Small 4 axis CNC recommendation

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Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
I am considering the purchase of a small CNC machine. I seem to be falling off the tech curve so I want to learn more about CNC machines and software. I always learn best when I have one in my hands.
The best I can determine is I am looking for an xyz of 400,600,50 mm and a water cooled spindle. Can anybody please advise, thanks
 

Dee2

Gene
Corporate Member
shopbot demo, NCFS Turners meeting, Saturday, 10:00am, immediately following a brief business meeting. We meet at the NC Furniture School in Ayden.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
shopbot demo, NCFS Turners meeting, Saturday, 10:00am, immediately following a brief business meeting. We meet at the NC Furniture School in Ayden.
Thanks but cannot travel outside of normal work hours. Does Shopbot offer 4 axis?
 

Bernhard

Bernhard
User
Thanks but cannot travel outside of normal work hours. Does Shopbot offer 4 axis?
Last I checked shopbot offers 2.5D. Shopbot is a 3 axes, rigid xyz machine, so can't do full 3D (no undercut possible). Just curious why you want 4 axes, that will run into quite a bit of money on the machine and software....
Bernhard
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Last I checked shopbot offers 2.5D. Shopbot is a 3 axes, rigid xyz machine, so can't do full 3D (no undercut possible). Just curious why you want 4 axes, that will run into quite a bit of money on the machine and software....
Bernhard
I assume the lack of the fourth axis would limit me to flat work and that I could not perform carving in the round. Maybe a machine that I could start with 3d and upgrade to a fourth would make sense
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
I am considering the purchase of a small CNC machine. I seem to be falling off the tech curve so I want to learn more about CNC machines and software. I always learn best when I have one in my hands.
The best I can determine is I am looking for an xyz of 400,600,50 mm and a water cooled spindle. Can anybody please advise, thanks
ShopBot will do 3D carving, and you can get a rotary indexer (think CNC lathe) addon for the 4th axis.

You're looking at roughly the ShopBot Desktop 24-18, don't see any reason you need a water cooled spindle, the router version is very good, I have the full size table with a router, and unless you are a full time production shop the spindle is an expensive upgrade (around $1200 more I believe on the Desktop) Add a 3" diameter indexer for $950 or a 6" Indexer (mas turn 8") for $2250. One of these days I'm gonna add one to my full size CNC, but most people have them and say they sit collecting dust, that they just don't see much need for one once the "fun" playing with phase wears off.

Call them up, and they'll invite you into the shop for tour and demo of the machines. Worth the trip.

And consider used, ShopBot supports them, and you can save $1000 to $2000 off new when they come available, just watch the ShopBot forums. I bought my full size used, 3 years old, and saved about 1/3 the price of new.

I assume the lack of the fourth axis would limit me to flat work and that I could not perform carving in the round. Maybe a machine that I could start with 3d and upgrade to a fourth would make sense
The new Vectric software supports two sided carving, so you can carve on both sides of a material. You design in the software, and carve one side, flip the material, and carve the second side.
 
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SteveHall

Steve
Corporate Member
Interesting this thread popping up now, I've just committed to 16 hours of CNC class next week and have been contemplating a design concept that requires it. (On the other hand, I'm still plugging away at fettling 100 year old planes, measuring 150 year old saws, and researching 200 year old work benches, go figure.)
 

Bernhard

Bernhard
User
ShopBot will do 3D carving, and you can get a rotary indexer (think CNC lathe) addon for the 4th axis.

You're looking at roughly the ShopBot Desktop 24-18, don't see any reason you need a water cooled spindle, the router version is very good, I have the full size table with a router, and unless you are a full time production shop the spindle is an expensive upgrade (around $1200 more I believe on the Desktop) Add a 3" diameter indexer for $950 or a 6" Indexer (mas turn 8") for $2250. One of these days I'm gonna add one to my full size CNC, but most people have them and say they sit collecting dust, that they just don't see much need for one once the "fun" playing with phase wears off.

Call them up, and they'll invite you into the shop for tour and demo of the machines. Worth the trip.

