Author Topic: Small 5 axis CNC  (Read 14668 times)

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Offline frenky

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Small 5 axis CNC
« on: June 23, 2015, 10:22:40 am »
I have found one sweet kickstarter:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1090944145/pocket-nc-the-first-5-axis-cnc-mill-for-your-deskt

I would love to have a "toy" like this in my workshop.  :-+

The only downside is the price 3500$...





« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 10:24:53 am by frenky »
 

Offline lutkeveld

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2015, 02:56:04 pm »
This is what I like to see on kickstarter. Looks like an enthusiastic team with a quality product  :-+
 

Offline Fred27

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2015, 03:02:43 pm »
Finding affordable software to generate a 5-axis toolpath might be more of a problem.

OK - I see they recommend Autodesk Fusion 360 and bundle in a year's licence. No idea if this is any good or not, but the "cloud based" bit worries me. Sounds like Circuit Maker all over again.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 03:12:45 pm by Fred27 »
 

Offline awallin

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2015, 05:35:37 pm »
wow!
+1 for a video with actual metal cutting - the usual router-type things mostly show foam or wax cutting
+1 also for using linuxcnc - too many 3d printer and router projects try to reinvent the wheel with a new control

I wonder how an automatic toolchanger could be made for this mill...

 

Offline rob77

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 07:08:52 pm »
That's a hell of cute machine ;) i doubt it will be extremely precise.. but hey ! it's a 5 axis desktop cutie ;)  for those who can afford a $3,5k toy, it looks good.

I wonder how an automatic toolchanger could be made for this mill...

i'm afraid it would be bigger than the milling machine itself ;)


 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 09:43:29 pm »
Finding affordable software to generate a 5-axis toolpath might be more of a problem.

OK - I see they recommend Autodesk Fusion 360 and bundle in a year's licence. No idea if this is any good or not, but the "cloud based" bit worries me. Sounds like Circuit Maker all over again.

I paid around $16k US for 5 axis MasterCAM and about $14k for 5 axis CamWorks to generate 5 axis tool paths. CamWorks was almost un-usably horrible and MasterCAM is reasonable.

Its not easy to do continous 5-axis motion but most of my work was 3+2 programming where I index the part into a position and then do 3 axis milling on it. Significantly more challenge than just 3 axis, but much easier than full motion 5th axis programming.

The only downside is the price 3500$...

$3500 is toy pricing. I have spent that much on a quick change vice. This seems like a neat project, but the expectations should be as low as the price of it. This little thing will have to take very light cuts and still likely have a LOT of vibration since there is very little mass to dampen it.

Repeatability of .002" is NOT good. (expected from the design concept though)

For Aluminum, you will need some cooling, as they say mist cooling should be fine but that needs a substantial air compressor. The heat is generated at the point of the cut. This is enough heat for the aluminum to stick to the cutter. Once that happens, it creates heat faster and puts a lot of stress on the tool.

It does not appear to be able to do sync tapping. Even if the motion control could handle it, the spindle does not have the power.

The spindle is 100watts and can only take 1/8" shank tools. This is not an insignificant limitation - keep your hopes and dreams very small.

The Haas MiniMill2 that they use to create this project is a very small tool itself, but can get good results. It weighs in at about 8000lbs I think and is generally considered a tiny CNC machine (hence the 'mini' name).
« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 10:01:41 pm by rx8pilot »
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 10:13:37 pm »


The cable track, ball screws, and linear guides are all exposed. Since the machine is so lightweight, it will generate very small chips that will get stuck everywhere. Using mist coolant will have the machine coated in a thin film of lubricant ensuring every chip that lands will stick.

I applaud the effort but would not even consider this for a hobby.
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Offline NoItAint

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2015, 10:51:01 pm »
That would be a lot of fun!  Now if they added an extruder ...   :D

I'll also add that Autodesk Fusion 360 is great!

From their own web page note that
"Fusion 360 continues to remain free for students, educators, schools, hobbyists and startups. "

I'd recommend picking it up and playing with it if you're interested in 3D modeling.  There's many tutorials, and a good forum.  And if you ever need a commercial license they have that too.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 11:33:33 pm »
I wish them luck and clearly they have done a lot of work for this project, but....  that thing is really just a toy.  I don't imagine there will be too many people willing to spend $3,500 for a toy.  I'm not sure what the market will be for such a thing post-Kickstarter.

