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IndustryArena Forum > Events, Product Announcements Etc > Want To Buy...Need help! > WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy
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  1. #1

    WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    I work in a manufacturing facility. We currently use a Dayton mini milling machine to manually cut/route? a 1" x 2.3" rectangular notch out of the end of a 14-20' long by 8" wide piece of powder-coated aluminum extrusion. They have a thickness of 0.08" - 0.16". See photos.

    We cut anywhere from 80-140 of these each day, if that makes any difference.

    We want o be able to just slide the extrusion into a jig on the CNC table, hold it there. hit a button and have it cut the notch for us automatically.

    Is this doable? Do we need to buy a super expensive CNC machine to do this or can we get something on the more affordable end of things? Any recommendations or companies that we can work with who will guide us and provide a solution?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Just about any of the inexpensive eBay CNC routers with a 2.2KW spindle would work for this.

    An alternative would be to install a CNC kit on your mini mill, depending on the model, there might be an off-the-shelf kit that would bolt on.

    A more robust and versatile solution might be to buy an inexpensive used CNC milling machine. It just depends on your budget and willingness to do a project.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Just about any of the inexpensive eBay CNC routers with a 2.2KW spindle would work for this.

    An alternative would be to install a CNC kit on your mini mill, depending on the model, there might be an off-the-shelf kit that would bolt on.

    A more robust and versatile solution might be to buy an inexpensive used CNC milling machine. It just depends on your budget and willingness to do a project.
    Jim, thank you for the info. I think we might be interested in going the "Ebay" route. Is Ebay truly the best place to get one of these $2k-$3k units? Is there a specific model that is trusted as a quality machine?

    Another aspect of this is the actual programming of the machine. I've never used a CNC, but I do have a fairly technical background. Is it reasonable to think I can teach myself how to program one? Is the software usually free? Is there a free piece of software that people go to often?

    Again, thanks so much for the info.

  4. #4
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Much as I love CNC machines, this seems like a job for a lever-action notcher with a custom die. Something like this: https://www.toolots.com/notching-mac...thusa-akm.html But the CNC would be the right tool to make that curved die.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  5. #5
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by SunProductsPM View Post
    Jim, thank you for the info. I think we might be interested in going the "Ebay" route. Is Ebay truly the best place to get one of these $2k-$3k units? Is there a specific model that is trusted as a quality machine?

    Another aspect of this is the actual programming of the machine. I've never used a CNC, but I do have a fairly technical background. Is it reasonable to think I can teach myself how to program one? Is the software usually free? Is there a free piece of software that people go to often?

    Again, thanks so much for the info.

    eBay is about the only place to buy those inexpensive machines, I guess Amazon may have some also. As far as quality, they are all about the same, you are not buying a high quality machine tool at those prices. I would stick to sellers that have US stock, you don't want to order direct from China. At least you may have a US contact to scream at if things go south. The next step up in machines is into the 5 figure range. Larger used machines are always an option.

    There are 3 pieces of software required for CNC work. The CNC machine operating software, CAD software (allows you to draw the part), and CAM software (converts the drawing into G code). Most of the machines come with some version of Mach3 CNC operating software, but not a licensed copy. The demo copy will only run about 250 lines of G code. But for your application that won't really matter because your simple job will only require about 6 lines of code to run. I would just hand write it, would take about 10 min. There are plenty of people on CNC Zone that would help you with that, myself included. For CAD and CAM, Fusion 360 by AutoDesk is my go to choice, it's free to hobbyists and startups. There are also many other options available priced from free to ''you can't afford it''

    One thing to ask yourself: Is this going to be a dedicated machine for only this application, or are there other applications in your product line that would be helped by CNC equipment?

    EDIT: Also what Andrew said above ^^^^^^^^^^
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  6. #6

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    Much as I love CNC machines, this seems like a job for a lever-action notcher with a custom die. Something like this: https://www.toolots.com/notching-mac...thusa-akm.html But the CNC would be the right tool to make that curved die.
    Thank you for the info. We did look into a hydraulic punch press with 3 different companies. This has actually been a 6-month journey for a solution to this process. All three companies ultimately no-quoted us because they couldn't guarantee the thicker part of the extrusion wouldn't be pinched and distorted.

