CNC milling questions

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tibberous
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CNC milling questions

Post by tibberous » Sun May 20, 2012 11:29 pm

Sorry if this is a OT - I probably should find a milling / machinist forum, but thought you guys might know something about this.

Basically, I want a CNC milling machine. Originally I thought they were like big engravers, but the more I look at them, it seems like they can do a ton of stuff -- everything from cutting threads to controlling lasers.

Guess I'm just a little overwhelmed because I want to buy one to learn it, but I want to make sure I buy a good one. I also want to make sure I don't overpay - I can't speak for CNC machines, but I know my boss bought an engraving laser at a trade show for $20,000 and that same laser now goes for $3,000.

And, since you can change / upgrade the tool, the biggest thing seems to be the table itself. Plus, some of them come with dust collection systems (http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-26x8-5-CNCwoo ... 1e6c1a03a9 ) Not sure if you can add those later on or not.

Here is a german one that looks good: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3D-CNC-ROUTER-M ... 563ee5c246

But stat wise it's way worse than the Chinese machine (2'x3'x4" vs 4'x8'x6")

Guess my questions are:

- What machine would you recommend? (for under 10k)
- Are the attachments universal?
- Does this basically do everything you could normally do with a vertical milling machine?

This looks really cool, but I don't see them using it for anything but wood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... km30enqUQw
Last edited by tibberous on Mon May 21, 2012 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ghostdog662
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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by ghostdog662 » Sun May 20, 2012 11:58 pm

A manual lathe is expensive enough and you want to learn on cnc? I think you need to re-think this.
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Bendersquint
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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by Bendersquint » Mon May 21, 2012 12:11 am

I will mirror everything that GhostDog said and add...

If you are asking those questions you are NOT ready to be considering buying one of those setups.

To answer your questions......no all the attachments are not universal, they don't do everything a VMC can do and I wouldn't recommend any machines under 10K.

The links you also provided on ebay are CNC routers, they aren't even CNC mills, you won't be creating baffles or threading tubes with those.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by tibberous » Mon May 21, 2012 1:26 am

Bendersquint wrote:I will mirror everything that GhostDog said and add...

If you are asking those questions you are NOT ready to be considering buying one of those setups.

To answer your questions......no all the attachments are not universal, they don't do everything a VMC can do and I wouldn't recommend any machines under 10K.

The links you also provided on ebay are CNC routers, they aren't even CNC mills, you won't be creating baffles or threading tubes with those.
Here is the video of the German machine threading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qZFxWz ... r_embedded

But what I'm trying to do is get a manual lathe for ~$3,000, then get a CNC engraver. Then I can use the lathe to make silencers, and the CNC machine for more general use.

Could you explain the exact difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill? Is it just that the mill moves the table?

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by Capt. Link. » Mon May 21, 2012 5:15 am

tibberous wrote:
Bendersquint wrote:I will mirror everything that GhostDog said and add...

If you are asking those questions you are NOT ready to be considering buying one of those setups.

To answer your questions......no all the attachments are not universal, they don't do everything a VMC can do and I wouldn't recommend any machines under 10K.

The links you also provided on ebay are CNC routers, they aren't even CNC mills, you won't be creating baffles or threading tubes with those.
Here is the video of the German machine threading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qZFxWz ... r_embedded

But what I'm trying to do is get a manual lathe for ~$3,000, then get a CNC engraver. Then I can use the lathe to make silencers, and the CNC machine for more general use.

Could you explain the exact difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill? Is it just that the mill moves the table?
You are mixing machine types.The German video cutting threads is a full blown 100.000$ cnc machine that will cut threads or make that critical part for your Saturn 5 you bought surplus.The other machines you can make the wooden planks announcing the launch date.A router is only for wood it cannot cut metal.
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wolf
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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by wolf » Mon May 21, 2012 7:42 am

Capt. Link. wrote:
tibberous wrote:
Bendersquint wrote:I will mirror everything that GhostDog said and add...

If you are asking those questions you are NOT ready to be considering buying one of those setups.

To answer your questions......no all the attachments are not universal, they don't do everything a VMC can do and I wouldn't recommend any machines under 10K.

The links you also provided on ebay are CNC routers, they aren't even CNC mills, you won't be creating baffles or threading tubes with those.
Here is the video of the German machine threading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qZFxWz ... r_embedded

But what I'm trying to do is get a manual lathe for ~$3,000, then get a CNC engraver. Then I can use the lathe to make silencers, and the CNC machine for more general use.

