Author Topic: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop  (Read 2245 times)

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Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« on: March 01, 2021, 08:42 PM »
I thought I would start this thread to hear what others have to say about the various CNC Routers out on the market now and those coming out soon.

Currently I am looking a the Avid CNC 2x4 (or possibly the 4x4) and the X-Carve Pro 2x4.

Why only 2x4? I figure most of my work will be not require an active area greater than that and I have limited space in my shop to put a bigger machine. I don't want my shop to become a CNC room with some woodworking machines stuffed in the corners, actually it should be the other way around where the CNC would compliment normal WWing processes.

Time to buy? Some time in March 2021 I hope. Only hold back is which one. I have the money set aside for this purchase so that is not an issue. The X-Carve Pro 2x4 is about $7500, so this deserves some serious noodling.

I am interested in what others may have now or considering and why you bought what you did, how you use it, etc. And also what machines you considered and scratched off your list.

What do I see myself making with a CNC. Good question, not sure where I will end up but making cabinet parts, jigs, mostly from plywood I would expect. I like the X-Carve tiling feature which lets you work on pieces bigger than 2'x4' but I suspect that is more software than the machine, so other machines might have that capability too.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

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Offline neilc

  • Posts: 3013
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 09:21 PM »
One thing to consider is the software side - getting a design into the tool, and getting what you want out of it.  I have done G-Code and Mach3 controllers on a metal CNC and it’s a real challenge to learn all there is to know starting with something like Fusion 360 and getting it to work consistently.

I have found Inventables and their software to be on the right track - keeping it simple, but making the user productive.  I currently use a Shaper Origin and like it for it’s relative simplicity and small footprint.  It along with the workstation has given me a lot of capability in a small package for under $3K.

I have been looking at the Avid and X-Carve.  I’d suggest you get involved in each of their forums on their sites and observe what others are doing and see if you are comfortable with their tools, techniques and learning curve.  ANY of these tools has a learning curve and it’s probably the biggest challenge after the cost and the space!

2D vs 3D may be a consideration as well.  You can do a lot with 2D but in time you might want to add more interest to your work and explore 3D. 

If you have not done so, check out Frank Howarth on YouTube.  He does a lot with CNC and is one of the most talented guys I’ve seen in taking an idea and executing it with a CNC.  I believe he might be using a 5x10 Avid.


Offline Kevin C.

  • Posts: 169
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2021, 10:57 PM »
I have had a Shapeoko XXL for a bit over a year. Cutting area is about 32x32x3. Zero complaints with it for what it is.
 Before I pulled the trigger on it I was between the Xcarve and the Shapeoko. The software for it was pretty easy to learn.

Offline WillAdams

  • Posts: 86
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2021, 11:00 PM »
The Avid and X-Carve are two very different classes of machines.

If you're considering the X-Carve, have you considered the Shapeoko? The v2 of it was the machine the X-Carve was forked from, and it has gone on as a tabula rasa design with many improvements, both out of the gate when it was launched, and in the six or so years since then.

The company which makes it (which I work for) and at which the machine designer, Edward R. Ford is a partner has a page comparing the twain:

https://carbide3d.com/vs/shapeoko-vs-xcarve/

Since then, we've developed a new Pro model, currently available in the XL (in stock) and XXL sizes (should be coming back in stock this week at least for a bit).

Carbide 3D (the company) is notable for developing all the software beyond the firmware itself --- we use Grbl and fund its development --- which allows for a synergy w/ accessories such as the BitSetter (which we've made an integral part of the Pro) and the BitSetter and BitRunner (more stock on those tomorrow at 7AM PST), and Carbide Create is simple to use to a fault.

I wrote up some about the basics of it at:

https://willadams.gitbook.io/design-into-3d/2d-drawing



Offline Oldwood

  • Posts: 455
  • Alberta, Canada
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2021, 10:34 AM »
Another option is the Camaster. They are well made but at the top of the price range you are looking at.

https://www.camaster.com/cnc-routers/stinger-series/stinger-i/
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
Confucius

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2021, 10:38 AM »
Thanks everyone for the responses posted so far. I look forward to hearing more opinions and your first hand experiences with various machines and software.

I have been looking at the X-Carve Pro with the 2HP spindle, not the original X-Carve.