  7. #7

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    eBay is about the only place to buy those inexpensive machines, I guess Amazon may have some also. As far as quality, they are all about the same, you are not buying a high quality machine tool at those prices. I would stick to sellers that have US stock, you don't want to order direct from China. At least you may have a US contact to scream at if things go south. The next step up in machines is into the 5 figure range. Larger used machines are always an option.

    There are 3 pieces of software required for CNC work. The CNC machine operating software, CAD software (allows you to draw the part), and CAM software (converts the drawing into G code). Most of the machines come with some version of Mach3 CNC operating software, but not a licensed copy. The demo copy will only run about 250 lines of G code. But for your application that won't really matter because your simple job will only require about 6 lines of code to run. I would just hand write it, would take about 10 min. There are plenty of people on CNC Zone that would help you with that, myself included. For CAD and CAM, Fusion 360 by AutoDesk is my go to choice, it's free to hobbyists and startups. There are also many other options available priced from free to ''you can't afford it''

    One thing to ask yourself: Is this going to be a dedicated machine for only this application, or are there other applications in your product line that would be helped by CNC equipment?

    EDIT: Also what Andrew said above ^^^^^^^^^^
    Jim, again, thank you for the invaluable information. I'm relieved to hear that we can handle the programming ourselves and that there's so many helpful people in this community who I can reach out to if need be.

    To answer your question about if this is going to be a dedicated machine, yes it is. We don't do much machining in this factory and we plan to implement 2 of these directly out on the line.

    You mentioned that jumping up to the next level of machinery would be a substantial investment. That might be OK. We want to buy 2 of these machines and we have a budget of about $30k. Do you have any recommendations for units that would be of better quality and cost somewhere in the 5k-15k range per unit? A big thing for us is reliability and serviceability. We definitely need to be able to fix these things and replace parts if they go down. Is that an option with the cheap eBay ones? Would more expensive units have better support? I'm assuming yes.

    edit: spelling

  8. #8
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by SunProductsPM View Post
    Jim, again, thank you for the invaluable information. I'm relieved to hear that we can handle the programming ourselves and that there's so many helpful people in this community who I can reach out to if need be.

    To answer your question about if this is going to be a dedicated machine, yes it is. We don't do much machining in this factory and we plan to implement 2 of these directly out on the line.

    You mentioned that jumping up to the next level of machinery would be a substantial investment. That might be OK. We want to buy 2 of these machines and we have a budget of about $30k. Do you have any recommendations for units that would be of better quality and cost somewhere in the 5k-15k range per unit? A big thing for us is reliability and serviceability. We definitely need to be able to fix these things and replace parts if they go down. Is that an option with the cheap eBay ones? Would more expensive units have better support? I'm assuming yes.

    edit: spelling
    Your requirements present an interesting challenge here.


    • A work envelope of about a 3'' cube
    • Suitable for integration into an existing production line.
    • Minimum footprint
    • Robust hardware suitable for production work
    • Serviceable, made with commonly available hardware
    • Reasonably inexpensive
    • Easy to operate/program


    Individually these are simple requirements, but taken together nothing currently exists that is an exact fit.

    One machine that comes to mind is the Tormach 770M, available in various packages https://tormach.com/machines/mills/7...nding_packages

    The Starter Package might be most suitable for your needs. Tormach is a USA based company with a pretty good track record.

    One thing that concerns me is the length of your parts which has not been addressed. Right now you are cutting these on a hand cranked machine so feed speeds are low, but in a CNC operation the feed speeds are going to be higher and direction changes more abrupt so the end of the part might be whipping around depending on the length. The way around this problem is a moving gantry machine, like the various cheap routers, because the tool is moving rather than the work. Unfortunately, no such machine exists in a small footprint that meets the other requirements, this would be a custom build or at a minimum a modification to one of the more robust router frames. None of this is a huge problem, but something to concider.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  9. #9

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Your requirements present an interesting challenge here.


