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Thread: Need guidance on finding CNC router

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Illinois across river from St. Louis, MO.
    Posts
    4

    Need guidance on finding CNC router

    I am a retired newbie located in the St. Louis, MO. area who has fell in love with cnc routers. (I saw a Shark operating in the local Rockler store). I'm a hobby person with no interest in starting a business at this point.
    My budget will allow around $4K for a machine and software. After extensive reading and searching I've ruled out the Shark. My problem is I'm unable to locate another machine that is within my budget that has a good support system/forum and I do not want to buy a kit to assemble myself.
    I'm now wondering if I should consider a used system and would appreciate any thoughts you'all may have. Does anyone know of companies or individuals in the St. Louis area that may be able to help me?
    Thanking you in advance for any help.

    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Posts
    3,220
    Hi Jim, listen I don't know squat about CNC routers, but WELCOME to the forum! Delighted to meet you. I'm sure some peeps with more information will reply to you here before long.

    Welcome again, and post lots of pics.

    Cynthia
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,172
    If you've not yet found it, go to cnczone.com. They have a classified section. Also a great forum. Newbies welcome.

    Good luck.

    My calendar has a cnc build coming up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,451
    Welcome to the family Jim. I'll second CNCZone.com...not that we're trying to get rid of you already.

    Most of the, lets call them "non-commercial", machines use Mach3 or EMC2 (free) to run the machine, which runs from NC or G Code. You'd need a software like vCarve to design your carvings and convert the drawing to NC or G code. Some guys use Corel Draw to do their designs, but they have to manually setup tooling and clean up the cut paths (NC or G code), vCarve will do much of the work for you.

    I've built one of the CNC plans that are posted over there and plan to build another of my own design. I'm sure you could find someone that has one for sale there or someone locally to build one for you that is on that forum. I think some good reading and browsing that forum you'll realize there isn't that much to these machines, but some do have their quirks. That forum is great for support though.

    Anyway, If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer what I can.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    140
    Jim...I'm wondering what you found that you did not like about the Shark.

    I'm not one inclined to build my own and so I am also very interested in a commercial CNC. I'm leaning towards the new Shop Bot countertop model. Not in your budget area but maybe worth saving towards. I have always like the support of the botters forum and the company itself.

    Doug

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,172
    Darren, what did you build? What did you do with it? What do you plan to build next?

    I'm looking hard at Joe's Hybrid.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,451
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    Darren, what did you build? What did you do with it? What do you plan to build next?

    I'm looking hard at Joe's Hybrid.

    I originally built the JGRO CNC using the Hobby CNC controller. I just recently put it back together and have been using EMC2 to run it. I've mostly used it for carving out signs and doing some detail work, nothing too exotic.

    I've been planning to build one like the design in Geoff Williams' book, which is about 4' x 8'. I've collected all but the longer rails and bearings for them, so looking using the bearing blocks from CNCRouterParts like used on this build. I can always look at replacing them with round linear rails and bearings down the road.

    I do like the Joe's Hybrid design. May have to consider those v-groove bearings for use on mine as well.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,172
    Kewel! I'll have to look more closely at your resources.

    The ShopBot I had used the Vee-groove bearings. If one used that machine hard enough those bearings could become an issue. They rode on the outside corner of the angle iron rails. Wear was becoming an issue.

    I think ShopBot has gone to rack and pinion. That's where I am leaning as well.

    When are you coming to Arizona. I am really looking forward to sitting down and talking with you!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,451
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    When are you coming to Arizona. I am really looking forward to sitting down and talking with you!
    Should be the first week in February. Been saving up my vacation, just need to verify the dates for the classes and plan around them...will let you know as soon as I know.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    Posts
    4,552
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    Darren, what did you build? What did you do with it? What do you plan to build next?

    I'm looking hard at Joe's Hybrid.
    Been watching that one close would love the build one of those but gona have ta wait until I get some room
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars


    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

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