Getting started with cheap CNC

Workshops that can be done at con.

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Getting started with cheap CNC

Postby hallam » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:32 pm

One of the major changes in the Maker world in 2014 is that 3D Printing and CNC machining have suddenly become a lot cheaper.

Several companies are now offering 3D printers in the $300-$500 range and a pretty solid full size rig can be had for $1000. CNC mills are even cheaper, I built a Shapeoko for $300 for the kit + $300 for the motors, electronics etc. That is for a mill with a working area of 12"x12"x2". For an extra $100 I extended the envelope to 30"x72"x2".

OK so this stuff is not going to run as fast as $10,000 commercial rig but thats not a problem. It is plenty solid enough to mill MDF, Plywood and aluminum plate.

One of the main driving factors here is the RepRap printing community which has developed electronics boards and software that can be used to build pretty much any type of CNC system. There are plenty of mills, lathes and 3D printers built with this stuff and some brave folk are working on Laser cutters.

So maybe one or two sessions on low cost CNC, the tool chains, etc.

Another nice feature of the stuff is that it is pretty portable. I could bring the mill and the printer along. Running the printer at the convention would not be a problem. Would be rather less happy running the mill.
hallam
 
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Re: Getting started with cheap CNC

Postby gzeb » Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:11 pm

hallam wrote:Another nice feature of the stuff is that it is pretty portable. I could bring the mill and the printer along. Running the printer at the convention would not be a problem. Would be rather less happy running the mill.


I remember sometime ago there was a vac-forming discussion and while a small scale one was brought in (the size of a toaster oven with accompanying shop vac), the presenter used a slide show of a the large scale one making storm trooper armor was shown to illustrate the larger one's operation. You could always show slides or a video or the mill's operation and detail might fit the bill as well if it is too complicated to lug in.
gzeb
 
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