    • A work envelope of about a 3'' cube
    • Suitable for integration into an existing production line.
    • Minimum footprint
    • Robust hardware suitable for production work
    • Serviceable, made with commonly available hardware
    • Reasonably inexpensive
    • Easy to operate/program


    Individually these are simple requirements, but taken together nothing currently exists that is an exact fit.

    One machine that comes to mind is the Tormach 770M, available in various packages https://tormach.com/machines/mills/7...nding_packages

    The Starter Package might be most suitable for your needs. Tormach is a USA based company with a pretty good track record.

    One thing that concerns me is the length of your parts which has not been addressed. Right now you are cutting these on a hand cranked machine so feed speeds are low, but in a CNC operation the feed speeds are going to be higher and direction changes more abrupt so the end of the part might be whipping around depending on the length. The way around this problem is a moving gantry machine, like the various cheap routers, because the tool is moving rather than the work. Unfortunately, no such machine exists in a small footprint that meets the other requirements, this would be a custom build or at a minimum a modification to one of the more robust router frames. None of this is a huge problem, but something to concider.
    Jim, I'm also concerned about the specifics of our process and the loading of the material and how that will jive with using a CNC machine. Currently, we have a 22 foot cutting table where we cut the extrusions to length. They are only about 5" wide(i was incorrect in my above post when I said 8") and 14 to 20' long. All we do is slide the piece partially off the table to a saw that is at the same height and cut to length. The saw goes up and we slide the piece further to the deck(?) of the milling machine that is also perfectly level with the saw and cutting table. We then clamp the extrusion with a vise and route the metal out.

    I'm hoping we can do something similar with the CNC. cut the piece to length on the saw then slide it a bit further to the CNC deck(?). I'm hoping we can secure blocks on the deck that will act as a jig to constrain the x and y movement, possibly x, y, and z movement. Then we would just hold the length of the extrusion that extends off the machine back onto the cutting table until the cut is made?

    I've attached some photos of our current state, planned future state, and material loading process that I'm hoping to implement. Let me know if this seems feasible.

    Thank you again!

  10. #10
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    What you propose seems feasible. For fixturing in the milling machine I would make a form fit wood block that fits the interior of the extrusion. This wood block could easily be made on the CNC mill. It would be bolted to the machine table T slots and the workpiece secured by a Destaco Clamp. https://www.destaco.com/products/manual-clamping

    My biggest concern is the 14' of extrusion extending off of the machine table. The end of it needs to be supported at the same height as the mill table, and it would need to be able to freely move with the mill table axis movement, that is a lot of mass hanging out there that is going to try to accelerate with the machine table. Maybe just resting it on a piece of UHMW would be adequate, maybe the operator could help it move as needed. The speeds and acceleration are not that great, so this should be a reasonably easy problem to solve given that the max lateral movement is <3''. You are essentially doing exactly the same thing now.

    Overall, I think just replacing you current milling machine with a similar sized CNC mill would do what you want. I don't think this application warrants a custom solution, and that a Tormach 770M would meet your needs.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  11. #11

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    What you propose seems feasible. For fixturing in the milling machine I would make a form fit wood block that fits the interior of the extrusion. This wood block could easily be made on the CNC mill. It would be bolted to the machine table T slots and the workpiece secured by a Destaco Clamp. https://www.destaco.com/products/manual-clamping

    My biggest concern is the 14' of extrusion extending off of the machine table. The end of it needs to be supported at the same height as the mill table, and it would need to be able to freely move with the mill table axis movement, that is a lot of mass hanging out there that is going to try to accelerate with the machine table. Maybe just resting it on a piece of UHMW would be adequate, maybe the operator could help it move as needed. The speeds and acceleration are not that great, so this should be a reasonably easy problem to solve given that the max lateral movement is <3''. You are essentially doing exactly the same thing now.

    Overall, I think just replacing you current milling machine with a similar sized CNC mill would do what you want. I don't think this application warrants a custom solution, and that a Tormach 770M would meet your needs.
    Jim, you've been incredibly helpful. I think I have the information I need to move forward with confidence. Thanks for taking the time to repeatedly respond with detail and clarity. I really appreciate it.

  12. #12
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    It's my pleasure to help out. I love finding solutions for these kind of problems, as an old retired guy it gives me something useful to do in my spare time.

