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First CNC router purchase....what to look for in all of these options!

Discussion in 'CNC Routers & Engravers' started by klemgraphics, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    I've been casually looking for a CNC router for some time now and I think the time to buy is now, had my best year since I've been in business and I have the funds to purchase outright. I'm always looking for ways to set myself apart from my local competition and do bigger and better things. Need another good tax write off this year.

    So I think what I would like is a 5'x10' with a vacuum table and about a 5hp spindle. I think a stepper motor machine will be sufficient but I guess servos would be great.

    Some different mfgs that I've been looking at are Limac, Shop Sabre, Camaster, EZRouter, and a few others that escape me right now. I'm not looking for anything too high end as this will not be used everyday at first at least, most of what I have been looking at is in the $25-35,000 range. The Limac seems to be the best value and artbot has given it a good review but I would love to hear what others have to say. There are so many options and variations of builds that I don't know what is best.

    Looking to do cut letters and 2.5d routing in PVC, HDU, and aluminum composite mostly.

    I know I will get the "buy from who can service it the quickest no matter the cost" replies and while I agree mostly I'm in a good situation to have another non sign related routing shop that will most likely be able to pull me out of any jam I could get myself into if mine went down for a day or two. Personal friends of mine about a mile from my shop have 30 some routers.....I've pulled them out of jams before and they are more than willing to do the same for me. That being said they are set up for mass production, not one off sign jobs, so while they can and will if I ask them I don't want to wear out my welcome by trying to just outsource it to them.

    Any suggestions and comments are much appreciated!

    Oh and I had originally bought about 90% of what is needed to build a 5x10 Mechmate CNC which I still have along with the plans to build it, all I'm missing is the time.....I have no extra time to do something as involved as this anymore. I'll make someone a deal on it if interested.
     
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  2. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    where you live?
     
  3. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    Far southern Indiana about an hour east of Evansville.
     
  4. fixtureman

    fixtureman Member

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    If you have the parts for the Mechmate why not hire someone to put it together for you.
     
  5. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    I think by the time I do that I would have just as much invested in it, at this point I would rather just get rid of the parts as a kit for someone else to build and buy one ready to go. Also if I buy one I have someone to turn to for support which could save some headaches.
     
  6. Ditchmiester

    Ditchmiester Active Member

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    I can tell you that make sure the software that runs the machine is bullet proof. We purchased a "Cheap" CNC machine and have had nothing but head aches with it and it all stems from the software. Make sure you really get to put the demo machine they show you through the paces before you make a decision. I would look at the Shop Sabre pretty hard I was really impressed with their machines.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  7. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    Could you just conver it over to Mach3? That seems to be what most of the diy guys are running without much issue. I looked at a used one that the control software was discontinued and the way I took it the changeover on that particular machine would not be so easy so I stayed away from it. Could you tell me the mfg of your machine? You can PM me if you like.
     
  8. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    Friday morning bump
     
  9. SignProPlus-Alex

    SignProPlus-Alex Member

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    How about ShopBot ? They are in your price range. Lots of support on talkshopbot.com. Or just like me finish building your router.
     
  10. fixtureman

    fixtureman Member

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    I have a Shopbot and it does everything that I want it to do. I have had mine since 2008 and before that I had a vintage Shopbot that never gave me any problems. When I got mine I had it up and running in 2 days of it's arrival.
     
  11. JJM7288

    JJM7288 Member

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    Gerber Sabre. We purchased our Sabre in 2001 and have run it daily for almost 13 years. Great, reliable, accurate machine.
     
  12. johnnysigns

    johnnysigns Very Active Member

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    Ours is an '04, 2 service calls for the life of this router. We run up to 20hrs a day for weeks at a time without any hiccups. If it had a tool changer I don't think I'd be considering a replacement in our future.
     
  13. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    5' x 10' Multicam here. Twelve years running and just replaced the spindle for the first time this past winter. Only thing I would have to have next go around would be the tool changer as well. The vacuum hold down and dust collector on ours is worth the extra money. I hear that servo motors are better but we have steppers and have not seen reason for the upgrade.
     
  14. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    I've been considering the tool changer, if I remember correctly it is a upgrade that can be added on some but I could be mistaken. I'm just not sure if I want to jump in with a $40,000 machine or if I should get my feet wet and see where it goes with a $20,000 machine. One thing for sure is that I want 5'x10' and a vacuum hold down. From what I am told generally steppers are fine for sign work.
     
  15. Donny7833

    Donny7833 Member

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  16. klemgraphics

    klemgraphics Active Member

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    I've been looking at their Cobra 5x10 but can't seem to get a quote, not sure whats going on there, maybe they are just that busy....which is a good sign.
     
  17. designthesign

    designthesign New Member

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    I worked for a company that had a AXYZ 5x10 table with enroute software. Talk about a work horse.. Very dependable!
     
  18. johnnysigns

    johnnysigns Very Active Member

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    I wouldn't even consider looking at a machine without a robust vacuum system.
     
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