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View Jordan Curcio's profile

CNC Routers

by Jordan Curcio
posted 643 days ago


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51 replies

51 replies so far

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1018 days


#1 posted 643 days ago

Jordan, congrats on getting funding to teach students on cnc tools. This is a technology that was slow to come into woodworking, but is here for the long haul.

$30k isn’t a lot of money to spend for an “industrial” machine. It will get you a really nice hobbyist machine fairly readily. Due to the recent downturn in the economy, though, there are several industrial cnc routers on the used market that can provide a good value, but even $30k is a low price for those. $60k to $125k is more in the range of most I’ve seen.

If I were in your shoes, I’d be looking for a moving gantry machine (versus a moving table) since the footprint is smaller for the same size materials. That said, a moving gantry requires a more robust construction to be stable. I’d definately want an automatic tool changer, though it needn’t be a very sophisticatied one. An agreggate head for line boring might be nice, but not absolutely necessary. The ability to nest parts would be great, but simple programming in a point-to-point style machine might be enough to teach students basic programming skills.

Since this is for education, I might contact a manufacturer like C.R. Onsrud, or a distributer like Stiles Machinery and see if they will donate the balance of the machine and the rigging/setup for a tax writeoff. This has the benefit to them of making thier machines familar to the up-and-coming generation of woodworkers who will be buying thier machines in the future. They may have a demo machine (technically used) that they wouldn’t mind parting with for a deep discount.

Don’t overlook the electrical, air supply, vacuum supply and dust collection required for an industrial machine. This could add $10k to $15k to your costs. Even if you have most of the infrastructure, it may be inadequate to handle the increased demand.

My old high school shop teacher used to come study our cnc setup and eventually got a real nice machine installed in the district. They pooled resources from several schools to create a vocational tech center where shop students were sent for part of the day.

Hopefully, anything I said might be useful to you. Best of luck.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Loren's profile

Loren

7230 posts in 2245 days


#2 posted 643 days ago

You need end-boring too in order to train in how cabinetry
is manufactured, which some CNC machining centers will do.
Some shops face bore on the CNC and end bore on a
32mm horizontal boring machine.

$30k is really not going to go far for a real industrial setup
with tool changers and all the power requirements and
a couple of 10hp vacuum pumps to keep the sheets
in place.

For instructional purposes you might want to consider getting
a couple of smaller machines. Students will want to use
them for cutting out guitar bodies, printed circuit boards
and other hobby projects that interest kids a lot more
than nested cutting and boring of parts for melamine
cabinets.

In PA I would buy from a dealer on the East Coast if I
were you.

Another option is to buy used. You might want to look
into buying used from a local shop doing an upgrade
where the seller agrees to help set it up and remain
on call for troubleshooting.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#3 posted 643 days ago

I know nothing about CNC routers, but that post by DS251 is one of the best posts I’ve ever read on LJs. Great, great advice.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#4 posted 643 days ago

From everything I have read the problem with Laguna is not their CNC it is their customer service. Laguna is located in CA and I don’t think their CNCs are made in U.S.!

Shopbot has a special program for educators/schools that is worth checking out and they are located in Durham, NC and Shopbots are made in the U.S.!

Shopbot CNC for education

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#5 posted 643 days ago

That is some great advice! I guess I didn’t mean industrial as in a $250k machine, but I didn’t want home hobbyists telling me to buy a something little like a rockler shark, or a shop bot. What I want is a 4×8 gantry machine with a 10 horse vacuum table. Basically, The laguna Smart Shop II would be the perfect machine for our needs however, I do worry about repairs and customer service. I was also wondering what people thought of spindle vs. router motors. We wanted a spindle because of the reliability and especially noise. I do not want to listen to a Porter Cable 3.5 horse router screaming in my ear for 3 straight hours during a run. On the contrary, I am worried about having a spindle break down, and have to try to come up with 2 grand to replace the spindle. The grant we received won’t be there 2 years down the road for repairs if necessary. We have a local company that builds their own machines called Forrest Scientific. I know they offer great service, but don’t know about the quality of their machines. All the schools around us have Techno Isel routers, but they are big bucks for what you actually get and don’t seem to be very impressive.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2716 posts in 1841 days


#6 posted 643 days ago

I don’t know how durable the water cooled spindles are, but if you decide to go that route, you could make up a new carrier for a PC router in your spare time and keep it handy if the spindle quits. It can be a simple matter to swap them out.
How about a DIY amateur CNC machine. The cost could be around $5000 and it could be built by your students as a project.