    I'll be here to help out as needed.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  13. #13
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Then what about a hand router, like a Porter-Cable, and a template that would clamp over the end of that extrusion? The bearing on your router bit would ride on the edge of the template, which would be offset enough to put the bit in the right place. The whole thing could mount on a dedicated bench, so you just slide the extrusion in, clamp it into place securely, run the router around the template, unclamp, reload, etc. This seems better than trying to tie that long extrusion down to the bed of a moving-table type milling machine and expecting it to ride along while being cut. It would also cost hundreds rather than thousands of dollars and be at least as quick.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  14. #14

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    Then what about a hand router, like a Porter-Cable, and a template that would clamp over the end of that extrusion? The bearing on your router bit would ride on the edge of the template, which would be offset enough to put the bit in the right place. The whole thing could mount on a dedicated bench, so you just slide the extrusion in, clamp it into place securely, run the router around the template, unclamp, reload, etc. This seems better than trying to tie that long extrusion down to the bed of a moving-table type milling machine and expecting it to ride along while being cut. It would also cost hundreds rather than thousands of dollars and be at least as quick.
    Awerby, that's a very interesting idea. With the extrusion having a curved shape would that work? I've never used routers myself, but I've seen what you're talking about with flat wood and a jig. Also, I am too concerned about the 20 feet of extrusion, not hanging, but extending from the table and having to move in sync with the machine, so this could be a viable option if a router can deal with a curved aluminum surface.

  15. #15
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    To OP:
    This is meant for industrial type users doing production work.
    It is hopefully useful for many others, looking to get into same.

    As J. dawson recommended, a Tormach cnc mill would be about the cheapest/best/most suitable machine for this type of work.

    The workpiece would slide into a custom jig, then the operator would press a button and the std program would run.

    Observations:
    1.
    For about 2000$ a custom 1-axis linear slide table is easily assembled by most of the experienced cnc guys on this forum.
    This would probably be needed for 14 feet of workpiece length.
    Imo.
    To avoid racking and bending the workpiece, stressing it.

    Based on experienece with commercial projects I sold, 65+, when with Haas Spain.

    2.
    Plan for automated vices, ideally air operated.
    About 2500$ per station, one for each end.
    Add about 1000$ for a custom jig, perhaps in one of the super plastics from igus, they will tell you which one.

    New jig blocks can be machined by yourselves at a material cost of about 100$ or less, and they should last thousands of parts.

    Air vices will probably make material handling *vastly* more efficient and likely much more repeatable and probably more accurate as well.
    With tiny clearances under 1 mm, they are not a safety and pinch hazard and wont need much guarding and Health & Safety stuff.

    3.
    Plan for about 3-5k$ for someone to direct You through all this and be a "program manager" showing you how this all works, what to buy, where from, at what price, and to write the initial cnc programs.
    And to help You select the right tools, feeds, speeds, automated vices, and some small additional io to manage all this.

    4.
    Extra development:
    It does not cost any meaningful amounts more to add excellent tracking / testing to the pieces via dedicated digital micrometers, logging to a log file that the cnc program can refer to.
    4.1.
    And maybe go/no go gages, automatically run in load / unload cycles.
    These can take less than 1-5 second(s) each, per piece, and can use a go/no go gage to confirm the piece is not oversized or undersized.

    5.
    Clamping from both above and below, using custom dies, made with some liner like the Igus iglidur or similar, will make the material ends vastly more stiff.
    Cuts will be more accurate and can be done 20x faster with better results cosmetically.
    And less noise. A lot less.
    This does not increase the above budgets by maybe more than 500$ each, 1000$ for 2 simultaneous stations.

    All above will fit in your budget of 30k, easily, including 5k for someone to act as Your program manager / consultant.
    The Program Manager job should take about 200 work hours spread over 2-4 months, trending 5 months.
    These things always take longer.

    A good program manager will mean that the project does not cost 3x as much as planned, as they almost always do.

    If You and Your people learn on the job You will spend several times the 5k$ on extra work hours, and wrong decisions in endless "stuff".

