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CNC recommendation for 2D wood cutting. NEW to CNC's

847 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  WillAdams
Hello! I am new to this forum as I am starting a woodworking craft that is taking off, I am currently cutting with a scrollsaw and I need help with a CNC. I cut (Thickness) 1" pine designs with a max width of 18". (pic attached) Can you please look at the 3 machine below and let me know if one is superior and better cutting out my designs, I will mostly use this for CNC 2D Cutting. Any suggestions/recommendations would be great! I would like to keep my budget round 3k. Thanks!

Company: Inventables

Company: Bob's Evolution 5
Evolution 5 CNC Router Kit - BobsCNC

Company: Mill Right
Mega V Router

Thank you,
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Quite a range of options there. I do not have experience with any of these but I would probably exclude the Bobs DIY version. It will require you to add the electronics yourself and it just is not in the same league as the others. The Millright and Xcarve have pretty good reputations and should be capable of most 2D applications and some 3D. A couple of others to consider are the Shapeoko and Axiom. I have an older Next wave Shark and it performs reasonable well but I would lean towards the Axiom if I were buying now.

BTW, don't forget the software for designing and creating the gcode. There are free options but something like Vectric Vcarve help make the learning curve a little easier to climb because it can be an all in one solution.

One more option to consider is the Shaper Origin. It is a basically a handheld CNC and several people on the forum swear by them. Not sure that I would want to cutout 1" thick shapes with one but it might be worth considering, especially if space is an issue. One disadantage of the Origin compared to other CNCs is that you have to stand and hold the machine while it works instead of pressing go and letting it do its thing.
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Millright - not Bobs.

Most of the CNC software is plug & play, but it helps if you have a CAD background.

Metal frame and plastic bed allows you to machine both wood & alum. Metal is more rigid than lexan (Bobs)

Leadscrews are preferred over belts.

Repeatability is more important than resolution.

Hold downs are an issue, sometimes you have to tweak the toolpath to avoid hold downs - something that the software might not understand.

Air assist can be added. This helps keep the chips out of the way.

Limit switched prevent crashes.

Buy something somewhat bigger than you need initially, you'll grow into it.

Bits aren't cheap. Solid carbide is best.

Do "dry runs" with no bit to check the tool path. Learn to understand the software path checking. Mach3 is common and takes a bit of getting used to in order to visualize the path information.

Get your computer organized. Keep track of what gets stored where and for gawd's sake make a backup now and then!
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The X-Carve was forked from the Shapeoko 2, but hasn't much improved on that design, while the guy behind Millright started out on the Shapeoko forum doing small parts upgrades before trying to make his own machines-- is there a reason the Shapeoko isn't being considered?

(ob. discl., I work for Carbide 3D)

It's on it's 4th (arguably 5th if one includes the Pro) iteration and the SO3 was a clean sheet re-design, and the 4 is a marked improvement discarding the last of parts commonality w/ the original machines.

Posted a response w/ some links at:

If you have any questions, fire away!
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