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Need Help Considering a CNC Router

Discussion in 'CNC Routers & Engravers' started by Gary Wiant, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    About 20 years ago I had to make a decision between buying our first Digital printer or getting into 3D signs and buying a router, I choose Digital, for a few reasons one of those being that no one in our area had a digital printer & we live in a rural area & I wasn't sure if the economy would be able to support me with only higher dollar 3d signs.

    Well fast forward 20+ years and now I've got CBC routers on my mind, we haven't pushed 3D and we have only sold a hand full or two of routed signs. We don't have people asking for 3D signs, but I think between with out current customer base being much larger than it was 20 -21 years ago, plus the fact that I want a router to play with as a hobby.

    I don't currently have a lot of room for a big table & without a current need / work for it I'm looking at used routers, my wife is pumping the brakes on my purchase, we will be putting the router in our garage area and she is concerned about the noise & dust, I had her watch a video a week or so ago and the video was very loud, no she think all routers are loud, the used units I'm looking at has a spindle. So im not sure if they are louder or quieter, we have a Saw Trax we cut aluminum & alumilite with & i think she is figuring the router will be that loud. She is also concerned with the dust that it will create 40 or so feet away from our Mimaki JV300. I think she thinks there is going to be a cloud of dust while the machine is running.

    So after a lot of babbling my questions are this.

    1. How loud and dusty are CNC Routers?
    2. How large of a learning curve should I be ready for?
    3. Is there anything you wish you knew when you purchased you CNC Router?


    Thanks for the help

    Gary
     
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  2. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Can someone delete one of these double posts
     
  3. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    I wouldn't put a router 40 ft from a printer.

    We have a multicam cnc at work. It has two huge exhaust fans, and dust still gets everywhere. And when cutting thought aluminum there's usually a big dust/mist cloud.

    It's also loud - really loud. It's such a high rpm drilling into metal / wood, and pretty much constantly with no quiet time. It's actually mandatory to wear ear protection while operating it.

    Learning wise... It's not hard. If you run your printer, you can run the cnc. You have to do certain things different, such as measuring material thickness and seeing cut depth, but that too me a day or two to learn. Mind you, I barely used it, as I was moved into the digital printing department after 2 days of training on it... But I was cutting rosd signs and doing the setup after the first day. 3d stuff is probably more complex.

    I'd say test a few used cncs before purchasing. They're fun yours, and can make you big bucks. But if noise/dust concerns you, you might be out of luck.
     
  4. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Thank you, it's 40feet or so but in the garage and the rest of the our digital equipment is in the main shop area and nterior double doors that seperate the garage & shop area.but if it's going to be that loud & dusty I may build a new separate small garage / shed and put it in there. From watching videos on line they don't seem that dusty but that is why I asked.

    Any other opinions or things I should know about getting a CNC router
     
  5. astro8

    astro8 Active Member

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    Depending on what and how you are cutting, they can be earsplitting loud and sandstorm type dusty. The larger, the heavier and generally, the more expensive the cnc router, the quieter they run. A spindle will always be quieter than a router, under the same conditions.

    MDF is terribly dusty unless you have a big dollar dust extraction system and that is loud in itself. Not high pitched, but a deep low hum.

    I think your best bet is to set up a separate room and try and sound proof it as best you can using coolroom foam panels for the walls etc.

    Otherwise you may have to put a couch in the garage as that's where you'll be sleeping from here on in.:p
     
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  6. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Ok so here is where I'm at, I have a 12'x20' shed / building built we will be insulating it and installing a heater & a/c unit to keep the temperature under control. And i found an older (12 yr old) 4'x8'x6" Machine Tool Camp router locally ( about 30 miles away ) the kit was built by an engineering group That just wanted to put it together to play around with and ended up only using it for their personal pet projects.

    This is the listing
    DIY 4 foot x 8 foot x 6” CNC Router.
    Built from Machine Tool Camp Enginering plans package in 2005.
    80/20 Extruded T-slot aluminum frame. Linear rails and bearings.
    Rack and pinion on X and Y axis. Lead screw on Z axis.
    Nema 34 stepper motors for X and Y axis. Nema 23 stepper motor for Z axis.
    Gecko stepper drivers.
    3 ½ HP Milwaukee varible speed router.
    Grizzly dust collector system.
    Computer, monitor and DeskCNC software included.
    Easy CNC, Begineer's Gude to CNC book also included.
    Presently under power. Can demonstrate.
    Pick-up only
    .

    I purchased this for a very very good price in my opinion but as I said before im a newb at cnc routers and really don't have much of an idea about routing other than what no have learned doing research.

    I was initially looking at a Dimension 200x and id jmagine thatit is a bit better built than the MTC router butbi kept thinking about the 35.75" x 30" x 2.5" size restriction I know when we had smaller digital printers, people always wanted a size larger than we could make. So when a 4'x8'x6" came available I thought this seems like a good fit our needs.

    My plans are to upgrade the computer & install the latest Desk CNC, as well as find a 3d software.
    Is this a good entry level router?
    Are there any upgrades I need to consider?
    Can I find a list somewhere of router bits for routing & engraving wood, sign foam, pc, Acrylic and aluminum / dibond?
    With the 3.5hp router is it possible to route thicker aluminum & possibly mild steel once I get the feed rates right?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Gary
     
  7. Enola

    Enola Member

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    Chiploads | Feeds and Speeds | Metal | Plastic | Composite | | Documents
    This may help.

