Registered: 1469155761 Posts: 4
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I am looking at purchasing a CNC router. What I was hoping to make were wooden wheels mainly, but reading through the posts it might not be a bad idea to make some templates for my router table (when I get it completed). I see some CNC routers on ebay for around AU$600. Are they any good or just junk? Can I cut wheels with rounded edges on both sides (inner and outer if that makes sense)? Can I cut "tread grooves around the wheels"? If this is possible would I need a 3 axis or 4 axis?
Registered: 1431169272 Posts: 933
Registered: 1431612165 Posts: 4
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Yes wheels are certainly possible on a CNC but....owning one to do just wheels is probably not a good use of your money. You can buy a lot of wheels for the cost of a CNC...any CNC. To own one to do toys and many other projects now is a different story. Is a $2000 machine junk....who knows except the person who owns it. My guess is it has some pretty big limitations and you will grow dissatisfied very quickly. My advice is do your research, ask lots of questions on CNC forums, and do your research.
The attached images where crated in Vectric's Aspire software (not by me). The single pic is a 3 !/2 spoke wheel and the other is an array of 2" wheels. You can go to the Vectric web site and then to their forum, search for wheels and you will find many very creative folk who willingly share their work. These are two that I downloaded for my use. They can be easily resized and modified to suit your purposes. Before one heads into the CNC world you need to know that the CNC (like any other wood working equipment) is just the beginning. You need software to generate the code to drive the CNC. Some come with the basic software and others don't so do your research. Aspire for example is $2000 with yearly upgrade that are $400 to $500. They have other versions...VCarve and Vcarve Pro which are much cheaper (cut down versions of Aspire). You can download any or all of them and try them. Some CNC companies include VCarve with their machine. There are other pieces of software on the market....again do your research. In addition to software you are going to invest in router bits....generally not the bits you use for your regular router. Some will work but most won't. CNC router bits cannot have a bearing on the tip, and you can't just remove the bearing and use it in a CNC. Bad things can happen. It is easy to go on and on so I will end here. Except to repeat what I have said in other post. John's plans port to Aspire quite nicely as it requires Vectors and PDFs are vectors. Remember tho' that router bits are round and don't cut square internal corners and even the smallest router bit (1/6") is not as small as a scrool saw blade. I have not done this before so lets see if this works. --George
Registered: 1431169272 Posts: 933
Reply with quote #4
I have gone through this process several times. I'm just thinking out loud here.
Most of the ready made ones are just way to big. The machine itself is very expensive, but the big expense is the floor space it requires. There are a few systems for sale that I would personally put in the junk category. I know two people who have built CNC machines. One of them not only built one but converted his commercial machine shop to CNC. Lathes, milling machines etc. I have 20+ years experience as an electronics technician and 30 years experience of computer systems administration. I have the computers to run the software a lot the required software already installed. I know and work with Linux everyday. I can build the electronic/electrical parts of a CNC router from a pile of parts. For me DIY would be the only way to go. For several reasons. I have the skill set and experience to do it. I get exactly what I want. I built it so I can fix it. The quality is my choice. I would use standard off the shelf components that are easy to source and easy to replace. It would be a fun project. I can build it any size I want. I've come up with a few requirements for myself. While I would love to be able to throw a 4x8 foot sheet of plywood on a CNC router this is not going to happen. I would have to build, buy or rent a building. The largest practical size I can come up with would be 2 ft x 4 ft the size of a project panel. Even that might be to large for my shop. The best size I can come up with for me would be just large enough to cut rocking horse parts out of a 2x12 or similar size sheet stock. My CNC would have to use a real router so I can use it for other things and repairs and replacement s would be easy. I like the 2.5 HP Hitachi routers. There might be a better choice but this seems like a good one. All of the software must be Linux open source. Proprietary software or Windows is a deal breaker for me. Even a small DIY CNC router is gong to cost $1000. So this is still on the wish list. Making wheels on a CNC may seem like a poor example if your only making four. Suppose you want to make a few hundred wheels that you can't buy. It took me an entire weekend to make 200 wheels like these: This would work great on a CNC machine only if it cuts smooth enough. Consider the large size Noah's Ark that is in the add on the bottom of the page. Adapt the design fo CNC and you could puts a sheet of Baltic birch plywood in the machine. Start it up and go to bed. One thing the small CNCs are good for is engraving. I've been looking at ways to personalize toys and this would do it.
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