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  1. #1
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    New buildyourcnc.com cnc any good?

    I would like to build a CNC machine myself but don't have the tools to do a competent job and would like to have one up and running rather quickly. I see Patrick over at www.buildyourcnc.com has a new 4x8 machine design that uses roller chains instead of lead screws. Is this guy crazy, or is he on to something? I can't imagine a roller chain could be at all comparable to a highly precise lead screw when moving on the X any Y axis like his machine does (his uses a lead screw for the Z). It looks like the chain will be pushing up on the stepper motor the whole time and wouldn't you think it would lose tension after time? I remember his last machine with the 4x8 option was around $2400. Now he wants almost $3000 for one that uses a bike chain?

    If anyone can recommend a different "kit" CNC that has a 4x8 routable area (I may consider a 2x4 or 4x4) then please speak up.

    Any input is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    If you're going to spend $3K, spend a bit more and build an all steel Mechmate. www.mechmate.com

    If you're on a budget, look at Joe's 4x4 Hybrid. www.joescnc.com
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  3. #3
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    Hi, this is my first post here, so please forgive me if I do something wrong. I don't know about the new machine, but the old one was horrible. I bought one and it sucks bigtime. The parts were not machined well, there are parts that weren't designed properly and didn't even fit together at all without modification. Even the motor mounts were ill-conceived. I am now building a new machine of my own design the way I should have to begin with. I did learn some things about CNC routers along the way, but I feel it was a very expensive lesson. I hope this helps...

  4. #4
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    How much would a Joe's Hybrid 4x4 cost to construct with the metal frame, on average? I literally have about 5 minutes a day to use the computer with family visiting and working so I don't have time right now to research it. I will in a few days. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckNaked31 View Post
    Hi, this is my first post here, so please forgive me if I do something wrong. I don't know about the new machine, but the old one was horrible. I bought one and it sucks bigtime. The parts were not machined well, there are parts that weren't designed properly and didn't even fit together at all without modification. Even the motor mounts were ill-conceived. I am now building a new machine of my own design the way I should have to begin with. I did learn some things about CNC routers along the way, but I feel it was a very expensive lesson. I hope this helps...
    Wow, thanks for that input. Which version did you purchase and which cutting size? Did Patrick give you a refund of any sort?

  6. #6
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    buildyourcnc.com blacktoe

    BAD BAD BAD BAD





    Unfortunately Patrick ( buildyourcnc.com ) has no clue what he's doing and is only a master of advertising, and will certainly fool many more down the road.

    You will absolutely have a blacktoe after kicking that junker, out of your shop, then crying that you paid real money for it.

    JRod

  7. #7
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    unfortunately not being a mechanical engineering student but an ME who is involved with R&d at a well know s cal aerospace facility i might have not the comprehensive data that you brought to the study. where did you find your metric data? i would love to see stress gauge data as well as actual deflection data and loads on this machine during nominal operation, granted the machine in question is suboptimal in many respects, however it does seem to fill the needs of a group of users whose needs are within the work envelope of this machine. in spite of it's shortcomings it does do what it is supposed to do. On a different topic it may have been a while since my undergraduate studies, what basic laws of mechanical engineering are you referring to? thoughts?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by the4thseal View Post
    unfortunately not being a mechanical engineering student but an ME who is involved with R&d at a well know s cal aerospace facility i might have not the comprehensive data that you brought to the study. where did you find your metric data? i would love to see stress gauge data as well as actual deflection data and loads on this machine during nominal operation, granted the machine in question is suboptimal in many respects, however it does seem to fill the needs of a group of users whose needs are within the work envelope of this machine. in spite of it's shortcomings it does do what it is supposed to do. On a different topic it may have been a while since my undergraduate studies, what basic laws of mechanical engineering are you referring to? thoughts?
    So from your input here it seems you own or have owned this machine? How would you rate it on a scale 1-10?

  9. #9
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    Nate Lowrie at Fine Line Automation (www.finelineautomation.com) and I have developed a kit for a 2' x 3' machine that uses 8020 aluminum extrusion and a set of precision machined components. It can easily be adapted to a 2' x 4' kit or even up to a 3' x 5' kit (Nate has done customs before -- they just take a little longer). The 2' x 3' kit costs $1250, without electronics, and Nate is about to begin offering a Gecko G540 based motor package to go with it.

    If you want a larger machine, my 8020-compatible rack and pinion system is now available as well, and Nate and I are busy developing plans for a 4' x 4' machine, to be followed soon by a larger work envelope machine. I'm in the midst of updating my website, but feel free to email me if you want more details. See the R&P development thread here:

    http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77372

    Both Nate and I stand behind our products, and I think most people who have used machines based on our components would recommend them highly.

