Looking to buy this machine....opinions welcome

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skiprat

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Hi guys.
I have decided that I'm going to make customized pens or some other trinkets for all the staff and volunteers at my cancer clinic for Christmas. It will include a Shooting Star logo ( clinic's logo) as well as an awareness ribbon image.
I looked at just getting them done out, but think this could be a good investment. I also looked at Trophy Engravers but they are way out of my league, especially with a rotary attachment.
The mill above also has the option of a 5th axis attachment, but I'm not sure I need it.

If anyone has any opinions on this little Chinese machine, please say, good or bad.
To me, it looks ok. It's a chunk of money, but not expensive if it does as promised.

Thanks😊
 
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mredburn

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What is the work envelope size? Will you write the code? Do you know the accuracy/repeatability of the machine?
 

FGarbrecht

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I don't have specific familiarity with this particular machine but have a few comments as someone who has built and purchased machines (3d printers) using similar components using lots of parts imported from China. The precision of the machine is listed as 0.02 mm which is good enough for woodworking probably but depends on the runout of the spindle/collet/chuck assembly which doesn't appear to be listed, the rigidity of the z-axis assembly (looks to be robust aluminum construction from the pics) and the quality of the quality of the ball-joint-linear-rail carriage assemblies (no way to assess this from the description or pictures). Common issues affecting precision include backlash problems with the drive screw rods (not mentioned how much backlash there is and whether there is backlash compensation, may not be an issue for what you are doing) and precision and straightness of the drive screws. The steppers are probably adequate for woodworking, maybe OK for aluminum milling. I don't see mention of how you get your gcode into the machine (SD card probably, but may need a dedicated attached computer, perhaps i missed this in the description). The onboard command entry box for machine control is a style I personally don't like and it doesn't have a rotary encoder which I DO like, and the onboard LCD is TINY, so if you are old like me with bad eyes you may not be able to read it. Delivery time could be an issue if you are gearing up for Christmas - in my experience, delivery from China can take anywhere from a week to more than a month, and once the item is in the delivery country may sit in customs for a week, then add on delivery time to your specific location. If you aren't familiar with the process (item design, generating gcode, etc) there can be a pretty steep learning curve too.
If it were me, from the looks of this machine I'd be tempted to purchase, but only after finding some detailed reviews from users of the actual machine and getting a rock-solid return warranty if things don't work out. Also, in my experience, getting help/service with Chinese imports can be frustrating because of the distance and language barriers.
 

skiprat

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Thanks for the replies gents.
The work area is adequate....I may have to extend the distance between chuck and centre of the rotary attachment.
It comes with Mach3 and needs Windows Xp or 2000...no probs there. My son is a computer guru.
I have no doubt I will need to strip , clean and tweek, but the ball screws and reasonably decent size rails as well as the 2.2kw spindle appeal......
Like you said, the learning curve could be steep for a cnc novice, but I have a goal and I'm stubborn😊
Delivery could slow it down but there is an optional express delivery available...

Im not sure if the software is legit or a demo clone or something, but i think I could get around that.
The tiny readout doesn't worry me.....i think one is for the spindle control and the other info i could see on the computer screen........i think.

Thanks again

Any more thoughts or something i missed, please let me know..

I'll sweet talk the boss lady tonight and see if i can press the button😊
 

robutacion

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It's a nice looking CNC with a tall post for the head and that will allow you to work with considerable materials thicknesses, mine is more a flat bad CNC but the hardware and software locks identical, at AU$3,190 its a fair investment that if you manage to work with the software and all the settings you require to set it as you needs those machines are quite capable.

Best of luck,
Cheers
George
 

skiprat

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Contact Jeff Powell. I think he has one of these.
I will for sure... Good idea
I have loads of his blanks and even a special deep carved aluminium one, so if he did that on a similar machine it will suit.I

'Honey...... I think you deserve going out for dinner tonight....'😊
 

smik

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For software I recommend Vectric Vcarve Pro or Aspire, they have excellent rotary axis capability. Take a look at youtube videos by Roger Webb, he uses a 6040 cnc router and vectric software and many more items. If you have no experience with you can get some good ideas from him.
 

skiprat

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Thanks Stan, I have followed Roger's youtube channel for some time. He is a good teacher and talks in plain English.
I think for mainly financial reasons, I'll try and stick with the Mach3 for a bit. My initial requirements are pretty simple.

Bruce, looks like Jeff has fallen off the planet...I thought I had an email address for him but it must have been on an old machine. His website looks down and his PM bucket here is full. He hasn't been here since May last year.....
 

skiprat

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Well......that was worryingly easy.....:oops: the boss lady just said go for it, but don't let it grow dust..... So now it's ordered:)

Here's a prototype of a trinket I'm thinking of doing. It is a Secret Compartment key ring made from Titanium tube that I colour flamed. It has a hand drawn Shooting Star that I like because it's done by my wife and is hand made so all will be unique. The ends have a fine thread and have aluminium caps. A coloured boot lace will attach it to a key ring.

As it is a 'money carrier' , old tradition says you can't give a purse or wallet without a token of money in it, so there is a tightly rolled up £5 note with a cancer awareness ribbon. This one is Pink for Breast cancer. I'll put various colours. If the recipients have no need for the fiver, they can simply drop it in the collection pots around the hospital. But I'd prefer they kept it as a little emergency thank you.
The flamed effect and the star will wear off especially with keys banging on it, so we're playing with various clear finishes to make it last longer.
UK £5 are the lowest denomination note and are now polymer, so waterproof and the cellotape holding it rolled won't harm it. The ribbon is CAd to the tape.


