After watching what Bill and Dan have managed to put out with a $1000 machine I have been amazed. I honestly never thought it would be able to get the level of quality of cut that is being obtained. Obviously there has been a learning curve for all getting into it and adapting to learning the various elements of this type of machining.
Now i have been watching on and off mostly off, the progress of the next version of the Shapeoko the Shapeoko 3 and it seems to me a good next level for the same kind of cost. But i dont get it these guys started taking orders in January yet are only just (from their blog) getting round to finishing shipping of orders received in what the call batch 1 and starting on batch 2. What appeals to me in the 3 is the fact that it uses a standard router as a spindle and has some ugraded features like rails and the controller and motors.
Now if the guys that have pioneered this learning here and i include Gary, Leo, Carol, Darren and any others that have CNC like Brents latest foray, can offer some summarized stages to the process of getting to the point of being able to actually do what you want I would seriously appreciate it.
What i would like to examine is the cost from start to the point where you have a working setup. I remember suckering myself into the Spinny world with a lathe that cost me relatively peanuts at the time by comparison to the chuck, tools etc that came after. We all know this path in anything we touch, the basic kit costs say a $1000 like the Shapeoko but then when we done with the "right software" thats not free and really works to dumbdown the process and make it more fool proof and efficient then its turns in to what?
The Shapeoko 3 is very attractive in this sense from a cost point of view, but learning curve aside on the whole process what have you guys been through on software side to get to where you can say ok this design that material load or design image in this package then pipe to that and generate code and then dump to this and run cut.
I thought i would be reading about Dan and Bill going through hundreds of dollars worth of cutting bits as they break them. I mean 1/8" inch bit with then some sort of cutting edge is not what i would call robust but it seems i am totally mistaken and overthinking it again.
I am also wondering if adoption of the Shapeoko 3 is just not happening due to the following of the intial version. Dont seem to be that many you tube videos really showing it off other than first cuts and very basic cutting. By now i was expecting to see way more.
I also note that on Shapeoko 3 side they doing the R &D now on their longer rails and i am wondering to what extent this issue has been holding back some guys from getting into the water. Anyone of you Shapeoko guys have any skinny on what the issues are, I mean 6 months from launch.
If we get some good summarised responses I will make it the thread into a collated PDF for us to have in Tips and Tutorials , I am sure i am not the first person looking to understand the full path of getting into CNC.
I know i could find a thread on the web explaining it but this brings one back to the issue of who you trust. I would rather hear from guys i have known from the forum for years and seen put their honest steps mistakes and all out there than some slick operator being funded by who knows who with an agenda.
Thanks for any and all replies.