I just wondered whether anyone had any experience of the following 3
I've been looking at CNC-type equipment recently but generally found
it rather expensive. It's nice to find something sub-£300.
I must confess I bought this basic kit about 4 years ago mainly to help my
son with his studies. You get the PCB with the Stamp controller (and
software to reprogram it via a PC using the serial port, you can download
assemblers for free). You also get the steppers x3 and the corresponding
stepper drivers. You are also supplied with ball bearing drawer runners for
the 3 axis guides, special 'string' which goes around the stepper shaft and
connects to brackets on the corresponding table to provide the motion. The
rest of the machine you have to make yourself (I used 12mm MDF). I have used
it for a small amount of engraving, and bearing in mind the string and
drawer runners, can give you sub 1mm repeatability.
Its great as a starting point, fun to programme, and gives you a base to
As a serious CNC machine, it is not. The steppers are not really powerful
enough to do anything more than lightweight positioning of a model router or
engraving tool but if that's all you need its a good starting point. You
would be hard pushed to buy all the bits new for the price, so on that
basis its good value.
Thanks Dave. I'm not planning on using it as a serious CNC machine,
though I have been musing over whether it might be suitable for doing
small wooden signs with people's names, witty jokes, etc. Maybe just
as an extra little sideline.
It might also be feasible to use it to create small jigs for my router
(for cutting hinges and letter box templates for example - those
things are rather expensive!). Hmm, just thought - maybe I could make
a few bob on ebay selling jigs made from MDF or plywood!
I realise the work area is limited to about 8in by 8in so it wouldn't
be suitable for larger work.
Looks to me as though it would take the Rotozip Rebel as the cutting
tool, which is plenty for the sorts of things I was dreaming about.
Wonder what wifey wants to get me for Xmas..... ;)
I have got one, we are messing around trying to use it as a prototype
PCB drill. However the supplied drill software needs a lot of
modifications to make it work (silly things like it initialises the
drill Z position to zero, which is through the pcb to be drilled, but
does not switch the drill on)
Milford sell 2 kits, one without and one with all the wood parts, this
makes life much easier.
The active area is only about 6 in by 6 in. The drives use tension cord
wrapped round the stepper shafts, I have been having problems with this
slipping. You are not going to get enough sideways force out of it to do
routing. It might do very thin engraving on that black/white plastic
laminate. The steppers really need to have splined shafts, that would
give much more torque.
If you want something to play with and you have visual basic 5 or above,
it's quite fun to mess around with, but be prepared to have to modify
the software, and don't expect to be routing shapes out of MDF with it.
Thanks for these comments - much appreciated. I have VB6 here and have
spent the last several years programming with VB so that wouldn't
present a problem.
It is something to mess around with. With respect to slippage on the
stepper shafts I guess it might help to put some heatshrink tubing on
I found this web site which shows some modifications to the basic
Looks worth a look at to get started with CNC anyway.
Been there, tee-shirt acquired etc. But these CNC "kits" tend to sell
for a lot more than I was looking to pay. There's only so much my wife
will allow for a Christmas pressie before we get into areas which are
better not trespassed.... ;)
Just ordered mine today as an early Christmas pressie. Not intending
to do anything too serious with it, but the idea of perhaps being able
to make some small templates for my router does appeal.
It may well be that it isn't butch enough to cut the template in one
pass - I'll see what transpires. But there's no problem doing the
template in several passes, keeping the depth of cut to a minimum.
Depends on repeatability obviously.
According to the girl who took the order they sell quite a few of
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