    6.
    Estimations:

    Current rate:
    Running 140 parts per day, at 3 mins/part end, == 6 min /part run-time.
    14 hours per day.
    For one worker / station.
    Includes load/unload/mount, etc.

    With something like Tormachs, the cutting should take about 1 min per end.

    6.1.
    Potentially, the cutting might take only 25-35 secs, e.g. if You use custom diamond tooling.

    Don´t be scared of it, a custom diamond tool will run 400.000 of your alu parts, perfectly, and only costs about 3000€.
    This is common in e.g. auto parts manufacturing, where one tool will cut say 350.000 auto oil pans, around 30 secs each, with 100% reliability.
    Running 18/6 or 24/7.

    It might be worthwhile, or not, to double your productivity with a 6000€ investment in tooling only.
    The custom tool I think of would have both roughing and finishing on the same tool, needing no toolchanges and allowing excellent finishes and high mrr with very low problem rates.

    7.
    Production, industrially, like Yours, is Very Different.
    Most well-meaning advice will not be correct - from the usual posters.

    If You run gib machines in production like this, they will need automated oil feeds, and may/will still wear rapidly.
    The basic machine as-is with their Rulon like wear surfaces will quickly wear, when running a std cnc program 8 hours a day.

    That said, it might perhaps also be that the machine will make perfect parts 10 years later, having run through 140 x 320 (d) x 10 (y) 448.000 parts.
    A large amount of old ex industrial equipment was/is very sloppy at 30 yo, but still produced perfect parts when adjusted for their running environment.
    This is unlikely.
    In my experience.
    Over 2000+ machines I looked at in 4 countries, and 200+ plants.
    And over 15.000 machines we had sold over past 20+ years, with over 200 of our own salaried support engineers on staff.

    A Tormach is not a big heavy over-engineered industrial tool.

    1. The actual cutting loads and speeds You need are just right for a Tormach --
    .. about 10x less than a Tormach can comfortably do.
    This will be zero problem.

    2. But the day-in/out constant usage and load, especially on wear items, is a concern.
    (Your needs are about 10x - 20x too much for the cheap toy routers made in alu and sold cheaply on ebay).

    In Your case, only the linear ways themselves on a base 770 Tormach are a concern.

    The speeds, spindle accelerations, spindle motors and power and accuracy and machine rigidity - abs. no problem.

    The good news is that it is always possible to later mount linear guides to any decent machine.
    And it is not too hard, and not too expensive.

    Many to hundreds of mills have been refit by amateurs, often with limited means and skills.

    Hope this helps.

    My goal was to point out that automation
    -- costs about 3x the machine costs
    -- works potentially much better than You think, and much faster
    -- can be done very well and very cost effectively
    -- and I very much recommend using a Program Manager of Your own and never buying a turnkey project with the machine tool as a closed box

    Also, most of the total project costs are Non Recurring Engineering or NRE costs and Your own staff hour costs.

    Your staff does not work for free, and they will take 30x longer to learn the "right way" on their own than they will when shown by an expert, one tuned into their system.
    In 99% of cases Your staff will never get near the best way of doing something specific.

    Because they cannot, and have not, done the thousands of errors over thousands of hours that indicate the minimax path for best productivity overall.

  16. #16
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    I don't see the curve being a major problem. You would need to build a fixture with a curved portion underneath to grip the extrusion, but it would be flat on top where the router would ride. Most of it could be made out of wood or plastic. You'd just need to have a tool for the router that's long enough to reach the whole area being cut, but that doesn't look to be all that much depth. An air-powered clamp, like Hanermo suggests, would be a good way to go; I'm imagining a piston that pushes the convex portion of the curved gripper up against the extrusion from underneath, while the whole thing is being held down solidly to a bench. It could probably be powered by a foot-switch that releases when the operator's foot raises off the pedal. A diamond-pattern cutter might work more smoothly than a spiral-fluted one on that thin aluminum, but that's something you could determine by experimentation.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  17. #17

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    To OP:
    This is meant for industrial type users doing production work.
    It is hopefully useful for many others, looking to get into same.

    As J. dawson recommended, a Tormach cnc mill would be about the cheapest/best/most suitable machine for this type of work.