As mentioned above, the limitations this machine has are so restrictive as to make it mostly unusable for any "real" 5-axis work.  It's sort of like the difference between a moped and Valentino Rossi's superbike... not really in the same galaxy :)
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2015, 12:57:40 am »
$3500 is just the beginning. Tools, Air compressor, coolant system, software, vise, saw, measuring tools, etc, etc.

I got my first CNC for around $50k. Very basic 3 axis HAAS TM-2. An additional $10k was immediately needed for starter tools, tools holders, workholding, a saw, basic measuring tools, and some horrid software called Bob CAD/CAM. Every job I did, I was short a tool of some sort which had me adding another $10k to the cost within a few months. The Bob CAM software was so useless, I had to spend about $13k on Cam Works. Now around $83k.

After spending months getting up to speed (many hundreds of hours over 16 hour days), I was able to make just about any part I designed in Solid Works - S-L-O-W-L-Y. It was literally too slow to be commercially successful unless I was ok working for $2/hour. This was a 6000lb CNC with tool changer and coolant system and I owned it outright (no payments).

I could not get very far until I got 2 full size 5 axis machines, MasterCAM and a whole bunch of fancy work-holding and tool holding. But that cost another $400k. At that point, I had enough speed and capability to create a business.

Clearly this Kickstarter cannot come close to a professional machine, so what is it for? Making 'prototypes'? Maybe, but if it is a business, you would spend the majority of your time fiddling with this machine and still get a marginal output - no ball screws, no rigid tapping, extremely slow. As a toy, who has $3500 to throw away on a toy that has very little functional purpose? Not many.

Far too weak to help any business (don't forget your time spent).

Far too expensive to be successful in the toy market.

I have lived this tale. Designer that wanted to bring prototype and light production in-house. I ended up spending every dime I had, and became a machinist - not a designer. Now I have gotten rid of my shop and back to designing. Outsourcing all the CNC work and making a far better business and lifestyle. Took 10 years to learn that lesson. I did, however, become a far better mechanical engineer after spending so much time programming, setting up, and running the CNC shop. I can design around the problems and challenges of CNC machined parts.
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Offline CanadianAvenger

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 04:44:22 pm »
Far too expensive for what it is. Too small to be useful.

While I applaud them for posting a video milling aluminum, you can hear the chatter in the spindle as it cuts.. the system isn't anywhere near rigid enough for milling metals with decent precision.

The design of the machine itself is also not great. As pointed out above, all the rails and screws are exposed to debris, which is a problem. Also the position of the IEC connector is subject to debris, also forbids the use of cutting fluids.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2015, 05:13:02 pm »
Far too expensive for what it is. Too small to be useful.

While I applaud them for posting a video milling aluminum, you can hear the chatter in the spindle as it cuts.. the system isn't anywhere near rigid enough for milling metals with decent precision.

The design of the machine itself is also not great. As pointed out above, all the rails and screws are exposed to debris, which is a problem. Also the position of the IEC connector is subject to debris, also forbids the use of cutting fluids.

Yep, it sounds like shit cutting metal.

The sound it's making is exactly the sound that makes me leap up from my desk and sprint across the shop as Usain Bolt speeds to the CNC machines to see if my part came loose from the fixture, or I forgot to turn the coolant on, or if the endmill has loaded up with aluminum and is close to exploding in a magic cloud of carbide dust.  RX8 knows the sound I am talking about :)

The other thing is that when you buy a CNC machine from any real machine tool builder, they have done finite element analysis of the casting (many of them post these on their website or in their brochures).  And you know that the machine will function and hold it's stated tolerances for the long haul - meaning for tens of thousands of hours of cutting.

These guys claim an overall accuracy of 0.005".  First, that's really shitty accuracy in CNC terms, but second, I don't even believe it's true.  If you look at the picture of the little milled aluminum engine block, it has gouges and ridges that are more than 0.010" deep, just gauging by eye.  They said it can use 1/8" endmills which is what they were using in the video and they say it can cut aluminum - so that part is supposed to be well within the capabilities of the machine, and I can tell that the part isn't within 0.005".

Not to mention... buying such a machine from a home-brew builder, what level of testing was done?  Will the machine hold whatever it's tolerance-as-delivered is after 1,000 hours of cutting?  Can it even achieve 1,000 hours of cutting?  What is the realistic longevity and ongoing accuracy/capability of a machine like this?  Those questions are ones that can be answered when buying a "real" CNC machine.