    That being said, I echo ger's sentiment and recommend the Mechmate machines as well. While I feel they require a little more mechanical aptitude to implement than machines based on 8020, they are definitely robust, industrial machines.

    Best regards,

    Ahren
    www.cncrouterparts.com

  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by the4thseal View Post

    unfortunately not being a mechanical engineering student but an ME who is involved with R&d at a well know s cal aerospace facility i might have not the comprehensive data that you brought to the study. where did you find your metric data? i would love to see stress gauge data as well as actual deflection data and loads on this machine during nominal operation, granted the machine in question is suboptimal in many respects, however it does seem to fill the needs of a group of users whose needs are within the work envelope of this machine. in spite of it's shortcomings it does do what it is supposed to do. On a different topic it may have been a while since my undergraduate studies, what basic laws of mechanical engineering are you referring to? thoughts?

    So from your input here it seems you own or have owned this machine? How would you rate it on a scale 1-10?

    i do not own one...... that is why i would like to see data.....too often designs are dismissed because of some self centered looking down the nose view. the reason this is irritating is because from an ENGINEERING point of view the parameters just might not be known by the casual observer, and yes some parameters might be "stuff on hand" .or "stuff i can get easily" or will it fit a box.....just like some Russian fighters that had to fit into box cars for transport. i am not saying that there is an excuse for crap but i have heard the greatest you shouldas from those who have never done,...and designing something to an economy price point and still be able to market it and make money is harder than most people think....it is a pet peeve i know but it does get a little boring hearing endless negative comments. i would rather have a prof. have the students design better at the same price point including the cost of their time (as if they were working)and resources (all the free software is not free in the real world)and try to see if they can do better. i wish my profs had....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrydavis View Post
    Wow, thanks for that input. Which version did you purchase and which cutting size? Did Patrick give you a refund of any sort?
    I didn't ask for a refund. Maybe I should have, though. Instead I'm building one from scratch using a lot of things I've learned here. I'm using the motors, breakout board, and drivers, shaft couplers and so forth. I'm pairing these things along with Ahrens antibacklash nuts and some rails from ebay into a worthwhile machine. All is not completely lost, but I've learned a lot in the process. I really hope his new machine is better than his old one. I'm not trying to trash the guy... I just want to let everyone know about my experience.

    The version that I had was 1.2 When the parts got here, there were some parts that had version 1.3 holes in them, I verified this later when I got the CAD files for the parts.

  12. #12

  13. #13
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    I can't speak for Patrick's kits, but I can speak for some of his design. I used the buildyourcnc.com videos from an earlier design as the inspiration for my build. Patrick built his machine using a miter box, router, and cordless drill. I had access to much better tools. The machine works fine for a first time mdf build. It cuts clean and accurate. The only problems so far are operator error.

    Like I said, I can't speak for his kits and I have no idea if they are worth the money. But I did enjoy building my own design based largely off of his, and I highly recommend the approach. Especially if funds are short. Spend the money on motors and a controller. If your build fails, then go buy an off the shelf system. The only thing lost is time and some mdf.

  14. #14
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    Patrick here

    Thanks for the words of defense. The 1.2 and 1.3 versions have been depreciated quite a while ago for some of the flaws that it exhibited. As I design new machines, I obviously design them to remove the bugs and provide enhancements. Also, the 1.3 is offered as .nc code for those who are adventurous. I encourage those who want to purchase the joescnc and also want to try their hand at the mechmate. They are both excellent systems and deserve quite a bit of credit, especially since these systems provided a lot of my motivation. I have a passion for designing and building these machines and I hope this shows through.

    It is my nature to try radical designs such as the roller chain method of drive mechanics. This is how innovation happens. So far, it runs maintenance free. The roller chain doesn't lose tension since the load from the machine is very light (as compared to it's relative use on motorcycles and other chain driving machinery with extreme loads). With 425 oz-in stepping motors, I am able to get problem free 1500 ipm on the y axis and 1000 ipm on the x-axis rapids. Cutting at depths of the tool diameter is quite good at 100 ipm into MDF. I get some chatter routing into aluminum at that speed, but when lowered to 60 ipm at very shallow depths, it's very smooth. Even pcb routing is quite precise with the roller chain, which was a surprise to me.
    Employment motivation: fun and happiness, not money!
    Video build log: http://www.buildyourcnc.com

  15. #15
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    I wouldn't spend 3k on a wooden machine. I don't know that I'd make a 4x8 wooden machine personally. I know some have and love it with excellent results but I feel that at that size a metal machine is going to be much more accurate

    The Joes 4x4 can be built for 2-3k. Some have even done a 4x8 in that price but I'd add a bit extra cost for that so say 3500. The finelineautiomation.com kit looks fantastic too and I'm sure it is. What's nice about that kit is you can get nearly everything you need in one stop.

