larger) router. 

 

I would set this little CNC up on my usual simple base frame, except a little taller than normal.  I'd make a version of my adjustable angle clamping jig that would fill the entire cutting area when horizontal, but rotate down to perfectly vertical when needed to hold boards vertically for tenons or related joinery. I have spare monitors, keyboards, and mice I can use.

 

This smaller CNC will take up less than 1/3 the floor space of my Meteor.  The smaller design actually has a higher maximum feed speed limit (300ipm vs 200ipm of their larger CNCs).  With one CNC always handling the vertical/angled joinery cuts, my older Meteor can be left configured for flat cuts. 

 

4D  

Edited by 4DThinker (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not having seen one, 4D, I have to ask - does the smaller machine have the same rigidity and accuracy as your larger machine or will you be giving up something to which you may be accustomed?  How about speed - can it be close to the larger machine?

 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, difalkner said:

Does the smaller machine have the same rigidity and accuracy as your larger machine or will you be giving up something to which you may be accustomed?  How about speed - can it be close to the larger machine?

 

David

The V90 MK2 is made from the same components as their larger machines.  The shorter gantry beam and side rails would actually make it stiffer than the large machines.   The specs show that the max feed speed on this small CNC is 300ipm and all their large CNCs are limited to 200ipm.  The MK2 has less room to accelerate in,  so that 300ipm may never be reached except when jogging.   

 

I can see the potential of cutting some aluminum on the small machine that I wouldn't attempt to do on my Meteor.  I have an interest in making replacement parts for the Z axis assembly which would make it stronger and less in the way of clamps and such when down. 

 

4D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see the justification for you buying a dedicated CNC just for vertical and angled cuts and I think that the smaller footprint will give you a tighter CNC to machine the critical joinery that you plan on using it for.  Dovetailed drawers and your own decoratively designed joints are just around the corner.

 

As you also say this might help you cut a few pieces of aluminum that were out question on the larger machines.  I know I have done a little aluminum on my Shark HD1 and it can be a nightmare but my Piranha is small and tight so it does a lot better job cutting aluminum parts

Edited by MEBCWD (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a Shark HD1 (maybe its an HD2) in the college shop and there is so much play in the router mount that I've demoted it to only cutting 3D parts where there is little material removed on each pass.  This is after replacing the warping plastic gantry back plate with their aluminum upgrade, and making a better router clamp from plywood after the plastic one failed. 

 

The larger Probotix CNCs are limited to 200ips to keep the threaded X and Y feed rods from whipping. Short rods on the MK2 won't whip at 300ipm.   The Nebula and Asteroid use a longer gantry beam that is prone to twisting flex with a heavy router hanging off it and doing aggressive cuts.  I notice on their facebook page a prototype 50" x 50" CNC with a beefier 60mm x 60mm gantry beam.  No doubt to help minimize the potential flex. 

Edited by 4DThinker (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the gantry arm are straight up and down on the Shark it is an HD1, if they are slanted to the back then it is a HD2 or later model.  I bought my HD! used and I replaced that deeply carved gantry plate with the upgrade aluminum plate and replace the cheap plastic router clamp with an 1.25" think aluminum upgrade.  I also added adjustable bearings because the HD1 did not have adjustable bearings and had too much slop in it.  I also did a whole lot of other modifications to it and looking back now I should have been buying another CNC that was sturdier and got away for the Sharks entirely.  

 

That's where I'm at right now, still looking over different choices and options and deciding if I can really justify the cost of another CNC right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an HD1 then.  A free donation from Nextwave Automation after I met the owner and his wife at a trade show (in Rockler's booth) and showed them what I was doing for my students with my original Shark Pro. 

 

There are far more options/choices out there now than 5 years ago. More this year than last.  Many companies started in a garage using parts ordered from various sources online and are now in warehouse facilities shipping kits or assembled CNCs all over the world.  Controller options. Stepper options. Software options.   Web apps have appeared to run  CNCs from. 

 

I can see the vast difference between what our industrial Multicam CNC can do and these small hobby CNCs can do.    I can also see how the simple nature of an extrusion framed CNC inspires custom configuring to do things you just can't do with that industrial behemoth. 

 

4D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The companies making CNC s now are getting more competitive and the quality of some of the machines have gotten quite a bit better than what was available just a couple of years ago.  I'm liking what I am seeing right now with that trend and hopefully all the companies will listen to their customers and build quality affordable machines.

 

You are right about custom configurations to be able to get as much out of these smaller CNC machines.  

 

I think the only limits most hobby machine owners face is how far will there imagination take them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


About us

We are a woodworking community with an emphasis on sharing and learning the skilled craft of woodworking and all of its related disciplines. Our community is open to everyone who wishes to join us. We support our veterans and active duty both here in the United States and in Canada, being a veteran is not a prerequisite to join. So please, join us! Please click on Join The Patriot Woodworker's.

 

We support MWTCA, preserving tools and implements from the past.

M-WTCA Logo.gif

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

Visit us on Facebook

×