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1018 days


#7 posted 643 days ago

I’ve never dealt with these guys, but they list several used machines, both under $30k and over $30k.

It might be worth looking into.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1018 days


#8 posted 642 days ago

As far as spindles are concerned, they are mostly reliable. A 220V to 440V 3ph spindle is a workhorse. They are definately more reliable than a router motor. I’m not sure they are much quieter than a router, though. (The motors are quieter, but the routing noise is substantial either way.)

Usually, as long as you don’t “crash” the head, the spindle will last a really long time. Crashing the head just means that it is directed into something it shouldn’t, like trying to instantly go minus 4 inches into the table, or accidentally trying to cut through the hardened steel holding clamps on a part. This will destroy a spindle pretty fast. It will definately wreck the tooling. Typically, though, under normal use, a spindle will last as long as the rest of the machine.

You can probably write a simple script to check the g-code for things that can crash the head. At least have the students submit thier g-code for review before they get approval to run it on the machine. That is some protection at least. I would expect you will probably crash the head at least once within the first six months. We’re all human after all. After you learn what to look for and be wary of, you’ll likely not have that issue any more. (It is a LEARNING environment after all.)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View MJCD's profile

MJCD

452 posts in 968 days


#9 posted 642 days ago

I would look at the Legacy Equipment – the “Artisan”, I believe.

Legacy equipment is very useful, requires “G Code” programming, and can work on 5-axis.

I’m not associated with Legacy; though, I know of people who have purchased them, and swear by them.
MJCD

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

941 posts in 2404 days


#10 posted 642 days ago

Look no further. This is your one-stop shop for all your wood working CNC needs. http://www.legacywoodworking.com/

-- Max the "night janitor" at www.hardwoodclocks.com

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#11 posted 642 days ago

I just purchased a Shopbot Buddy BT48 with. 2.2 HP spindle because it allows me to handle 8’ material if I ever want to purchase the power bars. I am waiting for delivery within the next 3~4 weeks.

When I first saw the Sweet Pea pen plotter in 1985 I envisioned the pens being replaced with a knife and/or router and instead of just printing I could actually build something so I started saving for a CNC. It has been long enough and if I didn’t do it now I probably never would!

I did a lot of research, I can’t even remember the number of companies I reviewed, and my second choice was the Legacy as it has a lot of capability, has a decent price, and I could drive to the factory if I was so inclined. The reason I decided to go with the Shopbot is basically the capability to expand the working area for those times I may need/want and the normal work area was larger than the Legacy. The support from either of these two companies is outstanding. There are a lot of “offshore” brands not only from Asia but also from Europe but the Legacy and the Shopbot are made in the U.S.A. (some components may be foreign) but the build is in this country!

At first I was going to build my own CNC but after 40 of working in electronics and control systems I did not really want to do that as a hobby as I really wanted was to use a CNC in woodworking My son is a certified CNC machinist and he agreed that buy rather than build was a better choice even though he originally offered o help machine any parts that may be required for a home brew version.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View dannelson's profile

dannelson

139 posts in 968 days


#12 posted 642 days ago

Please do not put shop bot in the same sentence as a rockler shark not even close. as a owner of a 5×10 machine with a 4 hp spindle and vac hold down I am very pleased with my purchase 4 years ago.a brand new bot will run about 25k ish software another 2k, alot less for schools. call them .why 10hp vac hold down? way overkill. worried about the noise of a 3.5 hp router? listen to a 10 hp vac run . do your research nylon screws, t tracks, clamps, vac pods, fein shopvacs, yes fein shopvacs. I run 2 with an 8 zone table and plywood dont move. auto tool change for a high school why? add a 4 axis for a indexer (cnc lathe) plenty of subject matter ,cabinets, signage , rotary. Did I mention support? shopbot is manufactured in north carolina. check out the forum you wont be disapointed

-- nelson woodcrafters

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#13 posted 642 days ago

dannelson you are 100% correct, a Shopbot is orders of magnitude better than a Shark in so many ways I can even count that high.

In my research the Shopbot and Legacy were the best supported machines and in reviews they are probably the best build for their cost!

