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Recommendations for a CNC Newbie?

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by xamado, May 6, 2019.

  1. xamado

    xamado New
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    Hey all, I'm trying to dive into the CNC world, to build a pet project idea I have. I've been doing some research for a few days, but I don't seem to be getting closer to a plan, so many choices! So I have some questions that might help me steer in the right direction.

    1) Lead or Workbee. What should I know? Recommendations?

    2) I think I want a spindle, I read that routers are simply not made for this type of work, and end having bearings problems after a few months. Any recommendations on spindles on either the workbee or the lead?

    3) I'm thinking that 1000x1000 might be a bit too big, sure it sounds cool to have it, but I don't imagine using the full size very often, and would rather save some space. An 75x75 or 50x50 would sound better, but I don't see such options in the parts store. Has anyone built a 50x50 Workbee? I'm assuming everything would be the same, except for the shorter CBeams, any tips on buying the parts? Or should I just get the 1010 and cut them?

    4) Lasers! What about lasers? Do lasers work/fit with the workbee clamps? What's needed to adapt them if not? Ideally I want a laser that could cut thin acrylic (3 to 5mm). I've seen some videos where they were able to achieve that with a 2.5W laser, maybe a 5W would be a safer bet. What are my options?

    Anyway, I'm sure I have more questions, but I don't want to bore you. That sounds like a good start!! Any help will be very appreciated :)

    Cheers!
     
  2. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    You've told use everything but what you intend to use it for which is actually the most important factor.
     
  3. xamado

    xamado New
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    Good point! The immediate use will be for milling some 5mm and 3mm acrylic panels for home-made control modules (biggest is 300mm in width I think). Although I would like to have the option to use it for other things in the future, milling aluminum or wood.
     
  4. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master
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    To answer a couple of your points (I have a 1000*1000 workbee by Ooznest in the UK) I can't do a direct comparison but see a lot of similarities between the lead and the workbee. Openbuilds do a 1000*500 workbee. I, and many others, use routers successfully, people who have switched to spindles claim a big improvement - more controlability and less noise. Some say that for work in plastic belt drive gives higher feed rates = better chip production, less risk of overheating plastic. Screw drive gives (very slightly) greater accuracy, but how well your machine is put together and calibrated will have more effect.
    I have no experience of using lasers but I think you are talking about a powerful laser to cut 5mm - I'm sure it would be quicker to mill it (and no less accurate).
    Welcome to the forum - as you can see you will get lots of advice - some of it contradictory because different approaches work for some people. You'll have to sift through it and choose what you think will work for you.
    Alex.;):)
     
  5. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Based on what you are seeking, I would suggest the OpenBuilds Sphinx 55 (20" x 20"). It's small, low, and fairly stiff such that if you want to move on to aluminum cutting in the future you will be in a good position to do so. As for cutting, yes a spindle would probably be better than a router as you can slow a spindle speed down more than can be done with a typical router. This is critical when cutting acrylic as high tool speeds tend to melt the acrylic rather than cutting it.
     
  6. xamado

    xamado New
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    I'm sure there are tons of options that would work as you say, I just need some advice since the amount of options is becoming overwhelming :)

    Maybe cutting acrylic is a long shot, I saw some videos of people doing it but toying a lot with the settings to go with a slow mm/sec speed and many many passes. The main use I want the laser for (I should had clarified that) is for engraving. Once I mill my panels, I want to paint them with a couple of paint coats, and then use the laser to engrave the letters into them.
     
  7. xamado

    xamado New
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    I saw the Sphinx too, but looking at the parts bundle in here, seems it doesn't use the new blackbox controller, so I'm guessing it's a bit dated, and ignored it for that reason. Correct me if I'm wrong of course :)

    Do I need something special to pay attention to for attaching a spindle with either of these machines? Does it need a different type of mount on the zaxis?

    Thanks!
     
  8. xamado

    xamado New
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    What type of power should I be looking for when browsing for a spindle if I want to be able to mill aluminum? What about just acrylic?
     
  9. Wallied

    Wallied New
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    Not really a factor with the hobby stuff used here. I've heard of people successfully using a 400 watter for aluminium for what it's worth.

    BUT since I'm willing to bet you're going for a chinese spindle, I can give you a few hints.
    -Stay away from the small (300-500W) ones, as they're not actually spindles, but DC motors with a toolholder attached to the shaft, leading to common problems with runout.
    -Air vs Water. Water cooled ones can be run a little slower if need be (about 8000 rpm on water vs 10 000 or so on air). But water cooled ones require additional hardware.
    -Tooling. The ER system tells you the range of sizes usable for your bits. If you absolutely want to use 1/2" bits, you'll need at least an ER25 one, and they tend to be powerful and heavy.
    -Weight. Perhaps most importantly, the stronger your spindle, the heavier it is, thus flexing your gantry and causing inaccuracies.

    As the usual suggestion I'd recommend getting a 0,8kW air-cooled ER11 spindle, which can take bits up to 5/16 in shank diameter, which is usually enough for most people.

    And remember, you can use single flute end mills to increase your chip load on plastics, as the more flutes your tool has, the faster your feed needs to be.
     
    GrayUK and Alex Chambers like this.
  10. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    The Sphinx design is not at all dated. It is a very viable system. The reason the BlackBox is not shown as part of the design is that the BlackBox is a relatively new addition to the OpenBuilds ecosystem. The BlackBox actually newer than every system shown in the part store.
     

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