mini cnc

paulv1958

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Okay I succumbed to the world of CNC.
After a lot of thought and a cheap opportunity I wen and purchased a 2417 Chinese CNC from eBay.
I had researched the little cnc's and decided on the 2417 ( That's the cutting area) as it was better built than the next one up the 3018.

I knew what I was in for and as such splashed out $260 for the kit.

On opening it up you are presented with a list of parts. For those building Chinese kits this is NOT an issue

DSC03647.jpg

and the contents
DSC03648.jpg

DSC03649.jpg


There are NO instructions in the box, but there is a DVD. On loading that in the PC I navigated through the chinese directories and apart from comming across dubious copies of software ( not nasties but yo ho ho copies of products) I found a item with a .doc extension.

Low and behold it was a build document together wiht lots of photos and parts in english!.
Several hours later I had a working CNC !
DSC03650.jpg

DSC03656.jpg

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IT does come with a spindle, but at max of 1000 rpm and little torque ( great for engraving PCB,) I replaced it with a Dremmel extension.
It now works great!
This is NOT a big CNC or Xcarve. Its;s limited to wood & plastic, but for hobby use such as repeated micro cuts or edges its a cheap option.
It is an arduino based controlled running GRBL and processes standard GCODE via UGS. ( Linux, windows, Mac or a RPie!)
USB connected.

Its a lot of fun and a low cost products.
Here's a first cut sample
DSC03665.jpg


Pls ask if you have any queries.
 

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paulv1958

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Yep 3 steppers one for each axis. Base moves y 24( front to back) z travels 6cm depth and X 17cm left right. All Screw movement. 14nema motors.
Solid little beast. z Chasis is 3d printed but all other parts are steel & aluminim 2020 extrusion.
Standard tslot joins. Not sure how they make a profit as parts add up to cost!
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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http://www.carvewright.com/ a few years ago I bought this machine thinking I could do stern carvings, well the idea did not work. first off I needed tiny cutting heads and the machine just broke cutting head after cutting head. The biggest problem was the closed ended software, you had to use their design software that was a big pain in the …….


this might work out for small parts a laser cutter is faster and the cut is only .012 for bigger stuff like bulkheads but interesting

what files will it cut from?
 

paulv1958

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Hi, Didit

Yes you could BUT 3d printing really needs the bed to move in the Z only, Plus you would not have much build height. a 4th stepper would be needed to feed the extruder and you would have to replace the controller with one that supports heating etc.

It not worth it. I went down the 3d Kit printer path , but the number of fails, jams repair costs was not worth it. It did teach me about steppers, Gcode etc. I ended up purchasing a FlashForge Creator pro for my 3d printing. No issues, no faults. No effort.

The net result of this - You get what you pay for when it comes to stepper based systems ( Laser, CNC & 3d). They are all basically the same but with different movements & req. 2 are subtractive and one is additive. BUT they are a lot of FUN!.

The printer has been great for printing min sanders, stands etc. The laser ( Emblaser 2, 5 watt Diode) is great for cutting up to 4mm ply 6mm MDF, coloured Acrylic, paper, card etc and engraving (Very very very detailed cut & burn work that you cant do with a CNC) .

The mini cnc is greet for small work, engraving etc that a laser cannot do

They each have their use and are better as single units. A bit like a 3in1 stereo, it works but you do not get 3 great systms just 3 mediocre that mostly work all fail at once,

I just ordered ( will get yelled at a lot by sufficient other) XCarve CNC as a 60th prezzy to myself for some real Hobby CNC work. ( I can see scratch coming on...)
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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I was playing around with this idea until the 50 watt laser that a friend had got sold. The 900 watt is just to big and I can not dial it back to do delicate work

the idea was to create stern kits with basic carvings as a "leaning to carve" project. If I could provide the basic shapes the builder could add detail and finish the carvings. It became clear right from the start the stern kits would have to be at a larger scale like 1:32 or larger, because I could not cut tiny details

first I drew the pattern in 2D

rattlesnake stern.jpg


then went to the Z for 3D

rattlesnake stern3.jpg



rattlesnake stern4.jpg


my idea was to assign different colors to different levels and with a laser etch the levels. Once I have this then the model builder could go in and round out the carvings. Problem was the carvings were so small even at .012 beam it could not cut the tight areas like between the leaf pattern without cutting into the leaf next to it.

then I got the bright idea of just cutting around the pattern and going in with a CNC and milling the different layers. to line up the laser cutting with the CNC milling proved to be harder than I thought and I needed a really fine cutting end mill like really small

the idea was to cut in 3D using only an X Y and setting layers.

once the small laser was no longer available I abandoned the whole thing.

as7.jpg


as6.jpg
 
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paulv1958

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Hi a laser cannot cut 3d nicely. As you are aware unlike a CNC, it removes parts by burning them. Despite what any one says you cant clean it up completely It chars and alters the material to much, where as the CNC sclupts it away, but is not good for very fine detail / inside square cutting. You coud layer parts but would have to process later.