    As for cutting THICKER alum and steel
    I can only give you my personal experience. I tried a number of materials, as will you.
    Lets just say, this wasn't as enjoyable as other materials. Especially when you waste a $60 bit after 20 seconds of use.

    My cnc plasma is much more fun for this type of thing.


    Edit: I do, rarely cut some .080 aluminum. Hate it.
    I never cut steel. IMO its absolutely not the tool for the job.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  8. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Thank you what about bits any recommendations?
     
  9. astro8

    astro8 Active Member

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    I think you can get off to a decent start with what you have purchased because it has already been up and running.
    The most valuable piece on the whole is experience. Nothing will replace just getting stuck into it and start cutting stuff. You will learn what will work and what won't work fairly quickly.

    Workholding is a largely underestimated part of it. You will need to figure out how to hold parts securely throughout the cut and keep vibration down, as that what wears out, overheats and snaps bits. The more savvy you are at figuring out workholding and toolpathing strategies the less frustrated you will become.

    Stick with 'O flute" single flute upcuts for mdf, plywood, wood, dibond, pvc, acrylic for the moment as that way you have a 'standard' to measure your progress.

    You can use them for aluminium too but I highly suggest a mister when cutting any non ferrous metals.

    Compression cutters are good for ply, mdf and melamine but stick with the Oflutes until you gain more experience.

    I use bits designed for routing stainless steel for cutting aluminium and brass, as they work well on aluminium and brass, but not so good on stainless steel.

    As for cutting steel, I'd keep well away.
     
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  10. fixtureman

    fixtureman Member

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    You will need design software that can output the code that your CNC will use. I recommend Vectric's Aspire software for this. You can download a working version and watch their tutorials they have some of the best and are priced right.
     
  11. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    The Router includes DeskCNC and from I understand everything has to run through it and I know I need a program that will create the G-code that DeskCNC will send to the router.

    I'm a Signlab user and I'm considering upgrading my license to EngraveLab or purchasing either Vcarve Pro or Aspire, Aspire is $1000 more and the only 2 added features are (Lithophane creation & 3D modeling & sculpting? Are these features worth the additional $1000? Im not sure what work I'll end up doing, and I dont.really know what these features are / do.

    Thanks
     
  12. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    if you dont have the room nor the need why waste the money? Sub all routing out and you will be just fine.
     
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  13. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Mainly because I want one. First I want one to use for some hobby type / non sign related products. Second I want one to expand our product offerings.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
     
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  14. Simonma

    Simonma New Member

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    Yes. if cutting steel it need specialzied stainless steel CNC Router. If cut Aluminum it need Aluminum engraving machine
     
  15. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Thank you I was hoping I could route out sign shapes in .080 sometimes but not a lot, I'd imagine more often than not we'll be routing DiBond, AlumiPanel, and other APC materials.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
     
  16. Cross Signs

    Cross Signs Active Member

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    It sounds like you haven't seen the new "Shaper". I bought one of these last September, I haven't received it yet....Production hasn't started. But the time for it to arrive is getting closer. (I can hardly wait). It is a brand new type of CNC router and I think it will be the greatest tool I have. I'll include a link to Shaper and you can use the link to get $100.00 off the current price.

    Shaper Origin: One Tool, Infinite Possibilities.

    When someone uses your referral link to pre-order Origin through our site, they get $100 off their pre-order.
     
  17. Gary Wiant

    Gary Wiant Member

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    Looks cool but that isn't going to be able to touch the kind of 2.5D signs we will be doing with the CBC plus I don't want to be stretching across 4x8 to get to the center to cut out shapes or v cut letters. I'm not saying I won't get one, it's just not right for us now
     
  18. rapidmike

    rapidmike New Member

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    Iuuukm


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. justinwillamson

    justinwillamson New Member

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    Hey buddy, I can try to answer some of your questions.
    1. Generally CNC router for larger woodworking working are bigger and expensive but CNC router for sign making aren't that much larger and can be easy adjust in your room, you can also watch some of images these routers
    2. If you are completely new in field then your learning curve will surly be larger but if you used similar kind of machines in future then it will not be a time consuming process, you can watch its tutorials from youtube or from google.
    3. Now the final one and the most important one that is things to consider when buying a CNC router for sign making
    When buying a router for the purpose of sign making. It is very important for you to know the parameters or verticals that you should consider when buying one.
    Price
    If you are just a beginner then price is going to play a very important role when it comes to buying your first cnc machine. Try buying a machine that costs you less than 1000$ or even better get yourself a second hand machine. Once you hone your woodworking skills on an old machine then you can easily go ahead and get a new one. Though do make sure when buying a used or a cheap CNC machine, the machine is not too worn out.
    Functionality
    This is a very important factor. Ideally if you are just going after a machine that will allow you to make sign boards or work on light projects then you can go after DIY routers where you can choose as per the demand of your project. If you are not a newbie then you can even go after a CNC mill which will allow you multiple functionality.
    Customer support
    Since you will be solely working with the machine. It can get difficult at times to know certain intricacies about woodworking machines. A good customer support ensures you are taken care of by providing tutorials about their machines and also a dedicated customer desk just in case you have issues with the machine.
    I found this info from a article for Best CNC router for sign making . You can read this article also they mention Best 5 router for sign making with its detail description and they also mention some of the important aspect like - How to create signs using a CNC router?
    Hope this answers can help you in anyway.
     
  20. netsol

    netsol Active Member

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    ikarasu,
    we are getting one of these
    https://www.harborfreight.com/2-hp-industrial-5-micron-dust-collector-97869.html
     
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