If this is the route I go down, then please don't remind my darling wife that I don't need the machine right now.......:eek:
 

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budnder

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... I'll try and stick with the Mach3 for a bit...
FYI - I have Mach3 on my CNC router and wasn't aware you could do much of anything without using another piece of software (e.g. Vetric for engraving, Fusion 360 for modeling, etc.) to generate the g-code for Mach3. There's a couple of little utilities in Mach3, but they are for really simple things like "cut a circle", or "surface some stock".
 

BRobbins629

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Let me know if you need some gcode, how I convert xy to radial, and sources for bits if you need. There’s a lot that can be done writing your own code once you get the hang of it. A good way to occupy your mind.
 

skiprat

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Roy, I believe you are correct....I'll probably need both . I'll see which one i think I'll be absorb quickest from the the demo versions and see how it goes. Fusion 360 has a big following and seems to be the leader.

Bruce, yes, writing my own code is a goal. I expect that it would be easier with text or geometric shapes but if it can be done for a simple image, that would be cool. Thanks for the offer. Once I've had a go and get stuck, I'll take you up on that kind offer.😀

I can actual start the learning curve now, while waiting for the machine delivery.
It's 3.30am here and one of my meds keeps me up like the Duracell Bunny all night, so plenty of time😀

Thanks again
 

darrin1200

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That is a cool little machine Skip. I have an X-Carve CNC router.
Unfortunately, Vectric trial, is just that. With the demo version, you can play with the software, but you can’t output your projects to the machine. You can only output their demo project to make sure it will work with you machine.
Fusion 360 is a very good and popular option, but has a steeeeeeep learning curve, unless you are fairly well versed in CAD/CAM software. I tried it, but just did not have the time to dedicate to learning it. It is free for a beginning business, which for them is earning under $100K. You just need to reregister each year.
I ended up with V-Carve Pro, because I got a discount with the purchase of my CNC. It works for me, because it cut 3D, and rotary. However, if you want to make 3D designs, you need to get Aspire. I couldn’t afford giving my left arm at the time, so this was out. Creating 3D is why a lot of guys go Fusion 360.
 

budnder

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I have used Fusion 360 for a dozen projects and find it very capable, but a huge time suck... it just seems to take me forever to get my model developed. Yeah, learning curve on my part, no doubt, but, even so, I find it (Fusion) easier than other 3D tools I've used. I had a project that was mostly engraving, and did some of the Vetric demos and found them much easier to use than Fusion. I was prepared to plunk down the money for one (V-Carve Pro also, I think), and the project fell through, so never pulled the trigger on it. But, for something engraving heavy, I'd suggest starting with one of the Vetric demos and see what you're able to do with it before investing too much time in the free Fusion. Just my two cents... :)
 

skiprat

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Thanks guys, yes I looked at the Vectric Aspire online demo lesson and I think I could manage that....but its pretty spendy. I couldn't justify that much more investment. If the machine turns out to a good one, then I'll probably reconsider. 😀
 

darrin1200

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Yeah, Aspire is astronomically expensive. But you only really need aspire if you want to draw 3D files, otherwise V-Carve works perfect. I think from the size of the machine you are looking at and what you seem to want to do, you only need V-Carve, not V-Carve Pro. That cuts it in half, down to £330.

Good luck with the buy
 

TonyL

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Buy the one you think will serve your needs...life is very, very short and you are very skilled craftsman. You will make it serve your needs.
Just my silly opinion.
 

skiprat

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Darrin, I agree...I think the V carve would work. I'll have to look into it more though coz I definitely need to do rotary engraving/carving. But I think there is a 'wrapping function' in V carve that may do it. Have to study up some more. Thanks

Wow Tony.... LOL, let's hope that it's not THAT short for a bit hey?? :oops:;)
 

jttheclockman

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Boy I wish I knew one little tidbit of what the heck you are talking about :) Have no clue and never will. I will continue using my Jet wood lathe and hope to produce a few Wow pens and things. Good luck with your purchase and hope you show some exciting projects as you learn on it.
 

skiprat

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Well it has arrived !! 😁 Safe and sound, well packed and no damage. Good news is it managed to clear customs and excise without cost and also no handling fee from local shipper. Good news. Only one minor issue is that the rotary axis has a too small plug for the socket. No biggie, I can just get a new one of Amazon for a couple of quid.

All in all I'm impressed. Now to learn how to use it........😁 Oh....and somewhere to put it ;)
CNC 1.jpg
CNC 4.jpg
 

budnder

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Have fun. I'll be interested in your take on the workflow you settle on. I just finished a 4th axis for my CNC and am trying to tackle a filled, detailed, engraving with it over the next week. I may be complicating my life by insisting on the result being properly turned (e.g. not simply a flat cylinder, but with varying diameter as you would turn by hand). I have both Vectric Desktop and Fusion, so my first take was to model up a slightly oversized solid body in Fusion, then bring that into Vetric to model the engraving (extra deep to account for the over-sizeness). To machine it, I'll start 'normally', gluing the tube in the blank, then have the CNC turn it/engrave it , then "tube in" cast it with Liquid Diamonds, then turn it by hand as normal. That's the plan, but I haven't tried it yet, so could be fraught with issues.
 
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