Could you explain the exact difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill? Is it just that the mill moves the table?
You are mixing machine types.The German video cutting threads is a full blown 100.000$ cnc machine that will cut threads or make that critical part for your Saturn 5 you bought surplus.The other machines you can make the wooden planks announcing the launch date.A router is only for wood it cannot cut metal.

No its not

the router in the video is this one

http://www.cnc-step.com/englisch/html/p ... engrav.HTM

price is 2237 euros

but needs a moter and proberly a (old) pc as controller etc

,, but its not a ``real ``milling machine ,,its still ``only`` a router

its not ridgid enough in the long run

and chips WILL find there ways into the ways and OPEN ball leadscrews


to the OP

you dont need a machine ,,you need knowledge

and you need lots of it

i am not trying to be rude ,, once you find out what you did just ask about ,, 8) you will laugh at your self

drawing things in auto cad or solid or what ever ,IS NOT the same as being able to make it

if you dont have understanding of the machining , you will not be able to tell yourself what just went wrong ,,,and things WILL go wrong

try to hang out on some hobby machinist forums

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by dave22 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:02 pm

Save your money and get a used Haas mini mill. Sharp also makes a nice mini mill the 2412 but it's a fanuc control, the Haas is much easier to learn.

The one you posted is a piece of crap stepper controlled hobby machine. Don't throw your money away.

A decent used mini mill will run 25-30 k and do anything you want with reasonable accuracy.

Save yourself about 10k for tooling / tool holders and another 3-10 k for the software to drive it all.

Air compressor, don't need three phase power for a mini mill which saves you a few thou...coolant...tools lot of expenses to consider if you want to do it right.

They are not that hard to learn how to run. You can make lathe parts on a mill, can't make mill parts on a lathe unless you get a multi axis lathe, you will be in over your head with that, guarantee. Get a mill first.


http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 00/Specs/1

http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 96/Specs/1

http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 13/Specs/1


check out those puppies....that is what you want.
Last edited by dave22 on Mon May 21, 2012 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by bakerjw » Mon May 21, 2012 12:40 pm

Hey! That's getting close to machine tool porn.
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the1mavin
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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by the1mavin » Mon May 21, 2012 8:06 pm

Check out this site and READ a lot! - http://www.cnczone.com/

Start with some of the "benchtop" forums for mills and lathes. Those guys will tolerate us rookies more when we ask stupid questions.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by tibberous » Tue May 22, 2012 2:22 am

dave22 wrote:Save your money and get a used Haas mini mill. Sharp also makes a nice mini mill the 2412 but it's a fanuc control, the Haas is much easier to learn.

The one you posted is a piece of crap stepper controlled hobby machine. Don't throw your money away.

A decent used mini mill will run 25-30 k and do anything you want with reasonable accuracy.

Save yourself about 10k for tooling / tool holders and another 3-10 k for the software to drive it all.

Air compressor, don't need three phase power for a mini mill which saves you a few thou...coolant...tools lot of expenses to consider if you want to do it right.

They are not that hard to learn how to run. You can make lathe parts on a mill, can't make mill parts on a lathe unless you get a multi axis lathe, you will be in over your head with that, guarantee. Get a mill first.


http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 00/Specs/1

http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 96/Specs/1

http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 13/Specs/1


check out those puppies....that is what you want.
I might as well just spend 600k and buy a fabrication company that's going under :P

Basically, I want to be able to:

- Make stamps / dies
- Make embossed text in wood / metal
- Make signs
- Engrave stuff

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think you need a $25,000 machine to do that?

You guys didn't like the laguna one either? Think it would work with metal?

Guess it just comes down to me really not having more than about 5-7k to spend, not looking to be a full-time machinist, and probably not going to make back any money I spend, unless I can find someone to buy signs / engraved stuff.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by Bendersquint » Tue May 22, 2012 2:44 am

tibberous wrote:
I might as well just spend 600k and buy a fabrication company that's going under :P

Basically, I want to be able to:

- Make stamps / dies
- Make embossed text in wood / metal
- Make signs
- Engrave stuff

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think you need a $25,000 machine to do that?

You guys didn't like the laguna one either? Think it would work with metal?