On the software topic I am OK with using Sketchup to model projects and some formal training with AutoCAD 2002 years ago, but no expert and will need to learn Fusion and Mach4 or Easel. That will all be new so a learning curve there for sure.

Yes, I plan to join their user groups/forums and monitor and ask questions. That's where you usually find out what works and what doesn't. And that's exactly what I found out about the SnapMaker 2.0. Lots pf promises and much of it still WIP. That could be for many reasons with current conditions but the infrequency of responses and repeated postponement of release of accessories that truthfully should have been part of the initial package troubles me. Case in point - there is no E-stop button and since it's a LASER and a CNC not just a printer I think it should have one. Both have the capability to cause serious injury much faster than a hot print head or heated bed can. And it seems the print bed has issues with warping when heated. A new support for the bed is on the way out but no news as to if they will offer upgrades for existing machines or not. If I do choose to get a 3D printer it will be a stand alone machine.

The only thing putting a rush on my decision is the reduced price of the X-Carve Pro ends the end of this month (March), then the price jumps a few K and if I don't make my decision by then I think that will rule out the X-Carve for me on price alone as I can't justify that amount of cash for what is basically a hobby with some occasional sales/commissions to friends and family.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 10:50 AM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 3013
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2021, 10:42 AM »
I really wonder if XCarve Pro price 'increase' can go up that much.  The current 'discounted' price is competitive with other models.  They have been running 'deal prices' since they released the XCarve Pro last fall.  I debated the XCarve Pro last fall and decided to wait and see what real user reviews say.  Prices have not increased that much in spite of the warnings that they will.


Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2021, 12:23 PM »
I agree, the price of the X-Carve Pro is at the high end now for what it is I think.
At $10k it will have outpriced itself.

I tried to put together today some info on the X-Carve Pro and the Carbide 3D machines. I need to grab the same info for the Avid machine in the comparable size.

Carbide 3D XXL Pro / X-Carve 1000mm / X-Carve Pro 4x2

I tried to dig up the same info on each of these three machines.
I did not find a PDF copy of any of the manuals. This bugs me as you can't read through the detailed assembly instructions or find out what the maintenance schedule is or the warranty, what's included, how well the manual is written and probably a half dozen other things I'm forgetting right now.
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Specs for XXL Pro w/Carbide compact router - $2880 + $65 for Sweepy Dust Boot

Availability: Currently showing as SOLD OUT, not in stock as of 3/1/21

Features:
15mm Linear rails on every axis
15mm Belts
Inductive homing switches
New electronics
Integrated t-slot table
Fully-supported Y extrusions
Integrated BitSetter
Leadscrew-driven Z-axis
Precision-machined aluminum end plates
New, more rigid 65mm router mount
Sweepy 65mm V2 dust boot

Warranty: SHAPEOKO 3 12-MONTH LIMITED WARRANTY
SAVE THE ORIGINAL SHIPPING MATERIALS FOR WARRANTY REPAIR.
You are solely responsible for the cost of shipping the part to Carbide 3D for any damage during shipping. For all valid warranty repairs, Carbide 3D will pay for return shipping to you. If your part does not qualify for warranty repair, then Carbide 3D will notify you and require a credit card payment to cover the cost of shipping the part back to you.
https://carbide3d.com/policy/warranty/#shapeoko

Shipping and delivery:

Cutting Area: 33"(X) x 33"(Y) x 4"(Z)
Footprint: 50" (X), 42" (Y), 19" (Z)
Weight: 175 lbs

Spindle: Carbide Compact Router or Makita RT0701C

What's included:
Shapeoko Pro
Carbide Motion control software
Carbide Create 2D CAD/CAM software
Assembly tools
#201 .25" Flat Endmill
Qty 12, M6 T-Nuts

Instruction manual available to view/download online?: NOT FOUND

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Original X-Carve 1000mm - $2299
[I am NOT interested in the original X-Carve, only included for comparison]

Availability: Currently showing as available for order as of 3/1/21

Features:

What's included:
X-Carve
Wasteboard
Rail Kit
Drag Chain
X-controller
Stepper Motors
Spindle Mount
Z-Probe
Dust Control(boot)
Homing Switches
Easel Pro (3 Year license, cloud based, not stand-alone)
Tool Kit
Clamp Set
Digital Calipers

Warranty: Because the X-Carve machines are sold as kits and require user assembly we are unable to offer formal service plans or warranties.