    The workpiece would slide into a custom jig, then the operator would press a button and the std program would run.

    Observations.....
    This is an incredible amount of super-professional information. This answers a lot of questions for me and provides a detailed framework for how I need to handle this project. I'm going to take the day and dig through all this info. I'm very grateful. Thank you.

  18. #18

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    1.
    For about 2000$ a custom 1-axis linear slide table is easily assembled by most of the experienced cnc guys on this forum.
    This would probably be needed for 14 feet of workpiece length.
    Imo.
    To avoid racking and bending the workpiece, stressing it.

    3.
    Plan for about 3-5k$ for someone to direct You through all this and be a "program manager" showing you how this all works, what to buy, where from, at what price, and to write the initial cnc programs.
    And to help You select the right tools, feeds, speeds, automated vices, and some small additional io to manage all this.
    I'm having a lot of trouble with these 2 areas. I have tried reaching out to several CNC retailers including Tormach and they have no info on how to find/hire a Program Manager. Do you have any advice on how I can find someone to hire? Also, I'm stumped on the linear slide table. I've tried googling and youtubing to learn about them. What are they? What parts are used to assemble? What do they look like? How to build? I can't find anything. I went to the "Linear Motion" part of the forum to try researching the FAQs and everything was like reading another language. Maybe that's the wrong area?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  19. #19
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by SunProductsPM View Post
    I'm having a lot of trouble with these 2 areas. I have tried reaching out to several CNC retailers including Tormach and they have no info on how to find/hire a Program Manager. Do you have any advice on how I can find someone to hire? Also, I'm stumped on the linear slide table. I've tried googling and youtubing to learn about them. What are they? What parts are used to assemble? What do they look like? How to build? I can't find anything. I went to the "Linear Motion" part of the forum to try researching the FAQs and everything was like reading another language. Maybe that's the wrong area?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Program manager = consultant. That's kind of what we are doing here and I have many years experience as a consultant providing turnkey solutions for these types of, but normally much larger, projects. If you were a Fortune 50 company you would be getting an invoice for my daily rate. Today I'm retired and just do this for fun because I like to solve problems, and I would rather teach you how to do it. The difference in this case is that the cost is nothing, but you have to do some of the work on your end. The real difference is that rather than hitting the ground running, there is a bit of a learning curve.

    Linear slide table. Could be hand cranked or powered.

    An example of a hand cranked system https://www.ebay.com/itm/28420531657...UAAOSw2bpgMLSv

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/38383068101...0AAOSwgeZduU67
    The above can be stacked to provide both X and Y motion, add a Z axis and controls and you almost have a very light duty CNC milling machine. You can buy all of the bits and pieces required from eBay vendors to build exactly what you want. If I had a need for this type of custom machine in my shop this is exactly the type of hardware I might purchase. These are examples of the low end hardware, like everything else, the upper limit on cost is ''you can't afford it''
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  20. #20

    Re: WTB - Looking for guidance regarding what machine to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Program manager = consultant. That's kind of what we are doing here and I have many years experience as a consultant providing turnkey solutions for these types of, but normally much larger, projects. If you were a Fortune 50 company you would be getting an invoice for my daily rate. Today I'm retired and just do this for fun because I like to solve problems, and I would rather teach you how to do it. The difference in this case is that the cost is nothing, but you have to do some of the work on your end. The real difference is that rather than hitting the ground running, there is a bit of a learning curve.

    Linear slide table. Could be hand cranked or powered.

    An example of a hand cranked system https://www.ebay.com/itm/28420531657...UAAOSw2bpgMLSv

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/38383068101...0AAOSwgeZduU67
    The above can be stacked to provide both X and Y motion, add a Z axis and controls and you almost have a very light duty CNC milling machine. You can buy all of the bits and pieces required from eBay vendors to build exactly what you want. If I had a need for this type of custom machine in my shop this is exactly the type of hardware I might purchase. These are examples of the low end hardware, like everything else, the upper limit on cost is ''you can't afford it''
    I completely understand what you're saying. I do appreciate the very valuable information you guys have provided. It's allowed me to get this far.

    Thanks for the clarification and detail on the linear slide table. This is a big help.

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