Sure, a Shark is inexpensive but there are reviews here on LJ site about some of the issues with that CNC.
Here is one as an example

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View PRGDesigns's profile

PRGDesigns

203 posts in 911 days


#14 posted 642 days ago

I purchased a Legacy Arty 58 with a water cooled spindle in April of this year. The 5 axis option is very powerful. I would contact Andy Anderson @ Legacy and discuss your project with him to see what he can do for you. They are based in Utah. Do not get the Art Cam Express software. The only software you want to deal with is Aspire. I can vouch that the water cooled spindle is the way to go with regard to noise and/or reliability. You can stand next to mine and have a conversation w/o raising your voice. The DC and the barrel fan I have running in my shop make more noise than the CNC. Holding down the material to be cut is a major issue and I would refer you to others for a better system than the one I use. I am assuming since you have a school shop, you have a DC system of some nature. I also looked at the Laguna systems and while the price was interesting, their technical assistance was sketchy at best and their flyers, sales promotions, etc. were an embarrassment.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View dannelson's profile

dannelson

139 posts in 968 days


#15 posted 642 days ago

PRG I agree totally with Aspire we use it everyday and I can’t say enough good things about it . I also use cabinet parts pro which is a very economical program to nest and cut cabinets.

-- nelson woodcrafters

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#16 posted 642 days ago

I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers with the shop bot comment. I think they make a fantastic machine for the actual cost. A close friend of mine has the shop bot alpha in the 60×96 model. it is a nice machine but not as heavy duty as some of the others. also it starts out at 20k plus if i add a vacuum table, tool changer and larger spindle, I am looking at 45k. The laguna has all that for 30k. I am really excited that a few of you guys recommended the Legacy. I never even knew they made a cnc. I have followed their ornamental mills for years, but didn’t realize they made cnc’s. Their machines look pretty impressive! What is a better software program. Aspire or Enroute?

View PRGDesigns's profile

PRGDesigns

203 posts in 911 days


#17 posted 642 days ago

I too have been a long time fan of Legacy’s Ornamental Mill, which is how I found out they made CNC’s. To add a bit more to the conversation, I can also recommend servo motors or closed loop stepper motors over standard open loop stepper motors, based upon some following errors I have encountered with the standard open loop stepper motors on my CNC. As far as Aspire vs Enroute, it appears Enroute is strictly 3-axis software and although I haven’t personally completed anything with Aspire, it is my understanding, based upon Legacy’s online training classes, that Aspire can be used for 5-axis designs. Legacy offered an online class about turning a baseball bat and then designed a carving of a logo on the bat, following the taper of the baseball, using Aspire.

Although it may be redundant to some, a 3-axis machine is strictly X,Y & Z, or in other words, length, width, and height. A 5-axis machine adds the A axis and the B axis. The A axis is for turning, using the common vernacular, but is more accurately referred to as an indexing axis, as it allows precision turning of things like spirals, threads, etc. The B axis is simply a tilt mechanism for one end of the A axis, allowing tapered indexing/turning/fluting, etc. The B axis can be manual or powered. I am hoping to use my A axis to create wood extrusions of various shapes once I overcome my lack of intelligence, which is a fairly large hurdle.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#18 posted 642 days ago

Jordan,

You didn’t ruffle my feathers!

I did a lot of research as this purchase was not inexpensive and I bought a tool that included a company in my “back pocket”! Both Shopbot and Legacy have a good reputation when it come to customer support while others did not stack up as well.

One of my decision points was a CNC made in the U.S. as opposed to one from Europe or Asia and there are plenty of those at very low cost.

Legacy and Shopbot are both U.S. made CNCs, with obviously some foreign content, but built in this country. That may not mean much to some but it does to me!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View macatlin1's profile

macatlin1

54 posts in 1540 days


#19 posted 642 days ago

Look here

http://www.technocnc.com/cnc-router-systems/lc-series-cnc-router.htm

Here is the router that the company I used to work for purchased for doing model making. We cut MDF, plywood, Styrofoam and even graphite composite. At the time we purchased it it was about $13K for a 4’ x 8’ bed and it included the vacuum table and pump. Ran pretty much 8/5 for 5 years with only preventive maintenance and a motor upgrade. By adding standoffs we were able to get 6 inches under the bridge and we cut a lot of 3D contoured parts to make molds.

Michael A. Catlin

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1520 days


#20 posted 642 days ago

Jordan, I have found this discussion very interesting. I don’t intend to buy a CNC but I would be interested in hearing how this ends up and possibly following up with some pictures when you do “take the plunge”.