Guess it just comes down to me really not having more than about 5-7k to spend, not looking to be a full-time machinist, and probably not going to make back any money I spend, unless I can find someone to buy signs / engraved stuff.
Our CNC engraver/router can do all those things you want to do and it ran around 20K out the door, but that included the controller as well.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by tibberous » Tue May 22, 2012 3:22 am

Bendersquint wrote:
tibberous wrote:
I might as well just spend 600k and buy a fabrication company that's going under :P

Basically, I want to be able to:

- Make stamps / dies
- Make embossed text in wood / metal
- Make signs
- Engrave stuff

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think you need a $25,000 machine to do that?

You guys didn't like the laguna one either? Think it would work with metal?

Guess it just comes down to me really not having more than about 5-7k to spend, not looking to be a full-time machinist, and probably not going to make back any money I spend, unless I can find someone to buy signs / engraved stuff.
Our CNC engraver/router can do all those things you want to do and it ran around 20K out the door, but that included the controller as well.
Well yeah, I'm sure you can spend MORE -- I'm trying to spend less. I wish they had a store where you could go and actually look at the stuff you see on eBay before you bought it.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by Capt. Link. » Tue May 22, 2012 9:41 am

I think sears makes a cnc programmable router just forget about metal.You can save your money and hire a pro for that or find a shop going out of business and buy a good cnc mill.No matter how much you spend a router will not replace a milling machine there is no free lunch!
The only reason after 243 years the government now wants to disarm you is they intend to do something you would shoot them for!

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by dave22 » Tue May 22, 2012 10:24 am

tibberous wrote:
dave22 wrote:Save your money and get a used Haas mini mill. Sharp also makes a nice mini mill the 2412 but it's a fanuc control, the Haas is much easier to learn.

The one you posted is a piece of crap stepper controlled hobby machine. Don't throw your money away.

A decent used mini mill will run 25-30 k and do anything you want with reasonable accuracy.

Save yourself about 10k for tooling / tool holders and another 3-10 k for the software to drive it all.

Air compressor, don't need three phase power for a mini mill which saves you a few thou...coolant...tools lot of expenses to consider if you want to do it right.

They are not that hard to learn how to run. You can make lathe parts on a mill, can't make mill parts on a lathe unless you get a multi axis lathe, you will be in over your head with that, guarantee. Get a mill first.


http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 00/Specs/1

http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 96/Specs/1

http://www.kdcapital.com/Products/Produ ... 13/Specs/1


check out those puppies....that is what you want.
I might as well just spend 600k and buy a fabrication company that's going under :P

Basically, I want to be able to:

- Make stamps / dies
- Make embossed text in wood / metal
- Make signs
- Engrave stuff

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think you need a $25,000 machine to do that?

You guys didn't like the laguna one either? Think it would work with metal?

Guess it just comes down to me really not having more than about 5-7k to spend, not looking to be a full-time machinist, and probably not going to make back any money I spend, unless I can find someone to buy signs / engraved stuff.
You have basically asked how you can get something for nothing. It won't happen. No way that machine will cut a die worth a damn. Need lots of spindle speed and accuracy to cut a die, which is typically hardened steel.

I've made them, I've been down that whole road and back it's a huge waste of money. Like buying a lawn mower engine powered go cart for your 50 mile daily commute. I would not even consider the Tormach machines which are also stepper controlled.

If the goal involves learning only be aware you will be learning a non industry standard control.
If you are committed to your path I'd say build your own that way you can fix it yourself and really know how they work.

Cnc zone has lots of self build threads, some amazing for a home build...some complete crap.

The amazing ones were just as expensive as a used VMC however in the end. Which is why I'd say if you are serious (and flexible in your path) just get a used industrial machine.

Btw unless all you are doing is engraving key chains yes you do need a 25 k machine to do that stuff. But if you are patient you may be able to find a used one cheaper. The used market goes up and down....right now it's up. 5 years ago it was in the toilet.

Also....look at Fadal. Decent machines they are out of business but there is still copious support from on line dealers, all parts are still available and will be for the foreseeable future.

Those prices took a hit when they discontinued production.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by joemac » Tue May 22, 2012 3:18 pm

I would like to comment on the Tormach CNC's. Our company purchase the Tormach 1100 for one off prototyping and it has been a pretty good machine. No, it doesn't hold the tolerances that a Haas will but if you take you time, with the right tools, and steady fixtures, you can get decent accuracy. I would say that +/-0.002 or better is what i've seen. I actually machined the prototype parts for this brake adapter kit on the Tormach out of 7075-T6 and the test driver bolted them right up to his car and drove with them.

http://www.G35Parts.com/IOS-Akibono-Cal ... et-kit.htm

The parts in the pic were NOT made on a Tormach, just the prototypes. I am planning on making my first can with our Tormach. Haven't quite decided though if I'll thread it with the Tormach or on our manual lathe.