Shipping and delivery: Not included, location dependent.

Machine Footprint(1000mm rails)
X-axis: 1250mm
Y-axis: 1000mm
Z-axis: 350mm

Work Area(1000mm rails)
X-axis: 750mm
Y-axis: 750mm
Z-axis: 65mm

Weight: UNK

Spindle:
Model: DeWalt 611
Amps: 7.0Amps
Horsepower: 1-1/4HP
No load speed: 16,000-27,000rpm

Support for laser or drag knife?: No

Support for other software.
- Can I use Mach 3 or Mach 4?: Possibly directly with
  the appropriate drivers. But the GRBL based controller NO.

Instruction manual available to view/download online?: NOT FOUND

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X-Carve Pro 4x2 - $7,495.00 (25% OFF till 03/31)

Availability: Currently showing as pre-order for June 2021 delivery as of 3/1/21
https://www.inventables.com/presales/tech-specs


Finish: Powder-coated aluminum

Spindle & Cooling
Spindle Power:2hp (1.5kW)
VFD:Pre-Programmed
Cooling:Air cooled
RPM: From 1.5 kW spindle at 8000 - 24000 RPM
Collet:ER11-A with ⅛in and ¼ collets integrated
Accuracy:.001in

Gantry
Drive System:High-precision 25mm ball screws with linear guides
Motors:NEMA-23 with 292 oz-in
Gantry Clearance:5in

Dust Control
Includes:Dust shoe, hose, arm
Connects To:Most standard vacuum systems
Control
Connectivity:USB
Controller:Encased to minimize dust exposure; separate machine interface with Pause, Resume, and Reset button controls, Z-Probe connection point, and E-Stop capabilities
Power
120VAC +/-10% @ 60Hz +/-5%

Software Included
Easel Pro Included: 3 years
Tiling: Seamlessly carve larger than the carvable area
Graphics Library: 2 million+ royalty-free graphics

Software Compatible
Fusion360, SolidWorks, AutoCad, VCarve Pro, Aspire, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator

Carvable Materials*
Wood/Wood Composites:Hardwoods, softwoods, MDF, plywoods, etc.
Plastics:HDPE, Delrin®️, polycarbonate, acrylic, Corian®️, etc.
Non-Ferrous Metals**:Aluminum, brass, copper, etc.

Import File Types:G-Code, SVG, or DXF files from any software
X-Carve Pro bundle includes the following:

3 years of Easel Pro
1-year limited warranty
Controller
External controller (with start, stop, pause buttons)
Dust control system (hose, shoe, and arm)
Z-probe
Clamp sets (2)
Planing bit
¼” high-speed steel 2 flute upcut spiral bit
¼” shank V-bit
Assembly tools (4ft level, allen key set, torque wrench, metric hex bit set, metric socket set, 17mm wrench, square).

Work Area: (X Y Z):48in x 24in x 4in

Machine Footprint: 65.75in x 31.6in

Warranty: X-Carve Pro comes with a 1-year limited warranty that expires on the first anniversary of the date of delivery of the X-Carve Pro to you.
https://inventables.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/360093416214/X-Carve_PRO_1-Year_Limited_Warranty.pdf

Weight: 275 pounds

Shipping and delivery: The X-Carve Pro will ship via LTL freight in several boxes on a pallet with lift gate service included through our carrier. The size of the pallet is estimated around 72" x 48" x 50". 

Because lift gate service is included in the delivery we can conveniently deliver to both residential and commercial addresses and no dock is required.  Shipping is included for all US addresses, including Alaska, Hawaii, US territories and military bases.

Support for other software
Can I use Mach 3 or Mach 4?: UNK

Support for laser or drag knife?: UNK

Instruction manual available to view/download online?: NOT FOUND

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Avid Pro4824 CNC - Base Price $3650.00 - w/4HP spindle, controller, limit switches, and leg set $8677 including shipping

https://www.avidcnc.com/pro4824-4-x-2-cnc-router-kit-p-250.html

Availability: Orders for CNC machines are currently shipping approximately 12 to 14 weeks from the date ordered.