Lasers are good for 2D fine work ,but as soon as you go to 2.5d or 3d not so. CNC for less detail at larger scale ( 4th Axis really needed for true 3D) and 3d prinitng for compromise ( some PLA is wood based so can have a semi wood look). If you are paiting bits then it does not matter, but for real wood cavings you really have only one choice ( Use option 1 or 2 to get the basic shape then post Carve it ).

Guess thats why true carvings are expensive ( labour intensive)
 

epicdoom

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I have been looking at the X-carve but this one is cheaper and looks like it does a fine job. as far as converting it to a printer you need an extruder and a program to run it on so changing from one machine to another would be a pain when you can buy a 3D printer for the same price you would also want a heated bed for the printer. My 3D printer is the XYZ its the older first version that I hacked due to the crappy software its now running a better software program and has a lot of upgrades I can even install a laser head onto it, but I have a laser cutter engraver so no need to do that for me. XYZ has a printer that has the attachment for laser so you can get the best of both worlds in one machine. my print area is 8x8x8 and I can not print with any filament I want XYZ printers are easy to hack and there are lots of upgrades for it from a nicer bed to high end bearings and extruders. the factory printer does print very nicely though in stock form you just have limited settings you can change on it and they usually only print in ABS and PLA which is the choice for most things.
 

paulv1958

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Hi Th mini is fine for very small parts that need etching/ engraving or SLOW fine carving, just feed rates have to be very small ( break a bit )so it will take a long time to do.

I got the x-carve as I wanted to do larger parts and cut aluminum.
CNCs go from ultra cheap, very slow to Very Very expensive commercial with little in between.
I 've been down the path of DIY printer kits and I gave up, the cost to upgrade them to acceptable printing & maintenance was a mess. Fine for tinkering, but when you need something done to spec its a PITA.

My Tarantula printer kit has become a parts bin for other projects needing steppers.

With the combination of the printer, small cnc & small laser you should be set.
Just don't expect to do commercial work with them and be very very patient
 

epicdoom

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I have a small micro mill and micro lather from harbor freight I bought to make small parts years ago as doing tiny parts on full size equipment is really a pain in the rump. and I usually use my big mill and lathe for firearms work so there is always metal chips I don't want stuck into my wood parts. I saw that you can now buy kits to convert the micros to full CNC so I may end up doing that The micro mill I have is a robust little machine I have completed 5 80% AR15 lowers and 2 AR10 lowers on it with ease. I Am good at Programming In C++, MATLAB, Microcode and Arduino and have built a lot of stuff using Microchip and Atmel chip sets so I suppose I could have turn them into CNC on my own, but I like Kits everything you need is there no surprises. I could make the mill into an engraver I guess. I have a full R8 collet set for small bits and end mills. But I like tools that perform a specific task and I don't have to retool them to do it. I am looking at CNC machines for that reason I will need one with a large area as I'm sure the wife will want stuff made for her. the Kit you bought does it give the option to expand the work area size buy buying framing? and is the firmware open source so I can go into it and reprogram parameters and end points?
 

paulv1958

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The mini cnc is not expandable, nor would I consider it. The motors are nema 14, so they wont drive much more than a plotter or laser head.

The xyz or aussie xcarve are nema 23 with loads of torque. The xcarve once you purchase the unit can be expanded by purchasing longer makerslide and extrusion and just swapping out the old. The rest is reused. All the parts are open source so readily available on amazon etc and there are LOTs of support / addon makers on the net.
The cnc length limit being the amount of flex due to flex /load bearing over length & as a result inaccuracies in the cut.( not so much of an issue with wood)
(none of these will cut steel accurately.

The carve has open front rear so size is only restricted in the x axis. Multi part jobs allow long lengths. The CNC comes on 500, 750 & 1000mm which allows 300,500, 750 cuts respectively with a max of 75mm depth. ( This is the default and can be increased.)

