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Entry Level CNC Router

Discussion in 'Dimensional Signs' started by custom sign center, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. custom sign center

    custom sign center Member

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    Apr 5, 2007
    Idaho
    Hi,
    I'm thinking about getting a small CNC router about 24" x 24" work area.

    Before you ask why not 4'x 8'? It's because I have 2 CNC shops close that do all my CNC stuff right now and although both shops do great work, they are very busy and sometimes the lead time is 2 -3 weeks. Also, I don't have the room for a large one.
    I'm in the process of putting an online store of dimensional garden and heraldry signs together so the sign sizes will be sizes that are easy to ship.

    I'm looking for advice from those of you that have these machines. What brand(s) you have, what you like or dislike ( I like buying USA made), what type of budget should I expect and software suggestions. I don't mind buying a used one but I don't want something that is going to be a maintenance nightmare.... don't have time to deal with that.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Outlawsignz

    Outlawsignz New Member

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    May 22, 2014
    British Columbia
  3. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    8,520
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    Jun 24, 2003
    michigan
    you can build one for about 2 grand. But for the money I would go 4x4.. 95% of my stuff and much of what I see other people run would do well on a 4x4.
    Running 2x2 would not be worth the effort to get it or operate it.

    There is a number of 2x2 machines on ebay.
     
  4. ADASignOutlet

    ADASignOutlet New Member

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    Jan 7, 2014
    Wilton, CA
    I would look into the zenbot or the probotix comet. Both are made in US.
     
  5. custom sign center

    custom sign center Member

    386
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    18
    Apr 5, 2007
    Idaho
    Thanks for the replies, I forgot to mention i would be cutting mostly HDU ( max. 2" thick) Wood (max 3/4" thick) and some plastics like acrylic and Sintra.
     
  6. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    2,533
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    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    Thinking of selling my seiko and getting a 4x4 router myself. Zenbot looks decent. Lots of research yet to do!
     
  7. Eric H

    Eric H Member

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    Aug 1, 2006
    Pennsylvania
    I guess it depends on what sizes you do the most. With a 2x2 you would always be cutting sheets down to fit. With a 4x4 you can usually put a whole 4x8 sheet on and do pull downs for longer panels. I think unless you have a specific product that is going to fit the smaller router, a 4x4 is going to be more versatile in the long run. Also don't know what kind of space or budget you have.
     
  8. custom sign center

    custom sign center Member

    386
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    Apr 5, 2007
    Idaho
    I don't mind cutting something down... I have a panel saw. Besides, my suppliers will cut sheets down for me which is very nice :smile: so no worry there.
    I don't have the room for a large router, even the 4x4... the actual footprint on those are larger than I have space for, and the specific products I produce won't be anything larger than 24" x 24" for shipping purposes (most likely not even quite that).

    Budget... well I know they're not cheap that's what I need input for, even the expensive one come with there set of problems so i like to do my research before I jump in.
     
  9. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    8,520
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    Jun 24, 2003
    michigan
    build your own.

    Professional quality drivers and motors will cost you no matter what you get.
    The frame work is very easy to do.
    2 grand and you can be up in production cutting those softer materials.
     
  10. custom sign center

    custom sign center Member

    386
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    18
    Apr 5, 2007
    Idaho
    I haven't ruled this option out.
    Just curious, since I'm a newbie at this aspect, will my Corel Draw X6 work for CNC? I'm thinking I need extra software (something similar to my RIP for digital printing or cutting ) to drive the router?
     
  11. AF

    AF Active Member

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    Dec 8, 2013
    USA
    Mastercam, Aspire, Mach3 etc. Maybe Rhinoceros if you plan to do 3D carving.
     
  12. 1leonchen

    1leonchen Member

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    Feb 12, 2009
    The carribbean
    for cheap dirt cheap u can get a shape oko and a upgrade kit. jut cut lettering would not recommended engraving.

    two a probitix cnc is nice can do some really nice stuff and engraving.

    finally skip the night mare but spend on quality by a torchmate 2 by 2 cnc ability to upgrade to steel aluminum pvc and engraving. but cost factor is greater. expandable to two by four

    when buying a cnc please remember software is essential. Mach 3 is recommended one and two. also cambam or sheet cam is also recommended on build units. torch mate comes with is own controller box and can recommended software and much more help.

    your budget is your limitation. right now i am building a small shapeoko for personal use. but i am saving for a torch mate for my business. i worked for a company that used a gerber dimension and sabre. those thing are rock solid. torchmate compares to a gerber
     
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