Features & Benefits
Premium linear motion components (profile linear guide rails, precision ballscrew Z axis, and our PRO rack and pinion drive system)
Rigid all-metal design (heavy-duty aluminum extrusion and steel plate construction)
Cable management (e-chain) included (standard)
Easy Step-by-Step Assembly Instructions
Proudly designed and supported in the USA by Avid CNC

Specs
Work Area: (PDF)
X: 49-1/2" (1257 mm)
Y: 24" (609 mm)
Z: 8" (203 mm) or 12" (304 mm) - minus spoil board thickness [1]

Footprint: (PDF)
Width: 67" (1700 mm) or 77" (1955 mm) with extended gantry [2]
Length: 40-3/4" (1035 mm)
Height: 43-3/8" (1100 mm)
        77-1/2" (1970 mm)(with optional Leg Kit)

Weight:
276 lbs (125 kg)
340 lbs (154 kg) (with optional Leg Kit)

Cutting Speed:
250 IPM (NEMA 23 version)*
500 IPM (NEMA 34 version)*

Rapid Speed:
500 IPM (NEMA 23 version)*
1000 IPM (NEMA 34 version)*

Drive System:
X/Y: PRO Rack and Pinion
Z: Precision Ballscrew

Resolution:
X/Y: 0.0005" (0.0127 mm)
Z: 0.0002" (0.005 mm)

Repeatability: +/- 0.002" (0.05 mm)

Accuracy: +/- 0.005" (0.127 mm) or better

*Using Avid CNC Electronics

What's included
This kit includes all of the parts needed to build the mechanical portion of a 4' x 2' PRO CNC machine:
Aluminum extrusion, cut to length, drilled, counterbored, and tapped for easy assembly
Profile Linear Guide Rails, Bearings, and Dust Covers
PRO X & Y bumper kits
PRO rack and pinion drives and PRO gear rack
Ballscrew Z axis
All required fasteners
Cable Track (E-chain)

In addition, PRO CNC kits are broken down and packed by sub-assembly, helping to make your build straightforward and organized:
Machine Base, 4' x 2' (CRP810-00-4824)
Machine Risers (CRP820-00)
Machine Gantry, 4' (CRP830-00-48)
Z-axis (CRP840-00)

Documentation
PRO CNC Assembly Instructions provide a full step-by-step
guide for building your PRO CNC Machine.
https://www.avidcnc.com/support/instructions/pro/

PRO4824 Footprint
https://www.avidcnc.com/dl/cad.pdf/PRO4824_dimensions-00003-cst.pdf

PRO4824 Work Area
https://www.avidcnc.com/dl/cad.pdf/PRO4824_workarea-00003-cst.pdf

Spindle options:
- 3HP Plug & Play Spindle/VFD system - $1695
- 4HP Plug & Play Spindle/VFD system - $1995
- 8.7HP Plug & Play Spindle/VFD system - $3925
- Adapter plates for most routers from trim routers
  to heavy duty 3-1/4 HP routers are available.

Support for other software
Can I use Mach 3 or Mach 4: Mach4 = YES
Also VCarve Pro, Aspire, Cut3D, Photocarve, SheetCAM

Support for laser or drag knife?: Drag knife kit available - $249

Instruction manual available to view/download online?: PDFs of everything are available online for download.

3/2/21 Edit: Added info below on Avid Standard 4824 CNC

What are the differences between the Avid PRO and Standard Series?

Our Standard series machines make use of affordable components such as Acme lead screws and radial bearings to provide an exceptional value. Our PRO series machines feature higher-performance components such as profile linear guides, precision ballscrews, and our PRO rack and pinion drive system. These differences yield some important practical advantages for PRO:

Easier to assemble and maintain
Increased precision, enabling superior part tolerance and finish quality
Stiffer machine, allowing for faster cutting and rapid speeds and greater z clearance under the gantry
Higher load capacity for larger cutting tools

The PRO series is also designed with expansion in mind, so smaller machines can easily be upgraded to larger work areas in the future.


