advice from cnc users

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srhardwoods

Chris
Senior User
I'm looking to get a cnc machine for my shop. Most likely around a 24x36 size, it will fit into my shop and the power requirements and costs are in range. Looking for advice from people who own, or operate these size units, and any pros and cons of manufactures and software. I'll most likely be doing small projects, signs and what not. Thanks for your help.

Chris
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Checkout ShopBot. Made right in Durham and great folks to deal with
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
One of our club members (Western NC Woodworkers Association) has a ShopBot Buddy, which is an excellent CNC machine in the size category that you are looking for. He is using it for a variety of production runs for his clients and is very happy with it. They are among the best in the smaller CNC industry and are US made in Durham, NC. He has a mid-sized model that will handle 48" square sheets (about $11,000 fully equipped and ready to run). Another of our members also has a 48" x 96" model that he has had for several years with very few problems. ShopBot offers training and excellent product support and there is a broad user base that has annual "camps" for user shared experiences.
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
Make sure you're getting the software with the CNC otherwise you might be really shocked if you have to buy it as an extra or option. The software can be finicky too. The experience I had with the ShopBot at WIA and KE was wonderful. I'd love to have one, but no way can I justify the cost. BTW, it was a Shopbot desktop unit. They also have the Handibot smaller unit.
Michael
 

Scott Marshburn

New User
Scott
I agree with Phil. Although I have never used a ShopBot they have a variety of sizes to suit just about every application. The Shopbot buddy is along the same size that you are looking at. They are also compatible with several cad programs like Vcarve Pro.
As with any major purchase do your home work! Based the specs that you posted I agree with the rest. Some very important things to consider are

1. How many hours per day will this thing be running.
2. Will you be using it commercially?
3. What do you plan to cut with it?
4. Will it be productive enough to pay for itself? If so do you have a market to keep it running?
5. Does it have an auto tool changer? If not how involved is it to change out the tools?

Just to name a few.

Make sure to see this thing in action. Not just a demo from the dealer but visit several shops that are using the machine that you are looking at purchasing. Be sure to talk to the operator. The operator will give you all of the pros and cons He/she works with this thing on a regular bases and should be able to give you an unbiased opinion.

As vtxmanmike stated. Make sure that you are getting the all of the software that will do what you are wanting to produce. When the owner of the shop that I work at purchased the machine we use there was a specific program that was not included in the package. Hind sight 20/20 he has commented often that if he knew this when he bought it he would have added it to the lease.

The best advice I have is. Make sure that the machine can and will pay for itself. Do not go overboard but at the same time don’t get this thing to only wish 6 months from then that you got something bigger.
 

Windy

New User
Windy
shopbots are great for hobby use, however I suggest getting a machine that is more heavy-duty, don't get a machine that has a router, make sure it has a spindle, vectric's software has the easiest learning curve for beginners, both shopsabre and cammaster make good machines. We welded and built our own machines for less then $6k that can run circles around most off the shelf cnc routers, if you had the time and resources that's the best way to go. We are gearing up to build our 7th machine after xmas and could always build a duplicate if you happened to stumble upon your stash of curly walnut :)

http://www.camaster.com/product/stinger-ii/
http://www.shopsabre.com/rc-series.html
 

EddieM

New User
Eddie
shopbots are great for hobby use, however I suggest getting a machine that is more heavy-duty, don't get a machine that has a router, make sure it has a spindle, vectric's software has the easiest learning curve for beginners, both shopsabre and cammaster make good machines. We welded and built our own machines for less then $6k that can run circles around most off the shelf cnc routers, if you had the time and resources that's the best way to go. We are gearing up to build our 7th machine after xmas and could always build a duplicate if you happened to stumble upon your stash of curly walnut :)

http://www.camaster.com/product/stinger-ii/
http://www.shopsabre.com/rc-series.html

I agree with everything mentioned here. We have a CAMaster Stinger 3, 4'x8' 3kw HSD spindle. We narrowed our purchase down to these two manufactures and I like what the CAMaster offered much better than Shop Sabre.
 

srhardwoods

Chris
Senior User
Thanks for all the advice and input. This for now, will be for my use but once I've learned the unit, I would like to incorporate it into our services we offer at the sawmill, along side S4S and molding/flooring services. One unit I do like so far, but limited knowledge is the Laguna

http://www.lagunatools.com/cnc/IQ_2

I've found a 2013 model used for 4k. I'll look at all the link above and do some cost/spec comparison. Thanks again

Chris
 

EddieM

New User
Eddie
Make sure you do your research!!! Support after the purchase is also important...your learning a lot of information at one time and need support.
 

srhardwoods

Chris
Senior User
I've had a more difficult time researching the CNC than I have my entire shop and sawmill....lord. I'm going to be in Durham on the 29th and 30th to visit shopbot....wish I could drive to GA to see the camaster. anyone in the durham area have a camaster that would care to spend an hour with me and share the pro's and con's?

Chris
 

EddieM

New User
Eddie
Its very simple. If you're every near the Charlotte area, give me a ring. I'll be glad to spend some time with you.
 

EddieM

New User
Eddie
We have a CAMaster Stinger III which is a 4'x8' 3 axis CNC. Has a full vacuum table for material hold down, 4HP spindle and a couple of cool do-dads and stuff!
 

srhardwoods

Chris
Senior User
well after months and months of analysis paralysis, I pulled the trigger on a CNC machine. Went with Camaster. Now the even more painfull part....waiting

Look forward to joining the CNC community and hope to learn a lot at it
 

EddieM

New User
Eddie
well after months and months of analysis paralysis, I pulled the trigger on a CNC machine. Went with Camaster. Now the even more painfull part....waiting

Look forward to joining the CNC community and hope to learn a lot at it

Fantastic! Your going to need some help...CAMaster has excellent support, and you can always ask me questions directly or use the forum! Very exciting, and the wait is the worst part. The ONLY thing I would do different in the whole process is to pick the machine up myself. It was a disaster going through road runner, and ultimately I ended up going to a facility with a roll back to pick it up myself. That's not CAMaster's problem or fault, but I would seriously think about picking it up.
 

srhardwoods

Chris
Senior User
I already told them I'll be picking it up and getting a half day of one on one with it. Looking forward to it. I got the

stinger II SR44
3kw (4hp) spindle
vacuum table
indexing lathe
aspire software
FTC tool
Laser

I'm sure I'll be pinging you from time to time Eddie, Thanks
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I already told them I'll be picking it up and getting a half day of one on one with it. Looking forward to it. I got the

stinger II SR44
3kw (4hp) spindle
vacuum table
indexing lathe
aspire software
FTC tool
Laser

I'm sure I'll be pinging you from time to time Eddie, Thanks
O.K. Chris - We expect pictures.... LOTS of pictures!
 
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