LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

48" wide small format /small shop cnc router

1432 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  RonRiverRat
Hi all-

Looking to get into cnc type work, mostly hobby but could possibly be used for carved cabinets etc. I do semi pro cabinets on the side with a euro slider so that would be how I would continue most basic cabinets.

I have a very small 1 man shop and cannot spare the room for a 4×8 cnc.

I'm having a lot of difficulty with most of the cnc limiting a full 48" width working area with the gantry being short and table long. I think my ideal cnc would be along the lines of 48" width under the gantry, 24" is probably sufficient table space for most projects, if not I understand there is tiling you can use as well to pickup where you ran out of room.
For options, I really see about 3, shopbot shopbuddy, i2r w34, and x-carve. Not interested in the latter, no spindle. I2r is about 1/2 the cost as shopbot, some trade offs on speed and no power stick.
Any thoughts or things I should be considering as first time cnc purchaser? Any I2R owners?
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
If you are getting a CNC for casework, you can't afford NOT to have 4×8…
That said, if you are in fact carving parts for cabinets, a smaller, reliable machine might suit you fine.

Carving does usually entail a higher learning curve (which is already pretty steep), than just cutting 2 1/2D case good parts. The software is more complicated and the time required to program is higher - even once you already know what you're doing.

The upside, is you can replicate a carving multiple times with far less effort.
As for recommendations for a small machine, I can't help there very much.
My experience is with large industrial versions of these machine intended for volume production.
What do you mean by "carved cabinets"? Are you talking about the doors? If so, the panels or the frames? Are you wanting to do 3D relief carvings? Have you thought about a Shaper Origin if you are just wanting to machine components and parts?

Learning the software will take an investment in time. The small machines aren't very fast. You'll still have to cut all the parts to size. What are you looking to have the CNC do?
Cnc is aimed towards making furniture templates, carved furniture panels, maybe 3D cabinet door panels or furniture. The weird one off solutions with curves and such that come my way- case in point would be a train bed I made for a client. Would have been way easier to cut all the circles I needed to do on a cnc vs making a jig to go on the table saw or bandsaw, plus the front had a difficult shape. It would be nice to be able to have the 48" width for that project plus tiling. Those are rare though but margins are usually quite good.

Day to day operation should fit within the 24×48 main cutting area. Basic signs, custom engravings etc.
I have the Axiom AR6 Pro+. The AR8 (next size up) is 4'x2' I think. Very reliable. water-cooled spindle.
I have had ShopBots for 20 years. They are very reliable and I have had no trouble with accuracy. The newer models are very rigid (important) and this allows for accuracy. I cut both 2d and 3d parts. I made cabinet doors (both carved and raised panel MDF) 25 years ago with a much less reliable/accurate ShopBot and still had a very low error rate.

The folks that have commented on CAD/CAM software are giving you excellent advise. You will have trouble finding reasonably priced software and the learning curve is VERY steep. You can email me at [email protected] and I will give you my phone number if you would like to give me a call..
Wood Coin Currency Money Circle
See less See more
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.