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Avid CNC Standard 4824

CRP4824 4' x 2' CNC Machine Kit - base configuration - $2475
4x2 leg kit - $529
Plug and Play NEMA 23 CNC Control System - $1545
Auto Z/Corner Finding Touch Plate - $129


Features & Benefits
Rigid all-metal design (heavy-duty aluminum extrusion and steel plate design)
Dual drive rack and pinion for Y
Rack and pinion drive for X
Pre-assembled 5 start Acme Lead Screw Z-Axis
Easy step-by-step Assembly Instructions
Cable management (E-chain) included (standard)
Proudly designed and supported in the USA by CNC Router Parts

Specs

Work Area: (PDF)
X: 49-1/2" (1260mm)
Y: 25-3/4"(655mm)
Z: 8" (203mm) or 12" (304mm) Travel [1]
Gantry clearance: 6.5" (165mm) - minus spoil board thickness [2]

Footprint: (PDF)
Width: 71" (1805mm)
Length: 42-1/4"" (1075mm)
Height:
33" (840mm)
66" (1680mm) with optional Leg Kit

Weight:
320lb (145kg)
384lb (175kg) with optional Leg Kit

Cutting Speed:
200 IPM+ (NEMA 23 version)*
400 IPM+ (NEMA 34 version)*

Rapid Speed:
600 IPM+ (NEMA 23 version)*
1000 IPM+ (NEMA 34 version)*

Drive System:
X/Y: Standard Rack and Pinion
Z: ACME Lead Screw

Resolution:
X/Y: 0.0005" (0.0127 mm)
Z: 0.00025" (0.008 mm)

Repeatability: +/- 0.003" (0.076 mm)
Accuracy: +/- 0.005" (0.127 mm) or better

* Using CNC Router Parts electronics. Appropriate feedrates depend highly on material, depth of cut, cutting spindle and tooling.

What's included
This kit includes all of the parts needed to build the mechanical portion of a 4' x 2' Standard CNC machine:
Aluminum extrusion, counterbored and tapped for easy assembly
Pre-drilled cold rolled steel rails for X & Y axes
Standard X & Y bumper kits
Linear motion components (linear carriages, connecting plates and risers)
Drive components (gear racks, rack and pinion drives, rack clamps)
5 Start Acme Lead Screw Z-Axis
All fasteners required for assembly
Cable Track (E-chain)
Spoil Board fasteners

In addition, our Standard CNC kits are broken down and packed by sub-assembly, helping to make your build straightforward and organized:
Machine Base, 4' x 2' (CRP110-00-4824)
Machine Risers (CRP120-00)
Machine Gantry, 4' (CRP130-00-48)
Z-Axis (CRP1040-00)

Spindle options:
- 3HP Plug & Play Spindle/VFD system - $1695
- 4HP Plug & Play Spindle/VFD system - $1995
- 8.7HP Plug & Play Spindle/VFD system - $3925
- Adapter plates for most routers from trim routers
  to heavy duty 3-1/4 HP routers are available.

Support for other software
Can I use Mach 3 or Mach 4: Mach4 = YES
Also VCarve Pro, Aspire, Cut3D, Photocarve, SheetCAM

Support for laser or drag knife?: Drag knife kit available - $249

Instruction manual available to view/download online?: PDFs of everything are available online for download.
https://www.avidcnc.com/instructions-configuration-c-44_37.html

STD CNC Assembly Instructions: https://www.avidcnc.com/support/instructions/standard/

« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 03:37 PM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 532
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2021, 12:52 PM »
@Bob D. thank you for doing the research.  What is the size of the cutting area on the XCarve 4x2 . Is it 4 feet by 2 feet? and how much thickness?
Vijay Kumar

Offline WillAdams

  • Posts: 86
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2021, 01:04 PM »
Manual for the Shapeoko XXL Pro at:

https://docs.carbide3d.com/assembly/shapeoko-pro/xxl/Shapeoko_Pro_assembly_guide_02-05-2021_v1_web.pdf

The XL is in stock, but we're still working on the manual, the XXL should have another batch put up this week.

Also see: https://blog.carbide3d.com/2020/mistakes-are-on-us/ (which is mostly a formalization of how we've always worked w/ folks)

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2021, 01:42 PM »
I added additional info above for the X-Carve pro 4x2 including the work area and footprint.

Thanks for the links Will. I looked but could not find that. I know you said the XXL was to be available very soon, I was just documenting what was shown on each site now.

I also forgot to add some screen shots so here are those.

Added info for the Avid PRO4824 machine. I think I might have missed a couple required pieces in my shopping cart.

