CNC 3018

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Forum topic by galaxyclass1 posted 07-03-2020 03:08 PM 1022 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 482 days

07-03-2020 03:08 PM


I honestly know nothing about CNC machines. What I want is to cut different diameter holes in thin plexiglass. If things work at out well I would want to repeat this process many times over. This is why I’m looking at CNC machines. I don’t need anything big. This project should be straight forward and simple circular cuts. I’m not looking to become a CNC master, I just need a method of completing my project. I was looking at these 3018 desktop CNC machines which seem to do what I need. My question is, I see many, many, of these online made (or sold) by different companies and they all look identical, but all have different company branding. I’m assuming there a manufacturer in China that is mass producing them for resellers.

An example on Amazon is:

And another one:

They look the same to me. Does anyone know anything about these machines? Are they junk? Is there any difference between them? The prices are often very far apart but still look like the same machine.


16 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3007 posts in 1412 days

#1 posted 07-03-2020 08:50 PM

welcome to the forum.

can you share a photo of the item you will be making ?
also, the overall size and sizes of the holes, etc. will help.
there may be other ways to make a template and use a hand held router
just to get started in your projects to see how it goes. a lot of information
is always good to get the most accurate responses.
after using hand tools, and it takes off like you hope, then you can invest in the CNC.
(just a thought).


-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

428 posts in 4332 days

#2 posted 07-03-2020 09:55 PM

Agree with JS, build a template to cut the parts with a router for the first few versions.

The CNC machines listed are probably a descent amount of hardware for the price. They will have some limitations. The biggest issue is that they are built like a 3D printer, however printing uses a lot less force than cutting. The rails will try to flex if you push them too fast when cutting. They may be OK for low speeds. Also, the cutting area is quite small. It may work for you. The next step up in size and rigidity may be a huge jump in price. There is nothing wrong with those machines to try out CNC as long as you can afford a $200 loss if they don’t work out or you decide you need to upgrade.

-- Steve

View galaxyclass1's profile


4 posts in 482 days

#3 posted 07-04-2020 11:10 AM

Guys, thank you both for responding so quickly and for the suggestions. I’ve attached a picture of a random product that has the kind of wholes I want to cut and the material I want to use. The thing is, I could make one by hand using power tools, I have the hand tools to do it, but i want to make many of my design. I need to be able to do it in a more automated fashion. It wouldn’t be worth it to me to make these manually. I need to be able to set it up and walk away, come back, set up a new one and go do something else. That’s why I started looking at these little CNC machines. If all went well, I would look to upgrade to a better CNC.

These would have a combination of 2” holes, 1” holes, and a couple sizes I haven’t determined yet. All holes would be 2” or under. Plus some small holes I would use a drill bit for.

My biggest concern is that there are so many of these model 3018 CNCs sold by so many companies, yet they all look the same. And there are some pretty broad differences in price. I’ve seen one for as low as $70.00, and have seen another one that looks exactly the same for $300.00.

Thanks again.

View GrantA's profile


3164 posts in 2657 days

#4 posted 07-04-2020 11:41 AM

I used to think the same way till I got a little taste of cnc work with some friends. You’re not gonna be happy (maybe sometimes but not consistently) with the results if you walk away from it.
Sure you can work on something else in the shop while it’s cutting but there’s a reason all the machine control software (and some hardware) has a big red emergency stop button. A bit can break. It can get snagged on an edge (especially on my plasma table with thin metal which likes to curl up a little). It can do all sorts of things it shouldn’t do and you have to fix it. Or else you come back to a ruined part at best.

View becikeja's profile


1180 posts in 4063 days

#5 posted 07-04-2020 11:55 AM

I had no idea, these had gotten this cheap…. But scroll down the link you sent. In the add it states “A Good Toy” This would scare me away, unless you’re just looking to play around and have some fun. My suspicion is you will be fighting jams and miss steps on a frequent basis. There is a reason the more entry hobby models are still around $2-$3 thousand and not $2-3 hundred.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View mrg's profile


886 posts in 4249 days

#6 posted 07-04-2020 12:14 PM

Take a look over at Carbide 3D offerings. They have the Nomad or Shapeoko. Nice machines for the money and large community support. There are many machines out there.