Joe

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by mx201er » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:11 am

joemac wrote:I would like to comment on the Tormach CNC's. Our company purchase the Tormach 1100 for one off prototyping and it has been a pretty good machine.
I know two people that have the Tormach PCNC1100 and it seems like a really good machine for the price.

If you can save up the money and buy a HAAS Mini Mill, they are great. I am taking some extra classes at my college and have been using the Haas Mini Mills along with MasterCam. I will be making a full titanium suppressor on our Haas TL1 Lathe as soon as I get my papers back.

I know several people that have bought cnc's for their garage, and paid them off in about half a year by making parts on the weekends; that is what I plan to do in a couple years.

And not saying that I condone or use it, but I know an easy way to get MasterCam5 for free.. :wink:
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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by epicdoom » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:02 pm

Do a search on reprap 3D printer machine I just bought one for pattern making for my casting projects to basicly builds things in plastic CNC style it can be used to make patterns gun stocks or anything else you want in plastic ok that said you can also attach lasers to the head for cutting and engraving there are a few forums dedicated to guys Using reprap machines with laser systems The reprap will be a god send for me I build my own cutting lasers so Ill get full use of the machine for just about all my projects. total cost for the complete kit for me was $860.00 I bought all the toys for it check on ebay as well as the net ebay sometimes has kits reasonable. Sons of guns used one in the zombie episode and remade A bullpup stock to fit the 10/22
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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by calinb » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:40 am

tibberous wrote: Basically, I want to be able to:

- Make stamps / dies
- Make embossed text in wood / metal
- Make signs
- Engrave stuff

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think you need a $25,000 machine to do that?
I have a cheap Chinese Sieg mini-mill and lathe that I got from Harbor Freight. Other retailers sell them and some offer improved versions of what I got. Both my lathe and mill are perpetual works in progress and I've upgraded them substantially. Most of the upgrades I've made myself, including adapting cheap caliper heads to my homemade scales and Shumatech printed circuit board (PCB) digital readout (DRO). Using the circular arc calculations feature of the DRO and and sometimes my small rotary table, I can do almost anything that can be done with CNC controlling tools with the same number of axis, but it might just take the rest of my life to do it! ;) Seriously, though, I could do all the things you want to do with my tools and maybe some CAD calculations from my PC (generate a list of co-ordinates, if the DRO can't handle it). I doubt I've spent more than about $2500-$3000 in hobby machine shop tools, including all the additional cutters, gauges, chucks, bits, and tools that I've acquired too. I've also made my own adjustable zero backlash feedscrew nuts, added fine power feed, raised and stiffened my mill column, installed a longer lathe bed, increased the lathe carriage travel and made several other improvements.

When I get into CNC (to speed up some kinds of work or do repetitive production), regardless of the mill I use I will again go the home-brew route and build my own CNC system using a PC. There are plenty of forums and business catering to the hobby. Look into the hobby lathe and mill forums on Yahoo and also the Shumatech forum for DROs and the hobby CNC forums too.

What one can do with these machines is more a matter of how adept you are in overcoming the limitations of the machine (clever setups, building special-purpose jigs and tooling, etc.) than the features offered by the machine. That being said, I am looking for a larger lathe, but it may not end up being more than a used 9" South Bend with a 4-1/2 foot bed (about 35" between centers capable). That would be large enough to turn barrels between centers, but not handle most barrels through the spindle bore. Ideally, I'd like a bed long enough to do work between centers and a spindle bore large enough to accomodate my largest barrel diameter expected.

I agree with others here who have recommended a vertical mill before the lathe. It depends on what you are doing but I use my hobby mill far more often than my lathe for gunsmithing projects, but I don't do much barrel work (yet).
Last edited by calinb on Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CNC milling questions

Post by calinb » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:28 am

Here's a little inspiration, if you're on a budget:
http://www.sporterizing.com/index.php?showtopic=3939

Also check out Doble Troble's chamber reamer making howto (linked in the above post). Notice that he uses a cheap Chinese mini-lathe, mini-mill, and bandsaw:
http://personal.geeksnet.com/soderstrom ... eamers.htm

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