  16. #16
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    Like Hdale85 says no way would i spend 3k on a wood machine, well it's not even wood really, it's gloryfied cardboard.
    At 3k

    Here in uk it would last about 2 weeks with all the moisture in the air. . . rained solid for nearly a 2 weeks!! . . . . . wish i was in S Cal. Lol

    Seriously thou while i'm not calling Patrick and his design, I think there are much better stronger designs made from real materials that wont explode if you show them a cup of coffee. . . For a lot less money.

    I know in your case time is a short commodity but for not a lot more than 3k you could afford to buy the tools to make your own and all the materials for a custom machine with a computer and all the trimmings that will be exactly what you want.
    Plus you'll learn a whole lot more about CNC machines along the way.

  17. #17
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    With the 4x4 hybrid all you really need is a chopsaw, miter saw, table saw some sort of saw to cut down the 80/20 and a drill press. Could probably hand drill the holes but a drill press would make your life a LOT easier.

  18. #18
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    Have my Blacktoe 4x8 almost up and running!

    Hi All!

    I just joined the forums, and would offer my experience and thoughts on Patrick's machine(s).

    I'm a retired mechanical/industrial engineer, and spent my last 12 years in product design and development. I became fascinated with Patrick's machines this summer, and couldn't resist when he offered the 4x8 machine (beta). My objective was to get a machine I could use, but also to learn about the machines; hardware, electronics, software. I have achieved all of the above! I now understand how they work (at least stepper-motor based machines), how the computer interfaces with the electronics, etc. The education alone is worth a LOT more than the cost!

    Patrick has taken materials available to everyone and used common hand tools to build his machines in his living room! If you will look at the evolution over the past several years, he has experimented with many designs, and tweaked them to get where he is today. Along the line, he has shared his knowledge with the world, and provides a valuable service by packaging all the parts from diverse sources and selling it as a kit. Not to mention building a very professional web site.

    I built a 51" x 120" torsion box table (from MDF, of course!), and have all the mechanics up and running. I still need to install the long chains driving the X axis, and wire up the stop and home switches. But I can move the Y and Z axes, and it's pretty slick!!

    Is it commercial grade. No, but he doesn't sell it as such. Does it do what he says it does? Yes, absolutely! Is it a very clever design, using MDF as the basic material? I vote YES!

    I'm a very satisfied consumer, and my hat is off to Patrick for what he offers at the price. Can it be improved? Sure. Will you spend a lot more money on the improvements? You bet! Can I take what I have learned and weld up/machine my next CNC to cut steel with a plasma torch? Yes! But if you just have a hand drill and a screwdriver, Patrick's machines can be made.

    Now I'm at the point that I need to get sofware to route signs. Anybody want to offer advice on how to do that economically? I've got Mach3 up and running, driving the axes. Very cool piece of software! Now what's a simple way to get .dxf files of graphics and letters/numbers to import to LazyCam and then to Mach3? Can you start with something like Google Sketchup? All inputs appreciated!!

    Thanks to all of you who share your knowledge through this forum. My hat is off to you!!

    Happy machining!!

    Dave

  19. #19
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    I just finished my build of Patrick's Blacktoe 4x8 version 2.2. I am very new to the world of CNC I found Patrick's kit and site a HUGE time saver! Now I know this machine won't be as accurate as a full on industrial unit, however so far it has surpassed my expectations in almost every way! The reason I feel it is worth the $3k is simple, time. I don't know about the rest of you guys but for me time is a valuable thing. I own an audio shop and have a family and at the end of the day I'm lucky if half of the days tasks got completed. This makes it worth every penny to get a kit sent to my door that I can build with minimal time and mental energy allowing me to focus on what I need to do for my business and family life. I also like that the kit is made from mostly common parts and materials so I can modify or repair it quite easily. His new design looks quite promising and the fact that he offers the nc files of each upgrade to the customer for free is also quite nice. With the unit up and running in such a short time I can also spend my time learning software which has been the hardest part to date. The fact that his design is so simple to repair also gives me some some relief when learning the controls.I've crashed it several times already doing stupid newbie mistakes and no damage so far! Had I purchased the unit I originally wanted to get I'm positive it would be broken already or at least I would have killed some bits and messed up the table real bad and been out a fair bit of time and money all while making payments on it bigger than a my car payment Seeing a complete machine in operation and assembling the mech and electrical parts has also given me the confidence to begin building a cnc plasma table to go with it! All in all, I feel it was a good investment and really helped kick start my entrance to cnc.

  20. #20
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    I wouldn't build your plasma table out of MDF.

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