CNC Wood routers/Carvers

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PawPaw
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CNC Wood routers/Carvers

Post by PawPaw » Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:02 pm

I'm doing research on CNC routers/carvers for woodworking projects. Building things like simple cutouts, or making plaques, stuff like that.

There is a bunch of information out there and I'm having trouble filtering the bullshit from the good information.

Is there a reputable company who is the "leader" in this technology?
Anything I should stay away from ?
Is there an industry standard software package?
What brands of machine are good? I'm sure that there is junk out there, and I want to stay away from that.

Where should I get started looking? I'd hate to drop a couple of thou on a machine that's a piece of crap.
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Darrell
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Re: CNC Wood routers/Carvers

Post by Darrell » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:47 pm

McClarkus should be able to answer your questions. He does some really cool stuff:

http://www.phantomcanyoncarving.com/
Eppur si muove--Galileo

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HTRN
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Re: CNC Wood routers/Carvers

Post by HTRN » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:01 am

At the hobbiest level, the more money you spend, generally the less fiddling there is to do.

Shopbot has a decent reputation, but expect to pay through the nose, their desktop model only does 24x18, and cost more than 7 grand. Keep in mind, that this is a turnkey machine.

Shapeoko on the otherhand, is just over a grand for the basic kit, with a slightly smaller work envelope. Keep in mind, you should expect to do a fair bit of tinkering to get it to run. Its very popular with hobbiests, due to both price and its open architecture. You might want to seriosly consider this as an option. Theres also the larger sized shapeokos for somewhat more money, notably the xxl which is just under 3 feetx 3 feet.of travel

Virtually all of them run on g code, so learning to use fusion 360 (free to enthusiasts), makes alot of sense. Another popular piece of software is vcarve for signmaking, but it isnt freeware - the pro version is 700 dollars.

Now if you want something with a bit more hp and work envelope, i can wholeheartedly recommend the Haas GR 510, with a 15hp, 8000 rpm (base machine, upgradeable to 15k) 40 taper spindle, and a 10 pocket tool changer. All for the low, low (base)price of $115k. :ugeek: :mrgreen:
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McClarkus
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Re: CNC Wood routers/Carvers

Post by McClarkus » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:39 am

I looked at Shopbot and considered them because of their price point. I eventually went with a Shop Sabre. for me, there was a very steep learning curve and I messed up a lot of wood, broke a bunch of bits and tore up some clamps. It takes only a momentary lapse of concentration for me to forget a step and then - whoops. I'm getting better, but I still don't speak G Code fluently.
My dream was to get a 4x8foot model so I could do high end doors with glass inserts and 3D carvings. The cnc was delivered with the wood carving spindle and a plasma cutter which I still have not used. It was so I could cut a shallow female pocket in the bottom of the door and then cut out a corresponding steel insert for a kick panel but I haven't gotten that far yet with all the other stuff I'm doing.
Here's what I got and why. Shop Sabre 4896 with Mitsubishi 3HP spindle (much quieter than a Porter Cable router) No automatic tool changer (saved 5K) No 10HP vacuum hold down (saved another 5K) Dedicated Dell generic computer to run power distribution box. I run "Vectric"s "Aspire" for software, about 2K right now but I love it for CAD CAM. Additions to my 3D library bloated the software up to about 3K by itself. I got the stepper motors instead of the faster, more expensive servos because I don't cut long cabinet parts and the steppers go fast enough for my purposes at about 300 ipm. I think the screw drives are a little better and more accurate than the rack and pinion on the Shop Bots. And that's about it.
I used a spring loaded diamond drag to engrave a Zippo lighter for my wife's hobby stuff. There is a cast iron skillet in the kitchen that I use all the time now since I machined the inside - bottom only - haven't taken the time to try to program for the sloped sides and curved edges. Now that I figured out how to hold the buggers I can cnc machine the 80% lowers for my AR's. Re-creating moldings for my furniture business is now possible with extruded shapes, from clock size up to armoire sizes. With a smaller portable unit one could set up at the State Fair and carve address signs real time.
One secret to life. Step #1 - Find something you enjoy doing. Step #2 - Find someone foolish enough to pay you to do it.

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McClarkus
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Re: CNC Wood routers/Carvers

Post by McClarkus » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:40 am

Ran out of space which was handy because I was done anyway. Give me a call or e-mail if I can help in any way. Regards -
One secret to life. Step #1 - Find something you enjoy doing. Step #2 - Find someone foolish enough to pay you to do it.

tfbncc
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Re: CNC Wood routers/Carvers

Post by tfbncc » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:32 am

I would recommend staying away from the Carvewright/CompuCarve machines. It was designed for the home hobbyist. It has been out on the market for 5 years or more and it is still having teething problems. When they run right, they do good work. But getting it to run right is the problem. The system uses a proprietary memory card to work from. You get a card writer that plugs into your computer. It comes with a basic 3D carving program that let's you drag and drop clipart designs onto your described wood workpiece which you then can scale, rotate, stretch, etc. until the design fits your needs. Then you transfer the memory card to the machine. The machine indexes your board and then starts the pattern. Unfortunately, the way they designed the machine and all the digital safeguards, the computer often locks up. Well known, repeated problems, such as the computer just up and stop working at around the 52 hour mark, have plagued the system since it's introduction. Even with the newer, upgraded systems, problems still abound. Also, the spindle motor is seperate from the work head and is connected by a flexible shaft. If you don't keep the interior drive shaft greased properly, you will burn up the outside rubber cover. They have a forum for this machine and you can read all about the problems over there.

I wanted one of these since I first read about it. But the more research I did, the more I realized what a nightmare this system can become.

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