And consider used, ShopBot supports them, and you can save $1000 to $2000 off new when they come available, just watch the ShopBot forums. I bought my full size used, 3 years old, and saved about 1/3 the price of new.



The new Vectric software supports two sided carving, so you can carve on both sides of a material. You design in the software, and carve one side, flip the material, and carve the second side.
Yes, you are correct. Shopbot does offer the rotary attachment which will allow some additional movement and will be useful for rotational cutting. However, since the cutter is mounted rigid, the limit is still 2.5D.

...still I like to have one, it would be so much fun to play with a shopbot.

Cheers,
Bernhard
 

Bernhard

Bernhard
User
Last I checked shopbot offers 2.5D. Shopbot is a 3 axes, rigid xyz machine, so can't do full 3D (no undercut possible). Just curious why you want 4 axes, that will run into quite a bit of money on the machine and software....
Bernhard
Hey Phil,

Sorry, I told you something wrong: Shopbot actually does offer a 5-axis true 3-D machine. That is their newest offering. Sorry for the confusion.

Bernhard
 

riggsp

Phil
Corporate Member
I am considering the purchase of a small CNC machine. I seem to be falling off the tech curve so I want to learn more about CNC machines and software. I always learn best when I have one in my hands.
The best I can determine is I am looking for an xyz of 400,600,50 mm and a water cooled spindle. Can anybody please advise, thanks
Just my opinion...don’t limit yourself just to Shopbot while you’re shopping around...Shopbot’s a very good machine, but it uses it’s own proprietary language for programming instead of generic “g” code...that could have some potential limits if you happen to do any contract work for anyone that provides their own programs (it does happen)...water and air cooled spindles are priced at a premium because the are quieter, have larger bearings, and are made for long run cycles...I’ve run my air cooled spindle for over 3 hours on a single 3D part and the noise is basically only what the bit makes as it cuts...even though routers are used extensively (I used one for a long time before I got my spindle), they aren’t made to run for those long periods.

Again, not trying to shoot anyone down, just my opinion.
 
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tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
Yes, you are correct. Shopbot does offer the rotary attachment which will allow some additional movement and will be useful for rotational cutting. However, since the cutter is mounted rigid, the limit is still 2.5D.

...still I like to have one, it would be so much fun to play with a shopbot.

Cheers,
Bernhard
No, it does 3D, it will cut on 3 axis (X,Y,Z) at the same time. The carvings I've done on it are 3D.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Interesting this thread popping up now, I've just committed to 16 hours of CNC class next week and have been contemplating a design concept that requires it. (On the other hand, I'm still plugging away at fettling 100 year old planes, measuring 150 year old saws, and researching 200 year old work benches, go figure.)


Steve, do you wear your vest while working all of that in your shop.
 

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NOTW

Notw
Senior User
I just saw on Instagram that the north carolina furniture school just got a 4-axis shopbot and are doing a demo tomorrow morning at 10:30. seems like good timing
 

SteveHall

Steve
Corporate Member
(image)

Steve, do you wear your vest while working all of that in your shop.
Hey, Lewis Miller! I have a copy of that right behind me here in the office.

I don't wear all that any more, but I used to... proof from my firm's profile page from days of yore:



(Yikes, that is TMI and way off topic isn't it?)
 

Bernhard

Bernhard
User
No, it does 3D, it will cut on 3 axis (X,Y,Z) at the same time. The carvings I've done on it are 3D.
Basically, 2.5 refers to a surface that projects into a 3rd dimension, it is 3 dimensional but limited as there are no overhanging structures possible. Therefore it is refered to 2.5D. I.e. you can carve a mountain, but you wouldn't able to carve a cave into the mountain in the x, y plane. For that you need a 5-axis machine.
Shopbot recently came out with a 5-axis machine...unfortunately it in 40k range.

Bernhard
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
Phil,

You might want to consider a Digital Woodcarver 4-Axis system that runs a little over $5K. It was demoed a few years ago at the Klingspor's Extravaganza and is a fairly impressive machine. Here is a link to their website for a unit with Vetric's V-carve Pro software. No personal experience or involvement.
 
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