-- mrg

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3007 posts in 1412 days

#7 posted 07-04-2020 01:42 PM

put ”3018 CNC REVIEWS” in your google search.
the results vary with the expectations of the user.
either as a hobby or a young fledgling business enterprise.
as the saying goes: Buyer Beware.
for you, just starting out, I would out-source this to a CNC Professional
to see how your sales will go. (if you make 10 and only sell 8, then you will know).
and you are correct, that is a LOT of holes to be done consistently with smooth edges.
even though this isn’t a woodworking project, it is very interesting.
please keep us in the loop as to how your project turns out.
[can we ask what the project is for and how it will be used ??].


-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View galaxyclass1's profile


4 posts in 482 days

#8 posted 07-04-2020 05:33 PM

Thanks a lot everyone, I appreciate all of it and agree with you on all points.

Mrg, I actually have been to Carbide 3D and I did see some very attractive machines there. I’ll consider those. Thank you.

John, it is for holding vape supplies…. bottle of juice mostly, but also parts. To be used either by consumers or vape shops as counter top displays.

View LeeRoyMan's profile


2164 posts in 977 days

#9 posted 07-04-2020 06:00 PM

Have you looked into laser cutting them? This would leave a polished edge as well.

Also you need to be aware, you may know this already, there are different kinds of acrylic.
I used to work in a plastic shop.
The Rohm Haas plexiglass would gum up and melt as it was being machined, but we also had an import version and it would pretty much powder away as it was being machined, so do some research on that.

View galaxyclass1's profile


4 posts in 482 days

#10 posted 07-05-2020 10:45 AM

LeeRoy, is there a laser cutter you would recommend? Is that any more or less expensive?


View GrantA's profile


3164 posts in 2657 days

#11 posted 07-05-2020 12:47 PM

I’m not Leroy but can tell you a laser cutter is going to be very expensive. Laser engraver are along the lines of the 3018 deal you posted. To cut you’ll need a machine with a high powered co2 or fiber laser, while different ball game

View Nick424's profile


157 posts in 1890 days

#12 posted 07-05-2020 01:34 PM

Galaxy, my son and I had a Full Spectrum hobby laser that had about a 12 X 20 inch cut area. It was a great machine. After getting it we found so many things that we could do with it. It would easily cut 1/4 inch acrylic and leave that nice polished edge. It could cut through 1/4 inch wood also. It was 40 watts. I found that there were so many things to do with it that my son and I upgraded to a 100 watt Universal laser, and sold the Full Spectrum. The Full Spectrum was not cheap at $4000, but we were afraid that the $400 Chinese ones would not holdup, or do the things we hoped to do. We chose the Full Spectrum because it was sold and serviced by a company in the US and we had excellent customer service from them.

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

428 posts in 4332 days

#13 posted 07-05-2020 03:55 PM

Is there a maker space in your area? There is a place near me called HackerLab that allows access to all of their CNC routers and laser cutters for a monthly access fee. There is a discount for the local community college students. Something like this could allow you to try various methods before committing to buy something.

-- Steve

View DS's profile


3956 posts in 3670 days

#14 posted 07-05-2020 05:12 PM

- galaxyclass1

An item like this was not made by machining each one on a CNC.
This is mass produced with injection molded parts. A new one is spit out every ten seconds or so.

Just sayin’

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS

View oldnovice's profile


7753 posts in 4618 days

#15 posted 07-05-2020 10:47 PM

I agree with DS above that part was injection molded, probably with a very short cycle time between parts.

Take a look at the Stepcraft as, in my opinion, is a decent machine that is available in many different desktop sizes and options like laser cutter heads.

And remember you get what you pay for so don’t go ultra cheap, look at the manufacturer’s reputation, and look at some of the CNC forums before you jump to buy CNC.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

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