Again, I think it's great that this pair have built this machine - I can tell it's alot of work on their part and 5-axis machines aren't simple to build.  But it's basically a mechanical device - the drivers, NC control and all that are just off-the-shelf parts, and I don't imagine they could have done even a fraction of the level of testing/R&D that someone like Tormach does, let alone someone like Haas/Mazak/Mori/Doosan.



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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2015, 05:54:41 pm »
The 'kickstarter theme' seems to be second guessing traditional manufacturing. We have seen all kinds of mini-millng machines, 3D printers, laser marking, 3-in-one do it all machines, etc. that are a small fraction of the cost of 'real machines'.

I applaud the makers of the world - I AM one. I work out of my garage designing and making electronics and mechanics for high-end and precision environments. My first attempt at manufacturing machined parts was a Smithy 3-in-1 lathe/mill/drill that was super cheap. That was when I learned that cheap gets you NOWHERE. If you want to get into manufacturing and 'MAKING' for profit - there is NO NEW MAGIC TECHNOLOGY THAT ALLOWS YOU TO CUT CORNERS. I have been looking at and trying everything available for a very long time. 3D printing is NOT MAKING. Fiddling with any machine that wastes your time is NOT MAKING. I would suggest that you spend your time making, not fiddling. I started my business with $0 and a full time job. My goal was to make real product for real people that solve real problems. The whole journey has been a massive challenge. I have searched for every magically low cost option for every step and found none.

Cheap machines with big claims are a distraction that will keep even the most dedicated maker from getting results. If you really want to CNC machine parts yourself, buy an old HAAS VF-0, TM1, TM2 or similar. They can make parts as long as you put in hundreds of hours learning how to be a machinist. With the typical crop of corner cutting micro-machines, you have ALL of the learning curve of being a machinist and nearly no chance of getting usable parts.

PS:
ACME screws with pre-loaded nuts SUCK on day one, require adjustments, and will not last long. The platter is supported only from one side which ensures that it will vibrate. Vibration will give you a rough surface finish and break tools.

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Offline rob77

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2015, 06:00:17 pm »
i would not compare it to real CNC machines designed for manufacturing parts...

it's a little cute toy which can do lot's of stuff - it's not meant to be a machine for producing precise parts.

regarding the accuracy - 5 thou is  0.127 mm - that really sucks , but still usable in many areas - don't forget extruder 3D printers are MUCH worse than that and still usable in many areas of prototyping.

i really like the machine, they did a great job designing and building it (except the exposed ball screws and unfortunate positioning power connector). personally i would never ever spend 3,5k on such a toy device... but it might and i believe it will be useful for some groups (just remember the shitty job done by today's extruder based 3D printers )
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2015, 06:05:01 pm »
i would not compare it to real CNC machines designed for manufacturing parts...

it's a little cute toy which can do lot's of stuff - it's not meant to be a machine for producing precise parts.

regarding the accuracy - 5 thou is  0.127 mm - that really sucks , but still usable in many areas - don't forget extruder 3D printers are MUCH worse than that and still usable in many areas of prototyping.

i really like the machine, they did a great job designing and building it (except the exposed ball screws and unfortunate positioning power connector). personally i would never ever spend 3,5k on such a toy device... but it might and i believe it will be useful for some groups (just remember the shitty job done by today's extruder based 3D printers )

The key point is that it cannot be compared to a real milling machine in any way, but is VERY expensive for a toy. I believe it has ACME screws, NOT ball screws which is a huge contributor to the marginal accuracy. For me to spend $3500, I need some useful output.
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Online thm_w

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2015, 07:26:11 pm »
The key point is that it cannot be compared to a real milling machine in any way, but is VERY expensive for a toy. I believe it has ACME screws, NOT ball screws which is a huge contributor to the marginal accuracy. For me to spend $3500, I need some useful output.

It looks like threaded rod and teflon bushings.  Definitely not ball screws.
To put those on would bump up the price significantly (~2k).

Threaded rod and brass bushings can work reasonably well for a hobby machine. Its possible to get down to <0.002" backlash, which is going to be the primary determination of accuracy. Teflon on its own would wear out fairly quickly, and deflect a bit under large loads. But there may be a more complex coupling mechanism inside (spring loaded or adjustable), I can't tell.

Still impressive examples and the spindle specs are great.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2015, 11:22:19 pm »

regarding the accuracy - 5 thou is  0.127 mm - that really sucks , but still usable in many areas - don't forget extruder 3D printers are MUCH worse than that and still usable in many areas of prototyping.


