Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

eBay CNC machines… yay or nay?

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David Aurora:
I’ve been umming and ahhing about buying one of those cheap-ish small CNC machines on eBay for years (not 100% sure on size yet, most likely the 3040 though). It would literally have one job and one job only- engraving labels into aluminium panels (mostly small Hammond boxes). If it can also make the control holes that’s a bonus, but not required.

Anyone got any input on whether or not they’re actually worth buying for something like this? I can’t stress enough that I’m really not after a new hobby. I don’t want to spend 6 months playing with drivers and aligning the damn thing, I’m after a tool I can actually use to do small batches of enclosures. In the past I did a lot of chemical etching for these and it worked fine, but was way too laborious to be financially worthwhile.

I acquired a Sable 2015 some time back to engrave PCBs. Similar style to the 3040. It does the job OK, albeit not very quickly. It is accurate (and repeatable) enough in both depth and x/y axes to do 0.5mm pitch SMD and I've done LGA28 (LSM330DL) on it. It drills the holes (component and fixing) beforehand then mills ou the board afterwards, so I'd say it would be easily able to engrave aluminium given an appropriate bit.

Anything at this level is going to need a bit of setup and some tuning as you do the first few jobs, but my setup hasn't changed in quite some time.

Hi David,

I regularly follow this lady on Youtube, have a look to this episode: https://youtu.be/znZgT3Zmf5Y you may find some suggestions about what not to buy.


She speaks good stuff :)

But it's a drag watching a talking hand :(

When the hand is showing you information about what the presenter is talking about, I don't have a problem in the world.

Seeing flapping lips doesn't help you visualise anywhere nearly as well as actually looking at the things being discussed.


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