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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2021

    Help picking a new CNC mill

    Originally posted to practical machinist forums to no help.

    Hello, I need help selecting a CNC mill for light production work and R&D prototyping.

    Budget is under $7500

    The bulk of the work will be milling holes from Ø0.064" to Ø4.00" into 0.125" thick 6061 aluminum plates, which we do around 250/year.
    The machines tolerance's ideally would be no more than +-0.005" since we need high precision holes. Light engraving work and simple geometry prototyping will also be performed on 6061 and plastics. It would be beneficial if the machine came with a CAM package but not necessary.

    My current pick is for the Pocket NC V2-10 which is priced at $5,900.00 and has a suitable work area.

    I was once an intern machinist using Makino and Mazak CNC's doing aerospace work (Stainless Steel, titanium, Inconel, Hastelloy) so I have some familiarity with machining in general just no clue what the market is like for smaller benchtop / hobby machines is like so any help would be greatly appreciated and if there are any other critical details left out that would help in the decision process let me know.

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Re: Help picking a new CNC mill

    If the Pocket NC has the work envelope you need then that seems like a pretty good deal.

    The next step up is Tormach machines. But only the 440 starter machine in in your budget range.

    Don't discount buying used machines, even one with dead controls. If you can find a EMCO Concept 50 or 55 mill, that would be a nice machine in your size range. There are a few good deals on larger commercial machines, a controls retrofit is pretty easy and relatively inexpensive.

    For CAM software, CamBam is one of my favorites, 2.5D only, but it works well and a forever license is $150. I used it for a number of years. The hobby version of Fusion 360 is still free, but somewhat broken compared to the full subscription version.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Help picking a new CNC mill

    If your holes are straight up and down, I don't see why you'd need a 5-axis machine like the Pocket NC V2-10. If you need that feature, then sure; it's probably the cheapest 5-axis machine on the market. But it doesn't seem particularly powerful, with its NEMA 17 motors. If you're just doing normal machining, it seems you'd be better off with a Taig mill, which we sell for considerably less than the Pocket NC V2-10, even with ball screws and the extended Y axis option.
    Andrew Werby

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2021

    Re: Help picking a new CNC mill

    Thanks for the reply Jim, the tormach 440 has also been on my list if i can convince the boss to stretch out budget a tiny bit so we can get some nice options like the ATC.

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