-- Life is good.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#21 posted 642 days ago

macatlin1
According to what I found in my research, this is also a very good company!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#22 posted 642 days ago

What did you guys think of the Techno? They are this. Biggest unit used in almost every school that has a cnc. Techno is geared toward education which is why I was hesitant toward them. We can only buy technos through an educational company. The educational company is very shady and bases all of their prices off of the budget. One school near us spent 25k for a machine. Another school spent 33 and one other spent 50. All three schools got the same piece of equipment for completely different prices. This is why we were looking at other companys who aren’t geared specifically toward education. The techno is a great machine. Unfortunately the salesman don’t seem to be consistent. I do love the fact that the legacy and shop bot are u.s. made.

View DLCW's profile

DLCW

522 posts in 1252 days


#23 posted 642 days ago

I have a Shopbot and use it in my commercial shop on a daily bases and have been since 2009 with no problems. Spindle still is as good as new. Last fall I helped my local high school industrial arts teacher setup and put to work a Shopbot. I volunteer teach woodshop at the HS and Shopbot programming is one of the things I teach. The industrial arts teacher at the HS school has leaned heavily on me to get his machine up and running and keep it that way.

The big difference between Shopbot and other systems is the support. Between direct support (free lifetime support) and the Shopbot forum, you can get answers in minutes instead of days. You can also ask Shopbot if they have a customer local to you who can help you get yours up and running. Most Shopbotters are very willing to help.

When it comes down to it, having good support and a community to bounce ideas off of during your learning curve is going to be at the top of your priority list.

As someone mentioned, Partworks – comes with the Shopbot (same as Vectric’s VCarve Pro) and Aspire are super programs and their online forum and support system is second to none. Again, support is the key here.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - http://www.dlwoodworks.com - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#24 posted 642 days ago

Jordan,

Did you check out the Shopbot for education link I posted?

Shopbot for educators

I think you will find what you need there AND you can deal directly with Shopbot, NO third parties! From what I have read there program is outstanding. Below are just some of the things I snatched from their web site:

  • Live and web-based training for teachers
  • Grant-writing assistance
  • Classroom materials and projects for STEM, vocational and FabLab settings.
  • ShopBot Technical Support (available by email, phone and fax and is always free)
  • Files and projects, ready to cut at 100kGarages
  • Talk ShopBot Forum (always available with help and information)
  • Documentation (ShopBot manuals and other information; free)
  • Tutorials (Tutorials on using software and other helpful learning documents; free)

Take a look, it can’t hurt!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#25 posted 642 days ago

Well. I guess it is worth taking another look at the shop bot. A close friend of mine has a 4×8 shop bot in his classroom and the Guy next door to him has a 4×8 techno. He said the he can work circles around the techno because the shop bot is easier to use. He also said the shop bot was half the price. I never knew you could add a tool changer and vacuum table to the shop bot before you guys. So thank you! It being American made is another huge selling point. The company that gave us the grant is an American steel producer so it is important to buy American.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#26 posted 642 days ago

Jordan,

Let me, us, know how it works out! I am eager to learn more about the education side of Shopbot!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

3831 posts in 926 days


#27 posted 641 days ago

Don’t be afraid of (newer) used CNCs.

The market is pretty ripe with them.

The key (imo) is to get the manufacturer involved by hiring them for install and training.

You’re in PA, so I’d suggest calling Paul Cullen at CNT Motion Systems in Pittsburg. Great guys to work with and they make an economical medium industrial machine.

The distinctions between “heavy” and “medium” have to do with the ridgidity and mass of the gantry and head.

Heavier = more ridgid

But a heavy gantry requires much more powerful servo motors to push it around, and those powerful servo motors require higher amp ratings on the controllers….. all this adds up pretty quick.

In general, a “heavy duty” machine will have a steel gantry, while a medium duty machine will be made of Aluminum.

You’ll pay >$80K for a HD CNC table router with all the bells and whistles.

I found a lightly used CNT Motion Systems 900 sereis for $18K (sold new for over $40K two years prior).

Whichever way you go, I highly recommend that you get an automatic tool changer…. since this gives you a LOT more flexibility and from a training standpoint gets you thinking about how you sequence your cutting operations.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

491 posts in 637 days


#28 posted 634 days ago

I have the Legacy 58 with the watercooled spindle and so far it’s been a great machine. Legacy has some larger machines that you could get into in the $30 price range, but all the extras you need drives the price up. I probably spent a total of about $20k on mine and the machine itself was only $12k of that. Everything else went to computer, software, travel for training, router bits, dust collection, etc.

