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What Brand CNC Are You Running?

Discussion in 'CNC Routing & Laser Cutting' started by BoZerk, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. BoZerk

    BoZerk Member

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    I've been thinking of getting a router, what brand are you guys using?

    What's the best bang for the buck?

    Which options should I make sure I get and which can wait?

    What should I look out for?

    Does your table run all day every day, and if so, where does the majority of your business come from?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Bo Zerk
     
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  2. gerald

    gerald Member

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    Mine is an AXYZ. I really like it and use it almost daily. What you can do without is the auto tool changer. Vaccum hold down is a must in our business. Get a 5x10 table, If you get the 4x8 table you'll regret it.
     
  3. BoZerk

    BoZerk Member

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    Why get the 5 x 10 when the most common substrate size is 4 x 8?

    I've got a brochure for the axyz, they look pretty nice.
     
  4. gerald

    gerald Member

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    I cut lots of aluminum and plexiglass. And lots of those aluminum signs go beyond 8 ft long or 4 ft wide. Also, if I'm cutting plexiglass letters or channel letter backs or faces, many times I can get a set out of a 4 x 10 or 5 x 10 sheet instead of using 2 - 4x8's. I started with a 4x8 and regreted it immediatly. Luckily, mine was upgradable.
     
  5. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    He speaks the truth, if you have the room get a bigger table. Everyone always wishes they did
     
  6. andy

    andy Active Member

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    Like they said- get 10 x 5 at a minimum
     
  7. BoZerk

    BoZerk Member

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    What brand do you guys like best?

    What about software?
     
  8. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    I would make sure they have good customer service, support and happy customers. I would visit their forum boards to find all this out.

    I use a shopbot. I would suggest you go to their forumboard and do some research. http://shopbottools.com

    Make sure you have the power requirements at your location.

    You will need a minumum of
    1 240v 30/50amp circuit for your dust collector
    1 240v 50amp circuit for your spindle
    1 120v 30amp for your control box

    this is generally over looked

    also software can run you anywhere from $500-9k
    $500 for some good lettering software and 2D / 2k on up for 3D
     
  9. andy

    andy Active Member

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    For me the spindle needs to be 3 phase- this gives you many more options in terms of the horsepower and speeds etc. I use Italian spindles from Elte which I'm very pleased with.

    As for brands I hear good things about AXYZ and Multicam setups. What it really comes down to is how many pennies you have to spend.
     
  10. gerald

    gerald Member

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    I like ArtCam by Delcam cause it's the only one I've ever used and I'm used to it. I have ArtCam 7.0 and I think they are up to 9.0 now.
    http://www.artcam.com/
     
  11. BoZerk

    BoZerk Member

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    Seems that arrtcam is pretty much the standard, at least that's what I see the most of.

    Do you do a lot of your business with other sign shops?

    I would love to get one for the jobs I get in house but it's hard to justify just for that, I think I would have a hard time keeping it running just on my own jobs.
     
  12. gerald

    gerald Member

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    Actually no, I don't do anything for other sign shops. It's for our use. We do a lot of lighted, dimentional sigange. High rise pylons ect.. I have several national account companies that I build and install for. It really ads a new dimention to the sign shop. Most every sign is a shape of some sort even if it's square.
     
  13. lpc

    lpc New Member

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    I have a ShopBot PRT4848 and I love it! I use mostly CorelDraw X3 and V-Carve Pro software for generating my CNC files. I just couldn't justify the cost of Enroute or ArtCam and can't deal with the 'Exceeded allowed # of vectors" or "you can only use 10 fonts" messages unless you send us more money, etc, etc. crap.

    Yes, I too would love to have a larger table, but that would mean another building... maybe later.
     
  14. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    i have a older camtech routermaster 52 and a smaller router that i ordered all of the parts for and built myself that can cut 24" X 44". When i was in the sign biz we had a 4' X8' table and bigger is better IF you have the space and the workload to pay for it.

    software just depends on your budget and what you want to produce. I would really recommend going to a trade show and looking at multiple brands and models as well as various software packages.

    a neat little toy i saw on one was a router table that also had a lathe, now granted there is no real reason to have that for the sign business but it sure would be fun for my own personal fun projects....boys and their toys
     
  15. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Mars Florida
    I've been running a 5 x 10 Multicam for the past 5 years with Cadlink's Profile Lab routing software. The software handles 2-D, v-carved, and raised prismatic lettering very well. I have a 3 phase 20 hp vacuum hold down system now but will be moving to a new building that has only single phase. The only solution is a phase converter that will allow me to run the motor on single phase. The converter will costs $2,500.00

    I've also got a heavy duty dust collection system on my table too. I did my research and was glad I went with a 5x10 table.

    All in all Multicam builds a decent table. We've had a few minor issues over the years but overcame them.

    I'll likely be buying another table for the new building for redundancy sake. I'm also considering the auto tool changer on the new table. The quote I got last week was around $64k. If one table goes down then I'll have a second to fall back on. My table runs every single day and I couldnt' be in the business I am today without one.

    I plan to retrofit my existing table with Multicam's new Multivision which does the same thing as I-Cut. Precision contour cutting around digitally printed images for POP display work.

    Good tools may be expensive up front but they can make you some serious money. Always look at tool buying as an investment!
     
  16. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Everyone who bought a table always wished they would have bought a bigger one like a 5'x10'. I'm in that same pool with my PRTAlpha 4x8. My friend sold his PRT and bought a 5'x10' PRTAlpha
     
  17. mgieske

    mgieske Member

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    I have an AXYZ 4x8 with (2) 5 HP Elte heads & 10HP Vac pump. It been running an average of 5hrs a day for almost 5yrs now (4 months left on lease!) Lots of heavy routing too, with minimal maintenance issues. Looking back, I wish I had a 5x10' table & tool changer. Still no big regrets.

    As for software, I use Enroute 3 Pro & still use the Toolpath program that was included with the router for basic projects.
     
  18. geedub

    geedub Member

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    we use an axyz 4x8 router is well, i know nothing about it. we use toolpath for the computer software.
     
  19. FlambeauMan

    FlambeauMan New Member

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    Our shop has a Kongsberg i-XL 24 with the 5x10' table. It has the multi-head and can route, knife cut, kiss cut, vibe-knife cut, and crease. We use it constantly with great results. It has a box-builder program so no more ordering from U-line. The software is a breeze to use. Had some trouble with customer support for a while, but found the right guys to talk to now.
     
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