All of these will require a phone call to get answers I think, but the Avid machine for sure will.

Right now it's not too cold out and I want to get in the shop and get some pieces pre-cut for another potting bench I am building.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 03:41 PM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline koenbro

  • Posts: 80
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2021, 11:08 PM »
I have the Avid Pro 4824 and it’s a very fine machine. Recently upgraded to plasma with water table and torch height control.

I do not regret the purchase, and would happily buy again.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
MFT/3 • TS 55 REQ • Carvex PS420 EBQ + Accessories • OF1400 + LR32 + MFS400 • Domino DF500 • AvidProCNC 24x48" • ETS EC150/5 EQplus • DTS 400 REQplus • CXS • CT 26E • Fuji Q4 + 3M PPS

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Looking for Metric Ball End Hex Wrenches
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2021, 07:58 AM »
In preparation for the upcoming assembly of whatever CNC I choose (but leaning toward the AVID at this time) I believe I could benefit from a set of ball end hex wrenches in either 1/4" hex drive or 1/4 or 3/8 square drive.

First order of business is look at the assembly instructions and see what the tool list is so I know what sizes I need. I would hazard a guess and say there are probably two or three sizes for the range of fasteners used. I could get just the few I need or a set. Doesn't seem like something I would use often so maybe just those needed to assemble and maintain the CNC.

One video I watched on assembling the AVID CNC suggested using long shaft metric ball end hex drivers with a cordless drill/driver or impact wrench.

I haven't found a source for those yet. Anyone know of a source in the US?

The AVID PRO4824 instructions list the following metric ball end hex wrenches:
2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm

I have all those sizes covered in standard metric L wrenches, do I really gain that much in assembly time using a driver.



Edit: I should have looked at McMaster first. I found a set with 1/4" hex drive but they also sell individually.

https://www.mcmaster.com/catalog/127/3019
« Last Edit: March 09, 2021, 08:17 AM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?


Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2021, 12:08 PM »
Thanks, I know I mentioned 1/4 or 3/8 square drive but I would prefer 1/4" hex drive as I can use those with my Wiha in/oz Torque Driver in the future.

https://www.wihatools.com/torque-control-drivers-handles-blades/itorque-60-120-in-oz-with-1-4-bit-holder
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 264
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2021, 12:16 PM »
You can drive these with a screwdiver or a 1/4" drive ratchet with the right socket to fit the shanks.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Screwdriver-Shank-Length-2-5MM/dp/B07V52WCBS
« Last Edit: March 09, 2021, 12:19 PM by Packard »

Offline squall_line

  • Posts: 180
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2021, 12:20 PM »
The thing I would be leery about with the McMaster version is the shaft thickness.  Most T-handle or 1/4 - 3/8 square drive sets have a shaft the same diameter as the ball tip, which makes it easier to reach fasteners that are only accessible through a tight space or through a hole in the body of the machine.

The picture that Packard posted helps with this concern considerably.

I have a set of 3/8 square drive long-shaft ball-head bits from Harbor Freight that I've been using for years for assembly/disassembly on my motorcycle.  Even without a drill, they make the job a breeze and they were cheap enough that even if I never use them for anything else, they were worth it.

Offline bijeshj

  • Posts: 200
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2021, 12:46 PM »
You can drive these with a screwdiver or a 1/4" drive ratchet with the right socket to fit the shanks.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Screwdriver-Shank-Length-2-5MM/dp/B07V52WCBS


They work well in the drill - but broke a couple using the impact. Haven't been able locate impact rated versions on Amazon

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 977
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2021, 12:58 PM »
Something I learned from motorcycle wrenching is to never final tighten allen head bolts with any significant torque with a ball end allen socket. Too many stripped out allen heads. I use a swivel head and a straight allen socket for final tightening if it's in a weird spot.
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Offline Packard

  • Posts: 264
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2021, 01:16 PM »
The only time I've ever used a ball end allen wrench was the one that came with the TSO parallel guides.  And those did not have to be much more than finger-tight.

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2021, 08:56 PM »
Thanks, some good points brought up on the various styles.

