Upgrade cnc machine?

Tom Baugues

Lafayette, Indiana
I've had a very small 7" x 7" cnc machine for about 5 years now but never had the time to really learn how to use it. Now I have time but cant get things to work. In my quest for answers to my current issues I've been seeing a lot of really nice larger projects that people have made using there machines. This makes me start to wonder if I'm barking up the wrong tree and if I really want to do any serious cnc work then what would I need to look at as far as a machine and controls to operate it with. My shop is still small but I could maybe get a 24" x 24" tabletop unit to fit nicely. Would anyone have any advice or recommendations of units to look at? Would it be possible to do (all in...unit, controller, software) under $2000.00?
Tom, there are machines out there for under $2000. Maybe not 24 x 24, most likely a bit smaller. Toni C just bought one, but there is a very steep learning curve. For any CNC machine you will need some software just to make programs for it. Some free stuff out there. Some people use the free stuff. Vectric is probably the most popular not free software. The cheapest price is $150 the highest price is $2000 - just to create programs. One very popular package from Vectric is V-Carve pro. FREE TRIAL. That package is $700. Toni C made his wavy boxes with V-Carve Pro.

Mach3 control software is $175 if you choose a machine that will accept Mach3. That is one of the most popular control software packages - lots of helps available on youtube.

So my point is - the machine plus the programming software plus control software plus some cutters and accessories may be more than $2000.

Lots of people like the X-carve, or the Shark from Rockler. You can get a Chinese import or a kit on EBAY.

Rigidity in the machine is very important as well as the power of the drive motors - steppers

USED - take your chances - why are they selling it??

I don't know the quality

This is very similar to what Toni C has

There are just so many choices out there it becomes a difficult decision as to what to select.

What things do you things you want to make?
Does anyone here know anything about these uc100 motion controllers? They are suppose to convert parallel port connections to USB. I've read that they work (but ONLY) if you dont buy cheap ones.


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I have tried that on my older machine and it does not work.
It is easier to install a parallel port in the computer
Win 10 does not do a good job at supporting a parallel port.
This is an issue I have yet to resolve for my little MAXNC10
I will try installing Win XP - in the future someday.

My new machine was set up with a chinese USB software like.
It is certainly a weak link. It works but is troublesome.
This is one reason I will upgrade my machine to a centroid control.

Darren - I believe he is trying to plug into the computers parallel port to comvert to a USB in order to plug in a USB BOB