As for noise, there is a huge difference between the water cooled spindle and a router. The spindle itself makes very little noise at all so all you get is the cutting noise. My router table is probably 10 times louder than the CNC.

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA., http://www.markscustomwoodcrafts.com

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#29 posted 634 days ago

Mark Smith is correct on the noise level of a spindle versus router.

At the Maker Fair I was talking to a Shopbot representative while the spindle was running and the only way one could tell is by checking the PC screen to see what was happening.

Additionally, spindles provide more power; at identical HP ratings the spindle will provide more useable power than the router.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

491 posts in 637 days


#30 posted 633 days ago

I actually reached under my spindle (only one time) while it was warming up and didn’t even realize it was on. The cooling fan on the machine was making almost as much noise. I didn’t lose any fingers but I learned to double check now before reaching into the machine.

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA., http://www.markscustomwoodcrafts.com

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#31 posted 633 days ago

Well after lots of research and all of your input, I am still searching. We have found a new cnc company that I am very inetersted in. Have any of you heard of Camaster CNC. They are an american made cnc manufacturer located in Cartersville, Georgia. They offer light to medium duty machines and are exactly what we are looking for. I am hesitant though because they seem to be a newer company and are not that well known. They sent me contact information for a local cabinet shop and guitar builder that have some of their machines on the production floor. I am going to contact them and see if they will let me come and check them out. Here are a few links to their page. I am looking at their small stinger I unit, Cobra Industrial unit, and Plasma Cutter.

http://www.camaster.com/products.html

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

3831 posts in 926 days


#32 posted 633 days ago

You need to be carefull about some of the smaller companies, as there are several that have failed financially, shut there doors and ditched their creditors, only ot reappear under a different name months later.

You may get a good machine at a good price and be perfectly happy, but support over the long term may not be there.

You need to get beyond their web site and the references they give you.

One way to do that is to find out the owners name and google up as much as you can on them. Another is to head over to an CAM industry specific web site and ask around about the companies reputation. The forums over at CNCZONE.com are a great resource, as there are dedicated boards to some manufacturers and a lot of CAM junkies who have been in the business for years.

Good luck with your project.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#33 posted 633 days ago

Camaster does have their own page on CNCZONE. The camaster dedicated page is 51 pages long. I haven’t really seen a negative comment on there yet. I also like that the owners and employees are active in the forums. Every time someone has had a question, the camaster guys as well as other owners have been really active on the forums to help resolve issues. They even have their own forum on their website where other owners can share ideas and files. I don’t know how old the company is but I know that one person said they just sold their 10 year old camaster to upgrade to a newer one. So the company is at least 10 years old.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#34 posted 633 days ago

It appears that you have made up your mind before you even opened this topic! And, I would heed the warning by ssnvet that may be appropriate in today’s CNC marketplace.

None of the educational support from Shopbot or Legacy seems to have had any influence in you decision yet they are one of the top school CNC machines.

I would rather go directly to the manufacturer for help than to a user forum!

There are a number of LJs on this site that have both Legacy and Shopbot machines and, as far as I can tell, there are no Camaster owners on this site … perhaps you could search the site and see for yourself!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Diwayne's profile

Diwayne

202 posts in 1288 days


#35 posted 621 days ago

OK. So for training and or light production, this is great review material. I have been looking for months to find any reviews on Laguna CNC IQ pro. no recent reviews here in Texas or Oklahoma. Cant find any reviews.
Need one for my wood shop in the 5 to 10k range. i agree liquid cooled spindles are only way to go if you can swing it. I have a restoration company. We do a bit of it all, cabinet door matching, signage replacements, custom built ins. So would you all recommend? Apparently Laguna is a bad word here? I am thrilled to get review information. Thanks so much.
Sorry for interrupting your thread.

-- What one man can do, another man can also do.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#36 posted 621 days ago

Shopbot and Legacy are my top two, both made in U.S.A, both with outstanding support, both with lease versus buy option.

