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My GarageworX 4x4 CNC review

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Review by Mike Merzke posted 02-12-2017 04:32 PM 4968 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My GarageworX 4x4 CNC review My GarageworX 4x4 CNC review No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is the third CNC that I have had in my shop and is a review of the Garageworx CNC but based off not only the experiences I’ve had with the other two machines but also against my expectations of what I need a CNC to do in my shop. If you’d like to read the article I wrote about me previous CNC journey you can HERE. The GarageworX CNC is similar in some regards to other CNC kits on the market today because the owner assembles the machine and with that some of the quality and performance of the machine is depended on the attention to detail. A big thing that sets the machine apart from most DIY CNC Kits on the market today is that it is constructed of steel and not aluminum. The linear drive mechanism is another area where the GarageworX excels over other CNC machines since it uses acme threaded rods with anit backlash lead nuts …. oh and powder coated a beautiful safety orange.

Dave Gatton sells the GarageworX CNC in three different sizes (24” x 18”, 36” x 24”, and 48” x 48”) over at www.garageworxcnc.com. The CNC DIY kits are available as “a rolling chassis” which includes all the metal components, hardware, and V-groove bearings listed as Package “A”. This makes it easy for you to add your own acme precision lead screws, acme nuts, and couplers or if you prefer order Package “B” and get your lead screws already cut to the correct length with the acme nuts, couplers AND the bearings and bearing mounts. Dave also recommends the stepper motors and drive box that he uses and has a link to their website but you have the option of also getting them from another retailer. All the other options are completely up to you to customize to your needs. This is truly a DIY CNC kit because you can pretty much customize it exactly how you want. For example the hole pattern on the Z axis for the spindle mount is a standard configuration so you can either purchase a mount to fit whatever spindle or router you plan on using or make your own. Later I will discuss some of the “options” I added to my GarageworX CNC.

Of course the first thing needed before assembling the machine is to have a flat and steady base for it. To fit the GarageworX 4×4 CNC I had to build my base for it 56” x 56”.

The GarageworX CNC is packaged very well for shipping and normally arrives crated up. To save a little money on shipping I drove down to Atlanta, GA and met up with Dave Gatton to get mine and the GarageworX CNC that was going to the Falcon Children’s Home.

Assembly of the “rolling chassis” is pretty straight forward. I found that while assembling the frame it was almost self squaring due to the way it was designed. Some of the threaded holes did have to be cleaned out a little due to some powder coating on the threads.

Once assembled and wired I began adding the extra accessories that I wanted to include the spindle, spindle mount, 2.8w Laser for engraving, Dust Shoe, relay to control the spindle and dust collection, touch plate for zeroing the Z axis, limit/homing switches, t-tracks, drag chain for wire management.

I have been using the machine for about a year now and I am very impressed by its performance and accuracy. A good example of this was when I used the GarageworX CNC to cut the pockets on the wasteboard for the T-Tracks. It was a perfect fit!

I think the price point for what you get is great and it is able to be completely customized to what you want and need out of a CNC. Now if you’re looking for an out of the box turn key solution this might not be the CNC for you. There is also cheaper aluminum CNC kits out there that will cost you a lot less but you will lose a great deal of accuracy and an increase in maintenance especially if that CNC uses belts as the drive mechinism. There is a facebook group for GarageworX users and I’ve found the hobby CNC community at large are very welcoming and open to sharing. If you have any questions on something I didn’t cover here then feel free to shoot me an email at mike@merzkecustomwoodworking.com

Here is some of the “options” I went with and installed on my GarageworX CNC:

CNC – GarageworX 4x4 CNC Package B
Drive box and Stepper Motors – 4 Axis 45V 4.0A Drive Box with Four 4.0A 425 oz.in. Stepper motors.
External Motion Controler – UC100 USB to Parallel CNC Motion Controller
Spindle – Dewalt DW611 Palm Router
Spindle Mount – Dewalt DWP611 Router Mount (with no base adapter or hardware)
Dust Shoe – MINI Split-Shoe by Kent CNC
Remote Pendant – CNC 4 Axis USB Pendant Manual remote Control
Laser Engraver – 2.8w Laser from JTech Photonics
Drag Chain – 15mm x 30mm Black Plastic Semi Closed Drag Chain
Limit/Homing Switches – uxcell Micro Limit Switch
Breakout Board – DB25 Male to DB25 Female Pass Through Breakout Board

-- Mike Merzke, https://www.merzkecustomwoodworking.com




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Mike Merzke

184 posts in 2069 days



5 comments so far

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1308 posts in 1120 days


#1 posted 02-12-2017 05:03 PM

Excellent presentation- thanks for promoting CNC

-- Desert_Woodworker

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

834 posts in 722 days


#2 posted 02-13-2017 12:16 AM

So what was the overall cost of the machine with router and all the options?

View Mike Merzke's profile

Mike Merzke

184 posts in 2069 days


#3 posted 02-13-2017 01:13 AM

I think with all the bells, whistles, and laser I am about at $3500.00! Not to shabby for a solid CNC Router with Laser Engraver.

-- Mike Merzke, https://www.merzkecustomwoodworking.com

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

17547 posts in 3094 days


#4 posted 02-23-2017 09:27 AM

Great review, still trying to decide.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Makai's profile

Makai

20 posts in 2459 days


#5 posted 02-26-2017 07:20 PM

Informative review Mike – thanks for taking the time. I’ve had the XCarve 500mm for a bit less than a year and have been happy with it – know that I’ll be looking for upgrade options soon. Didn’t know about the GarageworX until reading your review.

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