low cost CNC?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by WPLANE, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. WPLANE
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: LONG BEACH, CA

    WPLANE Junior Member

    Does anyone know of a source for a low cost 3-axis CNC mill capable of cutting foam/wood and with decent (8") z-axis travel?

    Thanks

    Tim
     
  2. mmd
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Bridgewater NS Canada

    mmd Senior Member

    A ShopBot ( www.shopbottools.com ) has a 6" Z travel, and they may have optional equipment to extend this. The standard model will handle a 4' x 8' sheet of ply, and they have a smaller benchtop model that will handle 2' x 3' sheets with the same Z-axis travel.
     
  3. Portager
    Joined: May 2002
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    Location: Southern California

    Portager Senior Member

    On the subject of CNC machines. Is anyone aware of a shop that does custom CNC on wood? My brother is thinking of getting one a Shopbot and offering CNC services and he is trying to figure out how much competition he would have.

    Do you think there would be much market for this kind of service?

    Cheers;
    Mike Schooley
     
  4. Polarity
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: UK

    Polarity Senior Member

    Hi Mike
    Don't know about local competition but I am going to have the interior of my new boat CNC cut, since I have it all in Cad anyway Its quite a bit of work to extract the dimensions - but I'm alot better with a mouse than a bandsaw!

    There is a Uk company that does it for example : http://www.cncrouting.co.uk/

    Paul
     
  5. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    This comes up now and again. I think the Shopbot is about the lowest priced complete kit 3 axis CNC router on the market. They will build you a kit to your needs. An 8” Z is not a problem. Other machines go up in price from there. Or you can build your own, from the many designs and save a bit more money. The low end machines use stepper motors and light weight frames. The industrial machines use heavy beds and servo motors. Just as important is the operating software and programming software. The software can range from $500 - $20,000. To cut flat panels in plywood for boats there is even some freeware available. As with all things you get what you pay for. I just spent 2 days at the IMTS in Chicago. I spent one whole day talking to CAM software people.

    Tim, if you have any specific questions just ask, and I’ll try to answer them for you.

    Mike, have your brother spend some time at the Shopbot forum. It is interesting to see a new owner come to the forum with start up trouble. Some work through the learning curve, others post the almost new machines for sale within 6 months. CNC is getting easier but it still isn’t easy. To make a living at it you’ll have to work hard.

    I will be glad to share any information I have about CNC routers. Just ask here or e-mail me at the address in my profile. :)

    Gary
     
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  7. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    And there are others. I don't endorse anyone. I do like the Shopbot forum.;)

    Gary
     
  8. snakefeet
    Joined: Sep 2002
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    Location: Savannah, GA, USA

    snakefeet Junior Member

    I don't know if you're looking for a mill or router - and I don't know much about routers. But I have heard good things about MaxNC http://www.maxnc.com/

    And if you have more time than money, you could homebrew a machine. There is a variety of sites out there like CNCkits http://www.cnckits.com/ and Home Machining & CNC http://www.ktmarketing.com/CNC.html that might help you along the learning curve. And don't forget google and ebay.

    Good luck & I hope it works out.
     
  9. WPLANE
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: LONG BEACH, CA

    WPLANE Junior Member

    Thanks for all the responses, the information has been very helpful.
    What I need is a low-cost system (<$2k) that will allow me to machine scale model hull plugs from foam. I would like to use 3-d geometry files from RHINO which can be translated to a number of formats for generating machine code, but probably .sat. We have developed a tow testing program that's inexpensive and seems to yield results which correlate well with full-scale data. So far, we've been building the models by hand which is time consuming and inaccurate. So what we need is a solution that will make economic sense-ie; not cost so much that we could have built a hundred hand-made models by the time we've invested in and climbed up the learning curve on the machine.

    The hobby-type kits seem like a potential inexpensive solution, but I don't want to get into a situation where I need to learn all the ins and outs of cnc machine design to make the pile of stepper motors and acme screws I bought into a working machine. :(
     

  10. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    Find a good shop in your area and contract out the plugs. You do what you do best, and they do what they do best. :)
    Gary
     
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