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Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?

Posted by caleb12134 
Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
July 06, 2014 08:22PM
Hi, I own a printrbot simple metal, and saw cnc milling, and of course want to get started in it. I found out about the shapeoko project and want to buy their second gen cnc mill (shapeoko2) but am not sure wether its the best "bang for my buck" if you know what I mean. I need a good, stable, accurate, cnc machine, while still keeping the beginner friendly part? I am willing to spend about 600-800 dollars on one? Also does anyone here own a shapeoko 2 that has any advice, reviews of it, pros/cons, suggestions? thank you for your time!
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
July 26, 2014 11:53PM
I think the ShapeOko is the best option, but I'm not what one would consider objective, since I wrote the first version of the assembly instructions and edit the wiki a fair bit.

I'd like to think that the wiki would address any concerns one might have about buying the machine --- is there something you're looking for but not finding?
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
July 28, 2014 03:01PM
If you poke around on the shapeoko forum, you can easily get the impression that they are addictive. Lots of posts about people upgrading, wanting to make it bigger or stronger. Add a better spindle, spindle control, home switches, etc. It can be never ending just as with 3d printers.

When I ask questions on the forum, I almost always get an answer in a very short amount of time. Lots of help. Great community, and I have seen quite a bit from WillAdams (thanks). If you went with a no-name chinese version you will be left with cnczone for support, which always has seemed lacking.

I don't think I've seen or read about too many people being upset they went with a shapeoko. I think its a solid investment and great to learn on and determine needs in the future, if any. Perhaps it will do all you want out of the box.
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
July 29, 2014 12:44AM
No no no no no. That is NOT a cnc mill. That is a .. micro version of a "gantry mill".. they are pretty much used to "precision" cut wood and very thin aluminum.
If you want a Real cnc mill capable of actually milling 6061 aluminum, steel etc probably the cheapest you can get away with is a harbor freight minimill converted to cnc. We used to do this with xylotex controllers and 150oz/in + steppers. I even have a spare xylo board but it's going to rot because im thinking ill switch it out for an arduino/ramps setup (with heavier duty stepper drivers). My total cost was probably around $1000. I think you could get away with $550-600 for the mill and maybe 200 in electronics etc etc etc.

Note: metal working gets Expensive FAST. Even if you were given a cnc mill .. it gets expensive (just price 2" thick 6061 or 7075 aluminum). Plus endmills etc etc.
Not to discourage you.. even though i have little time to use it any more my cnc mill is the favorite thing ive ever bought .. though maybe not now .. my prusa i3 is ADDICTIVE!
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
December 05, 2015 01:57AM
I have been using a Sherline CNC mill with stepper motors and a home brew controller for a few years now and am very happy with it. Just need to keep my projects under 4 inches so it will fit in the work area.
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
June 21, 2016 01:11AM

My printers:
-Makerbot TOM (#5215, circa 2011), MK6 extruder, ABS 3 mm
-HICTOP Prusa i3 (modded for auto-level, thread screws), ABS/PLA 1.75 mm

About me:
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
June 27, 2016 02:06PM
Those things are covered on the Shapeoko wiki:

- Software: [www.shapeoko.com]
- Endmills: [www.shapeoko.com]
- Materials: [www.shapeoko.com]
- Climb vs. Conventional Milling: [www.shapeoko.com]
- Dust Shoe: [www.shapeoko.com]
Re: Any suggestions for which CNC MILL to buy?
January 20, 2017 01:52AM
If this is your first foray into machining / milling you would probably be better buying a ready made (small) mill and converting it to CNC or even one of the small collage cnc mills and converting it to run with your own hardware / software (Mach 3 + PC is the most common). That gives a shallower learning curve IMHO and you will likely end up with a better machine.

My first go at 3D printing was to build a RepRap printer. I never got good results with that - so bought a ready built printer. Once I'd learned the 'art' of printing I've built several good printers. That's why I suggest learning the 'art' of milling first - then what you build will more likely be what you need and you'll be able to diagnose problems and get good results.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2017 01:53AM by SimonRafferty.
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