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Any CNC Enthusiasts?

Old 09-05-2023, 06:29 AM
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Default Any CNC Enthusiasts?

I know this is kind of the wrong place to ask but as 3D printing is also CNC, maybe it's okay.

As I have some experience working with industrial scale CNC machines, had some schooling on the topic and have some experience with 3D printing and designing for CAM, I always thought it would be neat to have a small CNC mill/router that is large enough to do a 1:10 TC main chassis plate, and sturdy enough to do brass, alu and carbon and the occasional polymer.

When I look around I either find Chinese 3018/4040 routers or super precision things that cost alotta money and are too fancy for my purposes, with nothing really in between.

Can anyone point me in the direction of a decent brand of hobby-enthusiast grade desktop CNC machines, preferably EU or USA made, that are suitable to make produce parts for a 1:10th TC car?

Cheers,
Olivier
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Old 09-05-2023, 08:49 AM
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Define "alotta money"?
I have a Shapeoko Pro 4XXL, and it gets the job done. They use 15mm wide belts, so that helps a lot. They have since come out with ball screw driven cnc routers, and if I was to buy another one, I'd go with there 2x2 Shapeoko Pro 5.
I'm not a fan of grbl motion controllers, but it gets the job done.
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Old 09-05-2023, 10:45 AM
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I have a StepCraft D600 with the brushless router motor. I have done a bunch of carbon fiber parts - chassis, shock towers, battery holders etc. Also thin aluminum and brass, plexi, plastic sheet. It was a bit of a learning curve, but I had to teach myself CAM at the time as well.

Last edited by belewis01; 09-05-2023 at 05:23 PM. Reason: bad spellin
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Old 09-05-2023, 11:03 PM
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Great input guys, much appreciated! I have compared both offerings you suggested and for my purposes the StepCraft seems to be the best option, seeing as I can pick one up for around 1500EU and put a 1,1kW Makita router in it.

Really cool that they also offer a 4th axis mod for the D series for around 700 currency units depending on where you are, and that an automatic tool changer AND a laser module is also available....

Seems like it is a good entry level option, and with the upgrades available, it seems somewhat doable to slowly upgrade it from a hobby-grade "just-for-fun" machine to a somewhat decent low volume production machine if I am having fun (and making my money back) producing parts.

It's not like I want to become the next RCMaker or Krazed Builds or anything, mostly for having fun replicating and perhaps even improving existing parts, and running crazy experiments that are likely to fail but still fun to try.

Also, as far as I understand, almost all plastic parts on an RC car are first machined out of a block of PA66/Acetal or another polymer for the prototypes, so depending on how well I can produce accurate fixtures I should also be able to create one-off suspension arms and the likes which is pretty cool.
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Old 09-06-2023, 10:04 AM
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Is that Makita speed controlled by the software? I have the M500 which is, and it's pretty nice when you need multiple tools for a job. I believe they have another spindle MM1000 which is also digitally controlled.

The laser is weak - it's primarily for engraving only. In general, all their accessories are very pricy so I make or adapt a lot on my own. Their tool length sensor is very nice, but you can get a contact plate on EBay for about 1/10 of the cost. Same for the dust boot - I found some on Thingiverse and printed my own. Also added LED lights to the bridge for cheap - EBay buck convertor and some LEDs left over from the kitchen counter light kit.
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Old 09-08-2023, 11:13 AM
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OK - this machine is cool - it's a little smaller than mine, but the enclosure, and 4th axis makes it appealing for machining metal. I'm always reluctant to cut metal on my StepCraft because it throws sparkly stuff all over. Price is not bad too - about $5200 with 4th axis.

https://www.makera.com/collections/m...oducts/carvera
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Old 09-08-2023, 04:10 PM
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I have a Carbide 3D Shapeoko Z-Plus XXL with a Dewalt router. I cut aluminum, carbon fiber, foam, and wood with it. It has been reliable so far and I would buy it again if I had to, it also helps that I bought it right before it was discontinued so I got it for 40 percent off.
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Old 09-09-2023, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for all your suggestions guys! Seems like I will be skipping the Stepcraft accesoires then, had a look around and indeed it's very possible to DIY at a fraction of the cost.
Also looked around a bit more and there seems to be quite an abundance of CNC routers with this design, so I'll take my time with it and compare all the options.
I plan to house the machine in a polycarbonate enclosure with some sound damping, so hopefully the dust and chips won't be too much of a problem.
Good to hear you have had success with all materials I would like to machine as well, have you tried doing any stuff with a 4th axis?
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Old 09-11-2023, 06:30 PM
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Skip the sound damping and get rockwool, it will provide fire protection and sound damping. I do have a 4th axis kit but I haven't really used it for cutting just for engraving
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Old 09-12-2023, 02:52 PM
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No CNC but I have a band saw, lathe, mill, bend/cut station and all kind of tools/clamps/bits all oldskool manual controlled.
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Old 09-13-2023, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Speed Chaser
Skip the sound damping and get rockwool, it will provide fire protection and sound damping. I do have a 4th axis kit but I haven't really used it for cutting just for engraving
Have you ever tried to fill the alu extrusions on the lower part of the machine with sand?
I have found some anecdotal evidence here and there of how well that works to dampen the machine, but no real "in-depth" information

Good suggestion on the rockwool, I have made some acoustic panels before, so it shouldn't be too hard to build the enclosure.

As for Roeloef, I agree that much can be done without any "computer" aid, but with the tolerances on the topdeck of a 1:10th EP car for example, it is impossible to do that perfectly on a manual mill with all the curves and stuff (imho).

I mainly would like to own the machine to create, test and fail with custom-made parts, my car has a 2mm topdeck, with a 1.5mm available as an option, but what about 2.5mm or 1.25 or even 1mm?
With the scale of the parts, it is not difficult to make a printer scan of the parts, find a trustworthy reference measurement, and reverse engineer the part in CAD in about 30mins for a small 2-part topdeck for example.

Cheers!
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Old 09-13-2023, 06:06 PM
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I haven't tried it myself but I know some people who have, adding mass to non-moving parts is always a plus and does indeed provide some damping.
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Old 09-14-2023, 10:14 AM
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I've been working with a creality ender 3 for a bit now making misc. items. Now I'm debating on getting a foxalien CNC. I'd like to be able to cut shocktowers and whoknows, maybe even make some aluminum or CF chassis at some point. I certainly fall under the tinkerer category with many failed experiments
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Old 09-15-2023, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by OlivierWierda
As for Roeloef, I agree that much can be done without any "computer" aid, but with the tolerances on the topdeck of a 1:10th EP car for example, it is impossible to do that perfectly on a manual mill with all the curves and stuff (imho).
On my cross table of my mill I have digital rulers, you will be amazed what tolerance is possible as long you do make the right measurements from one spot.
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Old 09-17-2023, 03:43 PM
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I have been running a chinese 300mmx 400mmx 100mm 3 axis with a 12v dc spindle for about 10 years now. It is pre USB interface on the controller , so its a serial port connection controlled with Mach 3. Its done everything I have asked of it , I have run aluminum , g-10, carbon fiber, delrin etc , now days its been relegated to pretty much cutting aluminum motorplates for a 1/24 top fuel car I designed.. every couple weeks fire it up and cut a couple sheets of motor plates as needed. I did set up a wet table and sump system for cutting aluminum . Just a delrin waste board with a drainage cut into it so it drains back into a catch pan with a small 110 v fountain pump circulating the coolant. I run end mills 1/8 and smaller usually so there isnt really any spray ..
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