Legacy has some axis option that provide more capability while giving up some total cutting area on similar sized units.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

491 posts in 637 days


#37 posted 601 days ago

Oldnovice, be very careful with the “lease” options on these machines. I was going to do the lease option on my Legacy and my plan was I just needed to keep costs down for one year, then I planned to pay it off at the end of that year. The business lease came with a 12% interest if my memory is correct, it may have been higher. The finance guy (not at Legacy, they use third party vendors for financing) assured me I could pay it off after one year with no problem. I was almost going to sign the papers when I happened to talk to the owner of a near by business and he warned me about business leases and some of the catches. So I called the finance guy back and sure enough he was trying to pull one over on me. I was going to finance $16k and it would have been a 5 year lease and then you own the machine at the end of five years. Even though I didn’t like the interest it was only for a year so it wouldn’t be that much. That is until I found out than when you buy out the lease early, you don’t just pay off the balance. You have to pay all the remaining lease payments that would have been due. So if I did as planned and paid it off at the end of the year, my total payment to pay off the $16k debt was going to be something like $28,000!!! The salesman assured me he wasn’t trying to mislead me, but clearly he was. Anyway, no way did I do the lease deal. I just put it on a credit card and got my rewards points and a much better deal om the financing.

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA., http://www.markscustomwoodcrafts.com

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oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#38 posted 601 days ago

Mark Smith I don’t remember mentioning leasing a CNC router or any other equipmenta; perhaps you mentioned this for general information.

But those terms you mentioned are near highway robbery. I never checked into leasing from CNC manufacturer or any other equipment but I did lease a water softner once until I discovered at the interest rate and the payment schedule provided that it would take me longer to pay that lease than my home mortgage!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1018 days


#39 posted 601 days ago

When you are financing, you have to shop for a lease just like you shopped for your machine. (This is true for other things too, like cars and houses, etc.)

If you just take the first deal you find, you are likely being taken for a ride. I’m glad you checked out the details Mark.

Now, on the other hand, I’ve purchased a big machine for my employer on a 6 1/2% 5 year lease and it worked out wonderfully. The monthly payments were equivelant to one employee’s monthly paycheck and the machine was FAR more productive. It was like having 5 employees for the price of one.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15404 posts in 1464 days


#40 posted 601 days ago

I’m in Cartersville, GA and have personally talked to the people at Camaster. They are good people so far as I know. I am thinking about one of their machines. I am fixing to set up a small woodworking company that will have laser engraving and CNC capabilities but on a small scale. I’m semi-retired and need to add to my SS. I can only make a limited amount of money so it’s going to be a small business or a big hobby whichever way that you want to look at it. It will be limited because I want to make only what I want and not have to do it all for money. That will certainly restrict it as well. My shop will be fully equipped with all of the standard small stationary cabinet machinery so it will also be for general woodworking as well. The one that I’m looking at is a 2×4 router but that will be large enough for me. I looked at these machines at the Atlanta show and compared them to others at the show. For a limited production machine in a small shop I believe they will work ok. In a high production shop probably not so good.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#41 posted 601 days ago

helluvawreck I hope you enjoy your CNC as much as I have. The CNC mixes my technology world with my woodworking world, a blend of new and old, and a new learning curve that is exiting!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1595 days


#42 posted 601 days ago

I can’t advise on the machine but the accessories and tooling should be a large part of the budget. Dust removal, cutters and tool changers. Software. Storage for tooling. Possibly a stand-by spindle. Material handling. 4th axis. More software.

So many times people budget the machine and think they can get the other stuff out of regular operating expenses. Then there is a fine machine sitting there that can’t work due to lack of all the other stuff.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Jordan Curcio's profile

Jordan Curcio

13 posts in 863 days


#43 posted 600 days ago

Helluvawreck, I have spent a lot of time talking to camaster. I am extremely impressed with the quality of their machines. They are very heavy duty and affordable. They gave us contact information of local companies around us that have their machines in production facilities. Everyone that I spoke with raved about their machines. One company that we spoke to is a guitar part manufacturer that uses it to produce necks for a name brand guitar company. I think it was Gibson. He said they require precision parts with accuracy less than a thousandth of an inch and the machine has no problem producing them. I like them so much, that I am considering 3 of them. A cobra series 4×8, stinger I series 2×4, and a 4×4 Plasma Cutter which is a newer product. The only question that I have now is that they use Aspire software. I have used and am extremely impressed with enroute. I am thinking about purchasing it for the machines. Is there anyone that uses either enroute or aspire that can give their opinion?