Side note... 3D printer guys are beating even Chinese LED sellers on eBay when it comes to inflating their stuff to be much higher end than it is.  At least the Chinese LED sellers are only off by 2-3x, whereas the 3D Printer guys are off by a couple of orders of magnitude when talking about the capabilities of their POS 3D printers.


The word "micron" should never even be spoken by anyone with anything less than a professional Objet or Stratasys machine.  I had some parts printed by the top guy on the East Coast on MakeXYZ and they are representative of the true capabilities of these better-off-being-boat-anchor turds. 

Anyone claiming even 0.010" results from a 3D printer that cost less than $20k new is full of shit.  The pics below are the laughable results of my print job and represent the level of shite the poor makers slaving away in their garage are getting.





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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2015, 11:56:10 pm »
There is general confusion between resolution and accuracy. Many of these low end offerings use maximum encoder counts to specify accuracy when they are two different things.
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Offline Fred27

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2015, 08:36:50 am »
The worst of it has to be how many times you see "just attach the spindle, laser or extruder attachment for a great 3-in-1 machine".
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2015, 05:19:18 pm »
A small professional CNC mill = $45k (HAAS)
A small semi-pro laser cutter/marking = $15k (Epilog)
A decent 3D printer (not so sure of price) = $10k?? (maybe)

Total (minus tooling and consumables) = ~$70k

I bet a 3-in-1 of those could happen with reasonable compromises and be useful for around $30k. A professional machine for design, prototyping, and pilot runs. Each function would still be limited from its dedicated counterparts, but probably useful enough. It must be rigid which means it has to have mass. It needs to be accurate and repeatable which means shrouded ball screws. For laser marking, it will need linear encoders. The milling spindle needs to take decent size tools and do rigid tapping which would require something north of 7.5kW and a quick tool change system. I think there 'may' be a market there for R&D departments but it would be a huge development and business risk since nothing like it exists. The attempts a micro-machines, while commendable, is not likely a business.

The makers of the world should spend less time trying to re-invent physics and focus on the creative use of tools that actually work. If you have a product that is awesome and popular - it will need pre-production prototypes that are optimized for real-world manufacturing. Spend your money and time there and you will get to the market faster and for a lot less money.
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Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2015, 06:28:17 pm »
The word "micron" should never even be spoken by anyone with anything less than a professional Objet or Stratasys machine.  I had some parts printed by the top guy on the East Coast on MakeXYZ and they are representative of the true capabilities of these better-off-being-boat-anchor turds. 

Anyone claiming even 0.010" results from a 3D printer that cost less than $20k new is full of shit.  The pics below are the laughable results of my print job and represent the level of shite the poor makers slaving away in their garage are getting.

That piece of shite isn't representative of anything except someone who knows jack shit about configuring a slicer. (And of how pissed you are after paying someone for a vastly inferior job.) You should go to a Makerfaire and have a look at the Ultimake tent for example, and see what a $3k machine can do in the right hands.

Amateur 3d printing is perfectly capable of good enough results, but getting that depends entirely on the expertise of the user. Yes, I've also seen people running 3d printers and producing the sort of shit you showed here (and worse), and being happy about it. No, that's not indicative of what is possible.

Joke's on you for using MakeXYZ. If you outsource, you might as well outsource to someone with expertise and industial machines (iMaterialise or Shapeways).
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 06:34:19 pm by Sigmoid »
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2015, 09:43:43 pm »
The word "micron" should never even be spoken by anyone with anything less than a professional Objet or Stratasys machine.  I had some parts printed by the top guy on the East Coast on MakeXYZ and they are representative of the true capabilities of these better-off-being-boat-anchor turds. 

Anyone claiming even 0.010" results from a 3D printer that cost less than $20k new is full of shit.  The pics below are the laughable results of my print job and represent the level of shite the poor makers slaving away in their garage are getting.

That piece of shite isn't representative of anything except someone who knows jack shit about configuring a slicer. (And of how pissed you are after paying someone for a vastly inferior job.) You should go to a Makerfaire and have a look at the Ultimake tent for example, and see what a $3k machine can do in the right hands.

Amateur 3d printing is perfectly capable of good enough results, but getting that depends entirely on the expertise of the user. Yes, I've also seen people running 3d printers and producing the sort of shit you showed here (and worse), and being happy about it. No, that's not indicative of what is possible.

Joke's on you for using MakeXYZ. If you outsource, you might as well outsource to someone with expertise and industial machines (iMaterialise or Shapeways).

