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CNC Router Regrets?

Discussion in 'Dimensional Signs' started by noregrets, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. noregrets

    noregrets Member

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    Has anyone ever regretted buying one of these? We have been outsourcing all of our CNC work to date, and are looking at purchasing our own one now, I have been wanting one for a long time.....

    Have any of you ever regretted buying one?
     
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  2. jayhawksigns

    jayhawksigns Very Active Member

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    Just wish we would of gotten a different one. Just had to learn the limitations and have used ours for several years now, without other regrets. Like any tool, we do more with it then we planned once we had it in our shop.
     
  3. SignProPlus-Chip

    SignProPlus-Chip Active Member

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    Don't buy it, build it.
     
  4. noregrets

    noregrets Member

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    I would looove to do this, but just dont have the time, got that many projects on the go at the moment I would never see my family :)
     
  5. noregrets

    noregrets Member

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    Thanks, what limitations did you find with yours?
     
  6. Ditchmiester

    Ditchmiester Active Member

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    We are in the process of researching CNC machines now. I knew of all the major brands out the i.e MultiCamm, AXYZ, and the such but there are so many other smaller brands out there that seem to build really nice machines and there is definitely a price difference when not paying for that major name brand. I also looked at chinese routers but i'm still very leery of buying something that expensive sight unseen.
     
  7. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    I'd take the opposite view. A very fast, higher end router will make you more profit. If you build or go low end and jobs take you 2 hours, you bill for $180. If you have a fast machine, you get the same job done in 1 hour. So make $90 per hour or $180? Your choice.

    I have two regrets. 1) not buying a router sooner 2) not buying a higher end router.
     
  8. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

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    Overall, no regrets here. Its a marvelous tool. I've found that I do 50% sign work, and 50% totally unrelated work with mine. Last week was inlays for a flooring guy.

    An oversized table & a spindle are a couple options I'm glad I went with. The spindle is considerably more, but well worth the money. imo
     
  9. noregrets

    noregrets Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated. Sooooooo, one more question, automatic tool change - nice to have, or pain in the *** not to have?

    I have narrowed it down to a couple of machines - one being made in China, but is from a reputable supplier close to me, cheaper but slightly lower specd then the one made in Italy, but is quite far away so will not only cost more to purchase, but there is also very expensive freight to deal with.

    We are probably taling about a price difference of 6k
     
  10. jayhawksigns

    jayhawksigns Very Active Member

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    Ours is more of the build it yourself style. Bought as a complete unit from a company where the owner had a great idea on how to bring down the cost of cnc's. Very modular and it can be swapped between a router and plasma cutter.

    It just lacks a little ability, speed, etc. that something like a Multicam would of had.
     
  11. rfulford

    rfulford Active Member

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    We bought a multicam 1000 with vision software and a tangential knife. Our thoughts were that the machine would be used exclusively for print and cut. I regret not getting the tool changer or the dual knife so I can cut and score for box making.
     
  12. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

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    I've heard of multicam, thermwood, techno, bots, axyz, cammaster...ect.

    Can you be a little more specific? "One made in china" and "One made in Italy" dosen't help me out much. I'm curious as to what your looking at.

    A tool changer would be nice, but..... I'm a "One-Up" kinda shop, and typically a job will require 2 or 3 bits, so a tool changer wasn't very cost effective for me. If you were using the router a good part of the day, every day, in a "production setting", then I'd say a tool changer is a must. As for the speed, I've never done a job where I maxed out my machine's capabilities. I have maxed out many a bit's capabilities tho. )))

    A local friend of mine has a Thermwood with all the bells and whistles (I believe he has something like $180k into his). His machine is quite impressive to watch run (in his "production" shop).......yet I haven't seen him produce anything that I could not. I'm sure his "tolerances" are tighter than mine, but I haven't had any issues with the work I do. 3/1000 of an inch usually isn't a big deal in the average sign shop (fictitious numbers)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  13. fixtureman

    fixtureman Member

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    I have a shopbot made in North Carolina at my shop and run a Biesse where I work part time. For signs and one offs the shopbot is the better choice. For production runs the Biesse is the machine I do a lot of one offs for the company I work for as I can get it done cheaper than they can do it. the one I have is mostly used for companies that are like you and need that outsource their work. I would like a tool changer but I can get by without it. As for the speed my doing 3d work I can cut just as fast as the Biesse
     
  14. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    definitely it's a matter of ROI. if it's going to be used for two or three hours each week knocking out a part. or even one or two days a months all day long, get a shopbot or a cheap chinese cnc. sign making has really really forgivable tolerances.

    one thing to also consider is a light weight shopbot can be rolled in to a corner or outside for some really filthy work while the indoors may be needed for some ultra-clean lay up work the same day.
     
  15. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    my regrets are that my table is too small (3'x3' max) and no vacuum hold-down system.

    (got it aftermarket for extremely cheap, so the benifits far outweigh the downsides for my business)
     
  16. SD&F

    SD&F Very Active Member

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    We have two. The reason for that is we bought a smaller one to start with years ago and regretted not buying a bigger one. We ended up going with a larger Multi-cam.
    NO REGRETS.
     
  17. I run two Shopbot Alphas and they've been great for our applications. I chose Shopbot for several reasons, not the least of which is that they have a very good user forum which was a big help when I was first starting out. At the time I bought them you could order just the components you needed or could afford, I ordered everything but the table structures and had those built locally which gave a substantial savings on shipping; I'm not certain that that is an option anymore.
    At one time, Shopbots were considered cnc's with training wheels and probably deserved that reputation as they were slow and not accurate enough for some folks. Not so anymore, as they've been constantly refining and upgrading these machines over the years, software and firmware updates have always been free.
    If you contact Shopbot they can likely give you the contact info for an owner in your area that would be willing to demonstrate; I've done this several times myself.
    Can't speak specifically which Chinese machines you're referring to but I have heard some local hooror stories about the imports being near impossible to keep square, flat and true. Customer support, availability of parts etc. should also be considered.
    Once you get comfortable with designing and toolpathing you'll find a cnc to be one of the most versatile tools on the planet. Best of luck with your decision and purchase! No regrets here. - Boyd
     
  18. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    Is this still available- and if so where please. Gene
     
  19. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    for a quick/cheap/strong vacuum solution. build a plenum and instead of getting one massive beefy vacuum with ports and valves, hook up three to four of those tiny portable vac's ($25 each at walmart). four of those vac's each pulling an individual section of the table can pull like crazy, plus you get an "automatic" zoning for dummies.
     
  20. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    Racine, WI
    no regrets here. our MultiCam is still running strong, now a decade later.
     
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