Yes, ball ends are not good for achieving final torque, need to keep that in mind.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Bernmc

  • Posts: 78
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2021, 04:55 AM »
I'm waiting for my Avid CNC pro to arrive. Chosen because:
-Good rep. Hard to find a lousy review.
-Involved company, willing to chat and work through questions (not great at email, but sat on a zoom call and got it all done).
-Format: eg 4 x 2 is 4ft across, 2 deep - the opposite of something like the Axiom or Hammer which are long and narrow. Would fit nicely against the wall and not poke out into the shop and hog the room. 4 x 2 will handle sheet goods, and you can tile/feed sheets through if they're longer than the machine.
-And the real deal-breaker for me: Expandable. You can start with 4 x 2 if space is a problem, and add and add and add as you grow. 4 x 8... 4 x 12 etc. Just make sure you start off with a future-proof Z height (and the wider 5 ft format if you're going to need the extra).

Robust (expensive!) 4th/rotary axis available now, and I believe an auto tool changer is in the works. Because the machine is modular, it should be easy to upgrade.

It takes around 3 months from order to delivery, so take that into account.

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2021, 05:57 AM »
I'm waiting for my Avid CNC pro to arrive. Chosen because:
-Good rep. Hard to find a lousy review.
-Involved company, willing to chat and work through questions (not great at email, but sat on a zoom call and got it all done).
-Format: eg 4 x 2 is 4ft across, 2 deep - the opposite of something like the Axiom or Hammer which are long and narrow. Would fit nicely against the wall and not poke out into the shop and hog the room. 4 x 2 will handle sheet goods, and you can tile/feed sheets through if they're longer than the machine.
-And the real deal-breaker for me: Expandable. You can start with 4 x 2 if space is a problem, and add and add and add as you grow. 4 x 8... 4 x 12 etc. Just make sure you start off with a future-proof Z height (and the wider 5 ft format if you're going to need the extra).

Robust (expensive!) 4th/rotary axis available now, and I believe an auto tool changer is in the works. Because the machine is modular, it should be easy to upgrade.

It takes around 3 months from order to delivery, so take that into account.

Yes, those are all the reasons I have been leaning toward the AVID Pro 4x2. Glad to hear I am not alone in my thinking in these areas. Right now I don't have room in my shop for a 4x4 or larger footprint machine but I could make some space for an occasional job that didn't fit within the 4x2's workspace by rearranging a few tools temporarily. And since we may be moving in a year or 2 to a place where I would have more space and be able to expand the footprint if I wanted to having the expansion capability would be a plus.

I have an instrument cabinet (see photo) that I would like to use to house the controls in place of having everything in those two boxes under the machine. It has enough space believe and would be easier to get to everything if need be. I know you don't have to fiddle with anything in those cabinets during normal use but this also fits with my plan to set the machine up on a bench which I believe is large and sturdy enough to support it and not use the AVID leg set. The frame of that bench is welded up from 2-1/2" x 1/4" angle and weighs at least 300#. This would take a little more space than stuffing everything under the CNC bed but I think it fits in better with my current shop. I would probably still buy the leg set so I would have it for the future or if using my existing bench doesn't work out the way I envision it will.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2021, 06:49 AM »
@WillAdams

On the XL or XXL, how easy is it to tile a job. If my workpiece is longer than the machines Y travel cutting area but fits within the between the rails (X travel) can I complete the job in sections by tiling? Not something I would want to do with any regularity but if/when the need arises can it be done is my question and does the software have the ability to do this.

Why are the BitRunner and the BitZero no longer available, and the BitRunner says you have no plans to make more.

     "We've decided to make a limited run of this accessory (again), so buy
     while there's inventory cause once it's gone, there will not be another
     batch. No seriously, this is the last batch."


The BitRunner (to me) should be included with the machine, even if it means bumping the price up by $40 or whatever. Same for the touch plate (BitZero). Whether they are included on other brands is not the issue, unless you're trying to be one of the crowd and not stand out as a complete, turnkey system, no "nickel and diming" is what you say in your comparison to the X-Carve right?

The comparison you linked to says:

   "We do everything we can to make sure that no customer will ever regret buying a machine
    from Carbide 3D.
".

I guess that is true because if I know there are(were) accessories that I think are important to my purchase decision out there that are NLA why would I buy from you to begin with? So I  guess that makes your statement correct; there will be no regret if I don't buy from you.