That was printed on an Ultimaker 2.

I usually use Sculpteo, but had a trade show and needed parts very quickly - and people on MakeXYZ were the only ones who could get it done in time.  I went with the top listed guy on the whole east coast with hundreds of 5* reviews.  I realize that isn't the best home-brew 3D printers can do, but it is representative of the huge chasm between what the owners of these machines think they can do and what they really can do.  Coming from the CNC machining world and having a lot of experience having 3D printing done, I just find it laughable how many people are getting into the field and tossing numbers like "micron" around - thinking their POS machines can achieve things that machines costing orders of magnitude more can only achieve under certain circumstances.
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Offline Corporate666

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2015, 09:47:45 pm »
There is general confusion between resolution and accuracy. Many of these low end offerings use maximum encoder counts to specify accuracy when they are two different things.

I think it's less about confusion and more about abject bullshit  :bullshit:

They are all trying to one-up each other.  One machine claims it'll hold 0.002".  The next guy claims 0.001... then someone says "micron" and there's a whole new chain of one-upping going on.  I think most of the people developing these machines have little or no experience in machining beyond maybe having a little time on a Haas or manual machine at college - but they know everything there is to know about the subject and are ready to one-up Mori Seiki out of their garage  :-DD
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Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2015, 04:32:21 pm »
That was printed on an Ultimaker 2.

As I said...
depends entirely on the expertise of the user.

The Ultimaker 2 is a really solid machine. But it's SISO: shit in, shit out.

I usually use Sculpteo, but had a trade show and needed parts very quickly - and people on MakeXYZ were the only ones who could get it done in time.  I went with the top listed guy on the whole east coast with hundreds of 5* reviews.

Heh. Well, as I said, most people just don't care, or can't tell bad quality from good.

I realize that isn't the best home-brew 3D printers can do, but it is representative of the huge chasm between what the owners of these machines think they can do and what they really can do.  Coming from the CNC machining world and having a lot of experience having 3D printing done, I just find it laughable how many people are getting into the field and tossing numbers like "micron" around - thinking their POS machines can achieve things that machines costing orders of magnitude more can only achieve under certain circumstances.

On a homebrew machine (or well, anything that uses NEMA steppers and rubber belts), getting within .1mm is considered the apex of success. That said, that's more than fine in most applications.

I perfectly know the difference between a CNC and a Reprap-class 3d printer, and it's a huge difference. It starts with the fact that you need two burly guys to move a real CNC. ;) When people are like "let's put a spindle on this 3d printer and then it will be a CNC", I can't help but facepalm. Even an el cheapo ShapeOKO is an order of manitude more rigid than a RepRap. But dissing the whole field of experimentation and entrepreneurship around amateur fabrication comes off as highly elitist and antisocial.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 04:34:47 pm by Sigmoid »
 

Offline ronwoch

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Re: Small 5 axis CNC
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2015, 04:43:44 pm »
Managing expectations is important, too. My manager at work printed a bunch of '3d gear cubes' you know, those cute little fidget toys that are 4 planetary gears on a central hub, making a cube that rotates? Anyway, they came out great, and a bunch of us have them kicking around on our desks. Little robots, animals, etc. abound as well. Same guy also printed a nerf gun, though he said he had a lot of issues getting it to come out. Point is, anyone who uses/buys a home-grade, build-it-yourself-kit 3d printer, then compares the results to a professional machine that costs 10/20/30 grand or more, obviously won't like the results. Similarly, anyone who buys said machine and expects to manufacture anything in there garage more complex than said examples, is deluded and unrealistic. Such machines exist so the hobbyist can tinker, fiddle, and occasionally make something cool. If it happens to be a semi-useful proto type for something, great!

RX8pilot - very nice points about the 'hidden' costs. And yeah - 3500 is far too much for a 'toy' perhaps. And the machine isn't capable enough to do decent prototypes. That said, for someone who has never gotten to do ANY of that kind of stuff, and, say, wants to try it out - 3500 on a 'toy' machine, plus extras! is still cheaper than half a mill to discover that, no, they really are NOT that interested in being a machinist after all.... just a thought.
But it all still boils down to expectations. If you consider it a toy for people who enjoy dabbling in such things - well, some of them out there at least seem to fit the bill. I still stay away from it, because I don't want to build, or constantly maintain, a finicky, fidgity machine. I don't even like working on my own car anymore - takes too much time from hobbies I enjoy a lot more.
 


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