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ctowne

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Reply with quote  #16 
Very nice rocker.  I have reread this entire thread because if offers so much info.
Beginner

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Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #17 
Hi to all
I am in the process of purchasing a machine that has MACH3 software included, apparently this supports the following DWG, DXF, EPA, AI, PDF, BMP, JPG, TIF, GIF 
Would I be able to scale the drawings we get here to Actual life size and then get the cnc to cut out the bits as required?
Thanking You.
Beginner.
Mikestoys

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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #18 
I'm not sure what CAD / CAM  software are you going to be using with your machine, but most of them if not all have scaling option you can use to scale it to any size you need. Then its up to the size of your cnc table how big of pieces it can handle.

I'm not sure how much you know about cnc and making drawings ready to be cut, but once you can plans here in PDF format there is little bit of work you need to do with them to make them ready for cutting. Maybe they can start adding option do buy DXF soon as a lot of people are starting to use CNC.

What kind of cnc are you buying ? and What software if I can ask .

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RussJr

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Reply with quote  #19 
Beginner,
Like Mikestoys has said your machine runs on G-code that is compiled by a separate software package. There are lots of software packages out there, but my personal choice for features and price is V-carve Pro from Vectric. There is lots of help on their forums, not unlike this forum. 

You will find that you can either import the designs in vector art or a bitmap and then use a trace program (pain...). LIke others here I would like to have the toys offered in a DXF format which is easily imported into almost any software package.
Beginner

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Reply with quote  #20 
Hi Mikestoys & Russ Jr,
I am looking to buy the MakerLab (MX6090) 600mm X 900mm with extraction/vacuum bed and VCarve software.
I think the 600mm X 900mm should encompass most(if not all)of the toy plans on here(correct me if i'm wrong tho').
I think that answers both of you as to which m/c-software etc..
I have been looking at tutorials on metube, so hopefully it won't be tooooo sharp a learning curve ;-)............."Slowly slowly, catchy monkey" I suppose.
Beginner.
RussJr

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #21 
Beginner,
The size of the CNC for me has always a blend of space and affordability. I read a posting one time that said "It is much easier to make small things on a large CNC than to make big things on a small one." I too had originally looked at a machine with a smaller footprint such as the MX6090, but eventually purchased a larger bed that could accommodate a full sheet of plywood. I am glad that I did for a variety of reasons: Handles full sheets and longer boards and the bed doubles as an assembly table when not in use. I built in drawers to use any space that was wasted under the machine itself. I had a lot of reconfiguring of the garage to make it fit, but in the long run it was worth it to me. I would not limit myself to only considering one product line when purchasing the machine, for as your experience with the machine grows, so too will your aspirations.

The T-tracks on your machine will be essential as more often than not I clamp the materials by means of jigs and fixtures. Although I have a large vacuum pump, it is costly to run and is not suitable for most small items.

If the machine and toy manufacturing is strictly for pleasure and not profit, this will of course affect decision making. However, if profit is a mutual motive, then you may find a small machine limits your ability to take on outside work, which can easily offset the additional costs. I can personally attest to this having cut signs, cabinets and scrollwork for local businesses and contractors. Word tends to get around when you have one of these machines. Laguna CNC.jpg 

Russ

Beginner

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Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #22 
Some VERY good points there RussJr, and yes, profit is going to be the motive for going the cnc route, but I am working out of an 8' X 10' shed at the moment & not only that, but what was the cost of the bigger machine as opposed to the MX6090?
Beginner.
RussJr

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Reply with quote  #23 
I am unfamiliar with the MX6090, other than going to the website to look at it. So, not sure what the cost is. But, I'm sure the configuration of it will vary with component upgrades. My Laguna was "affordable" in light of the components that they offered at the time. However, "affordable" may be interpreted differently by one's economic circumstance and need. The base machine, delivered, setup and two days onsite training was around $35K US. That was nearly three years ago, and things have come down, but the vendors are packing features to keep the price point high.

The question remains as to whether it has paid for itself or not, and that is difficult to discern. I have definitely taken on work that I otherwise would not have been able to, so that income is easier to calculate. But, you'll find yourself doing things with the CNC that were previously done by traditional tools. So, there is an offset in the time taken to learn the new approach and the cost savings from doing it faster. So, that takes a while to figure out. Repetitive tasks are where CNC excels and your programs can be reused with little or no effort. My "feelings" are that I have still a ways to go to achieve a 100% return on investment. Although some of that is my doing, or rather NOT doing as I'm retired.

The size constraints of your shop are dictating the size of machine you can accommodate. You can always upgrade in the future, and small starter machines are always in demand (at least when I was looking to purchase). Then, when you're a bit more established and experienced you can then make an educated purchase on a larger machine. And, that is only if this machine proves to be inadequate to the tasks.

Good luck with your new venture.
Beginner

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Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #24 
Thank you RussJr.
Some very salient points, well explained.
I thik that due to my shed size, I will need to go with the smaller machine for the time being, and hopefully earn a few quid towards a bigger shed & then a bigger machine.
Thanks once again.
Beginner.
p.s. is there a great deal of difference between the V-Carve and V-Carve pro softwares, or would the toy plans we get here not justify any added expense &/or features on the pro version?
RussJr

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Reply with quote  #25 
Beginner,
The differences in software versions van be found herself: http://www.vectric.com/products/desktop-pro-comparison.html

Sine the CNC that you are looking at is larger than the maximum size of the Desktop version you would not be able to take full advantage of its capabilities. That said most of the toys have a smaller form factor and you may be able to forego the Pro version to get going. Ventric have a great upgrade policy with little loss of investment through the process.

I would go for the Pro if you are going to be making any of the "riding" toys which do have parts in excess of the Desktop's maximum size of 25"., or if making multiples of items where true nesting of parts would be beneficial. Tool loading templates and merging are largely features to speed up processing and smooth out workflow.

You can call the folks ar Vectric and they are extremely friendly and knowledgeable about their products.

Russ

PS
If you get the opportunity to attend one of their user classes your ROI will be manifold.
Beginner

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Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #26 
Cheers RussJr.
All of your points have been duly noted and now I will just need to wait for the machine package to arrive, THEN the fun & games will truly start ;-)
Thanks again for everybodies help in this query.
Beginner
Mikestoys

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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #27 
If you don't want to spend too much for the software there are free CAM programs or maybe cut2D would be enough. I personally use Vectric Aspire 8.5 as CAM only for any design work I use Solidworks. 
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