Its GRLB / Arduino based so will work with anything that generates GRBL gcode. ( Vectic, Fusion, Easel etc).

They are all hobby based but much better quality and less risky electric wise than the Chinese 3040 6090 etc.
 

epicdoom

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The mini cnc is not expandable, nor would I consider it. The motors are nema 14, so they wont drive much more than a plotter or laser head.

The xyz or aussie xcarve are nema 23 with loads of torque. The xcarve once you purchase the unit can be expanded by purchasing longer makerslide and extrusion and just swapping out the old. The rest is reused. All the parts are open source so readily available on amazon etc and there are LOTs of support / addon makers on the net.
The cnc length limit being the amount of flex due to flex /load bearing over length & as a result inaccuracies in the cut.( not so much of an issue with wood)
(none of these will cut steel accurately.

The carve has open front rear so size is only restricted in the x axis. Multi part jobs allow long lengths. The CNC comes on 500, 750 & 1000mm which allows 300,500, 750 cuts respectively with a max of 75mm depth. ( This is the default and can be increased.)

Its GRLB / Arduino based so will work with anything that generates GRBL gcode. ( Vectic, Fusion, Easel etc).

They are all hobby based but much better quality and less risky electric wise than the Chinese 3040 6090 etc.
Nice Thanx for the Info. I would definitely upgrade anything I could especially motors and bearings. Its just my nature to make everything the best it can be. I like that its open source especially Arduino as I'm part of that community and its Massive with many folks working towards a common goal and that is wringing out every bit of performance from systems while keeping that system as efficient as possible. Looking at some of these Machines I see many options for carving motors with may different spindle speeds. I have a few more to look at but I'm getting closer to making a decision on which one to purchase. Its nice to get first hand info from folks such as yourself who understand these systems and how they work. Most reviews are written by people who know nothing other then turning on the power switch so getting a review of the set up has little useful information. Thank you Brother
 

dj56

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hallo Paul, how is your cnc machine doing? it is difficult to work with the software of these machines, I am very interested in buying one but I am a bit shocked because I could not do anything with it in terms of software and operation programs
 

paulv1958

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Hi DJ
The cnc is easy to use. I use Vectric desktop create the image ( simple as drawing and then selecting bit to cut shape). The software saves the cut in Gcode, which is then sent to the CNC for processing. The g code just moves the head of the cutter around. Its the same code for Lasers and 3d printers. They are all forms of a CNC. Sending Gcode is like hitting print on a document!. You just have to line up the starting point and make sure your material is held firmly. Then cross fingers and , press go andwatch it come to life.

If you sign up on inventablesl or download a demo of Vcarve from Vectric you can have a play on your PC to see how simple .it is. Thye both import svg images and ca creatre files form PDF or bitmaps. So if you have a 1:1 plan part you can scan and create the file to cut it. ( No tech knledge req.)

The only difference between high end CNC and the toys are the quality of product and its ability to more accurately cut and handle material types & sizes.

The are all the same and work in the same way.

As for use I have the big one in the garage at present and and about to build a proper work shed in the back yard ( Bought the wife a new car and with mine and hers in the garage there is now no room, so she suggested a shed! ( WooHoo but its an expesive way to get one.).
 

dj56

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Hi DJ
The cnc is easy to use. I use Vectric desktop create the image ( simple as drawing and then selecting bit to cut shape). The software saves the cut in Gcode, which is then sent to the CNC for processing. The g code just moves the head of the cutter around. Its the same code for Lasers and 3d printers. They are all forms of a CNC. Sending Gcode is like hitting print on a document!. You just have to line up the starting point and make sure your material is held firmly. Then cross fingers and , press go andwatch it come to life.

If you sign up on inventablesl or download a demo of Vcarve from Vectric you can have a play on your PC to see how simple .it is. Thye both import svg images and ca creatre files form PDF or bitmaps. So if you have a 1:1 plan part you can scan and create the file to cut it. ( No tech knledge req.)

The only difference between high end CNC and the toys are the quality of product and its ability to more accurately cut and handle material types & sizes.

The are all the same and work in the same way.

As for use I have the big one in the garage at present and and about to build a proper work shed in the back yard ( Bought the wife a new car and with mine and hers in the garage there is now no room, so she suggested a shed! ( WooHoo but its an expesive way to get one.).



thank you Paul, i think i will go for this or the (3018) to learn to work with the cnc then we'll see where it comes out with the programming
Greetings
willy (dj56)
 
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