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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    First Time CNC Build

    I'm reaching out because I am interested in owning my first CNC machine, but I need help assessing what is realistic and what is Disney/fantasy. I'm not really he most "hands on" individual but i am more administrative, majority of the CNC machines in seeing do not make the budgetary cut for me. I've been looking at the step-maker D300, and also the Zmorph VX, both of are beautiful machines but these are too much for me right now.

    I'm looking for something that can mill hard plastics, opal, pearl, brass, stainless steel and ideally titanium. Since I am looking at the heavier metals what mill should I use and is a water-cooler necessary? What other accessories would you recommend?

    As this would be my first time making a CNC my ideal budget for is up to $2,000. In terms of work area would something up to 200mm,200mm,60mm be possible?

    I've assessed several different brands and milling stainless steel and titanium mills start closer to $5,000 and go up. Please let me know if this is something we can work on, or if I have to reassess my criteria.

  2. #2
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Re: First Time CNC Build

    You won't be cutting stainless steel or titanium without spending many times your budget.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: First Time CNC Build

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    You won't be cutting stainless steel or titanium without spending many times your budget.
    i agree with this completely. Stainless steel is hard to deal with on a commercial VMC let alone on small machine in a home shop. and you better be able to hit the right speeds and feeds for cutting or you will get into trouble fast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Re: First Time CNC Build

    Maybe you don’t have the space or maybe you do but I recommend a second hand machine. Browsing Craigslist and such I have seen great machines for super cheap. Full vertical machining centers can be had for 3k-5k in working condition pretty regularly. Seen some pretty nice routers if that’s you style used aswell.

  5. #5
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Re: First Time CNC Build

    Given your stated mix of materials, I assume that you are doing jewelry or other artwork and for the most part very light duty use. If you are not in a hurry you might get away with a light duty table top router/engraver type machine that you describe. You would be using tiny tool bits, most likely diamond bits in the pearl and opal, and taking light cuts in the harder materials. Cutting too slow causes stainless to work harden and destroys tool bits pretty quickly, so you have to find the sweet spot for the machine, material, and tool bits. Not sure if titanium work hardens, but it's tough material to work with.

    Any serious work in stainless or titanium requires a real metal cutting milling machine. A completely different machine from what you described.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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