I don't understand the reasoning behind dropping the BitRunner. It seems like something that just about everyone would want as part of their machine. Was there a patent or some other IP issue? Did it underperform or have other problems? The explanation given on your site gives very little detail, just that you decided to stop offering it. For any other machine that offers a spindle (which you don't apparently), the ability to start/stop the bit is included.

   "But, one thing led to another and we overthought it and ended up over-engineering it.
    The BitRunner works well, but it’s not what we had initially envisioned. For those customers
    who want the ease of turning the router on and off via G-Code without having to reach for
    the router each time, this is for you."


That's your right of course and you don't have to explain it any further than you already have I guess. Just leaves me wondering what will disappear next month or next year. That's not to say any other company might (or would) do the same.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline WillAdams

  • Posts: 86
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2021, 09:15 AM »
The BitRunner v1 was a limited release because it was decided that there was going to be a v2, but we'd use it to test the waters. See:

https://blog.carbide3d.com/2020/bitrunner/

Alternately you can source a relay and wire it up pretty easily --- there are directions on a community-maintained wiki.

The BitZero is being included w/ the Pro line as well as the Nomad 3 (where it originated) --- folks who want it bundled should purchase that version. It not being included w/ the entry level units reflects folks who are price-conscious, or who do simpler work which doesn't require tool changes, or who use their machine intermittently/sporadically and only run G-Code files which have a single tool.

Unfortunately, the on-going supply chain disruptions of the global health crisis make any sort of product development and release a house of cards and are really hammering on the concepts of "just in time" logistics --- we have folks who are now doing nothing but attempting to manage the supply chain who would normally work on product development, and have changed our release/announcement policy to only discuss things which we have material in-house to fabricate.

I suspect that the reasons for the development of BitRunner v2 will become obvious when the new version is released.

For anything else, please contact the folks at sales.

EDIT: I will however, note that at this time we have never discontinued a product or accessory w/o a successor as indicated by the v2 products (Sweepy, BitZero)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 12:03 PM by WillAdams »

Offline Don T

  • Posts: 2043
  • Phoenix, Az
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2021, 12:30 PM »
Have you looked at the Stepcraft?  I don’t own one but I like that you can change heads to do milling/carving, 3D printing, laser, drag knife, and hot wire. So I can’t comment on the ease or complexity of getting from drawing to code. I just like the flexibility.
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Offline madjalapeno

  • Posts: 25
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2021, 12:49 PM »
As a complete novice to CNC for wood, I've been very happy with my Shapeoko XL.

Using it with Fusion360 and CNCjs
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Offline WillAdams

  • Posts: 86
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2021, 01:20 PM »
As a person who wrote a rather lengthy wiki page on converting a CNC router into a 3D printer, I will note that it gets rather tedious to clean up the machine well enough to use it as a 3D printer.

That said, swapping in a drag knife or laser engraver is quite simple on most, if not all CNC units. Folks have done various laser add-ons, but given the safety implications, this warrants careful consideration if a dedicated unit wouldn't be better.

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2021, 10:56 PM »
Thanks for the response Will. Nothing about the 2G BitRunner in the link you gave, which I did read before I made my earlier post.

Your response is the first I have heard of a next gen BitRunner, good to know.

Can you answer my question on tiling or working a piece larger than the machines cutting area? The CarveX Pro and some other machines claim to be able to do this.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline WillAdams

  • Posts: 86
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2021, 08:15 AM »
Yes, one can tile on any machine which has an open front/back.

It's just a matter of setting up the file in sections, and then making some witness marks/registration holes.

See: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Fabrication_Techniques_%26_Hardware#Tiling

Offline Oldwood

  • Posts: 455
  • Alberta, Canada
Re: Choosing a CNC Router For My Shop
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2021, 10:49 AM »
Thanks for the response Will. Nothing about the 2G BitRunner in the link you gave, which I did read before I made my earlier post.

Your response is the first I have heard of a next gen BitRunner, good to know.

Can you answer my question on tiling or working a piece larger than the machines cutting area? The CarveX Pro and some other machines claim to be able to do this.

Vectric software has this option. I have used it in the Aspire program, but I think it is available in Vcarve pro also.

You draw the file in the size you need, then input the size of the panel you want to use.

I have attached a photo of a sample I did to demonstrate the process.

I could have milled this in one piece but used the tile option for a presentation for a client.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
Confucius

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