Two Quick Questions re: Laser and Recommended Starter CNC Machines

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Forum topic by Doug posted 11-30-2017 07:17 PM 1126 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Doug's profile


46 posts in 1909 days

11-30-2017 07:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: carving tool router carving cnc laser software

Good Afternoon!

A couple of months ago I got myself a very inexpensive laser engraver kit over the web. It came with no instructions and thankfully there were plenty of good videos online. So far though the unit does burn pretty well, my results are so-so. The included Chinese software is the pits. There is no help… Can anyone recommend a high quality software program?

Also, I am looking to get into a starter CNC system – on a budget. How much do I need to spend to get a decent starter kit? Any recommendations on best kits to look at?

Thank you very much!



-- The only limit to your skills is your willingness to learn

4 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile


1462 posts in 1428 days

#1 posted 11-30-2017 07:53 PM

Please describe how you plan to use the CNC machine and whether it is mostly a hobby or you hope to go pro. For some hobbyists, the answer might be less than $3000. For someone who hopes someday to make their living with the machine, the answer might be $25,000. I bought a Camaster Stinger I, which is small (24 X 36 workspace), but in many ways a professional machine. As best I remember, it cost ~$7,500 but the investment was more than that after buying the necessary tooling. My one regret is that I didn’t spend more money for a larger machine. It started as a hobby for me and I am trying to decide whether to keep it that way. Based on three years experience, I am confident I could succeed at a part time business venture. If I do go that way, I would like to upgrade machines – maybe $15,000 for a new one.

View Doug's profile


46 posts in 1909 days

#2 posted 11-30-2017 08:05 PM

Hey Artman,

Thank you for responding. Really appreciate the questions to help clarify.

The plan is for small scale hobby work. Mostly accent pieces for woodworking projects because I cannot carve by hand to save my life. So, at least for a good long time. A minimum of five years until I retire.

I have seen all sorts of build your own kits ranging in the $750 – $1,000 range. I do not expect those to do highly professional work, but am hoping that there are some decent options. I know that “you get what you pay for.” Just hoping someone can share their experience with these lower end options.

Thank you very much,


-- The only limit to your skills is your willingness to learn

View CherryWood's profile


22 posts in 3850 days

#3 posted 12-08-2017 01:38 AM

I bought a Chinese CNC router and also a Chinese laser. I am extremely well pleased with both. I also helped a friend buy a Chinese CNC Router. We are in process of setting it up. There is a price to pay when going the Chinese route. 1) they are worst than horrible at instruction and documentation. Sometimes the machines and software are difficult to get to a good running condition. In the end, the pains of working through the initial issues gain you peace of mind and dollars in your pocket. Domestic machines will be plug and play ready – no pain – but you pay for it in dollars.

I have seen some really nice home built machines

CNC Routerparts is gaining some decent reputation

There are lots of options

View dixdance's profile


5 posts in 2267 days

#4 posted 01-31-2018 11:57 PM

ArtMann, if you ever decide to upgrade, I’d be interested in your 24×36 Stinger. I will be looking for a quality machine that size in the near future.

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