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PRGDesigns

203 posts in 911 days


#44 posted 600 days ago

Oldnovice – couldn’t agree more. The CNC takes some of the frustration out of some of the pieces I like to make but adds another layer of frustration / opportunity in learning how to do it differently on the CNC than what I would have done with my other tools. I have also found my sons like the idea of something digital to work with rather than my hands on power tools. Whatever gets them interested in woodworking I am all for. One of the greatest disservices we have done to our children was eliminating shop and/or home ec from the public schools curriculum. Those classes taught you how to use the theoretical parts from the other classes, math, history, science, english, etc., and turn them into something tangible, i.e. critical thinking. You can see the collateral damage this has done to our society in our elections, our media, etc. Oh well.

David Kirtley – +1 on the accessories – I started off with what I thought was a fair sized collection of router bits, around $2,500, figuring replacement costs, purchased over several years, and it has now grown to over $4k in just a few months. You might also add in money for collets, hold down devices, etc.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

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doordude

1085 posts in 1580 days


#45 posted 600 days ago

sorry your question and need is way above my pay grade.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3594 posts in 1965 days


#46 posted 600 days ago

PRGDesigns you are absolutely correct about the lack of shop classes. When I was going to school shop classes were only offered during the normal school year do I took my required classes in the summer do I could take more shop classes during the school year and I had more fun in school than most kids!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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PRGDesigns

203 posts in 911 days


#47 posted 600 days ago

Shop classes and home ec were some of the classes that kept kids in school when I was growing up. Some unfortunately for the wrong reasons, i.e. sticking their head in the lacquer can and getting high on the fumes, etc. But for others, it was a chance to work with machinery they didn’t have at home. Very few people had nice woodworking equipment at their homes as people do now. One of my friends dad had a RAS and he would let me use it on occasion. I was the only other person besides him that ever touched that equipment. I was also the only person allowed to keep his daughter out after midnight. His wife was always trying to fill me up every time I went over to their house and she was an extremely good cook. I was as skinny as skinny could get at that time and more than one mother other than my own would always feed me like a stray dog they felt sorry for. I didn’t mind one bit. We once hit three turkey day dinners in a row at various friends houses. That was my record. It must be late because nostalgia has taken over my brain instead of sleep.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

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Mark Smith

491 posts in 637 days


#48 posted 600 days ago

To my fellow CNC owners, I like the machine too because of the use of technology and I’ve always liked computers too, but do you ever feel a little guilty? You got people out there doing this stuff by hand, and then us sitting there next to a fancy machine watching it do all the work. I must admit I do feel a little guilty, but not enough to make me stop using it. :) Actually in some cases it takes more work. I’ve made a couple of cutting boards that I’ve cut out with the CNC and the truth is I could have probably don’t it faster on the bandsaw. But it wouldn’t have been accurate to 4 thousands of an inch!

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA., http://www.markscustomwoodcrafts.com

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PRGDesigns

203 posts in 911 days


#49 posted 600 days ago

There are some on this forum who feel like a CNC is somehow “cheating”. Do you feel guilty when you are using your drum sander to flatten a panel in just a few minutes versus several hours of hand sanding, or as I used to do, belt sanding and then a PC 333 block sander. Do you feel guilty when you send a board through the planer to achieve the proper thickness versus hand planing / scraping to an approximate thickness. My only point is, the CNC is just another tool in the arsenal, which can save you time on some projects. Granted, it is a super cool tool that does some amazing things and just watching it work is better than most things on TV, but it is just another tool.

Those w/o a CNC are like future Republicans, in other words, Democrats w/o assets.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

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Mark Smith

491 posts in 637 days


#50 posted 600 days ago

I don’t feel guilty enough to stop using it, but I think some do. In my projects list I have a wood carving of a Stagecoach that I did on my CNC. I have that carving on Etsy trying to sell it. In my description I clearly say it was carved by my CNC machine. But if you do a search for Stagecoach carving on etsy you will find an identical carving to mine. I bought the design from VectorArt and so did this other person, yet here is how that other person describes his carving, “Designed and carved by making this a one of a kind work of art available only from .”

No mention of carved by * with the use of a “CNC” and the misleading info that it’s a one of kind work of art. Clearly it isn’t because anybody searching for Stagecoach carving is going to see my carving on there too which clearly is identical.

-- Mark Smith, Tracy, CA., http://www.markscustomwoodcrafts.com

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