CNC Router Recommendations

I finally have a budget for a CNC router. I am looking for some insight from owners/users of table top systems. Carvewright, CNC Shark, Shopbot, etc.
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wrote:

Bill, I'm about 80% done with my build of a larger CNC router. The frame is ~5' x 6' x 34" giving me a 4-1/2' x 4-1/2' working area. I thought it would take a couple days for my buddy and me to build it, but we're not done ten days later. I thought it would cost about $3k, but it's edging upward toward $3.7k daily. It's powered by four 620oz/in steppers, a Hitachi 2-1/4HP router, Gecko G540 drive, and SmoothStepper USB to parallel adapter. Art is done with BobCAD v24 and BobARTPro via Mach3. I used linear rails and bearings for the axes, ballscrew for the Z axis, and chain drives for the X/Y axes.
I'm learning a -lot- during the build. Glenn (my buddy) has a machine shop, so I've been able to use his mill (life-saver for the hole patterns in the aluminum plates for the gantry and router (Y and Z axes) mounts. He's taught me a whole lot about precision machining, too. (It ain't nuttin' like wood, lemme tell ya.)
I considered a tabletop unit but figured I could get larger jobs and pay it off (to profit with it) sooner with a larger machine. But I did the research anyway.
I looked at CarveWright (proprietary, too pricy), ShopBot (pricy but nice), CNC Shark (pricy but nice), K2 (pricy but nice), etc.
Had I gone with a smaller tabletop unit, it probably would have been a ShopBot. There seems to be a larger base with fewer bad comments and many more good comments on those.
Keep doing your homework, determine the need, uses, and sizes you will produce, then buy the machine which fits your needs the best.
There have been some negatives in my build (Chinese linear bearing vendors, local hardware store gouging), but if I had it to do over, I'd probably build again vs. buy.
-- With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. -- Oprah Winfrey
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wrote:

I hope you are keeping a detailed photographic record of your build. Like, show me some NOW!..Please.
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On Mon, 7 May 2012 12:42:47 -0700 (PDT), Robatoy

Like, pushy, pushy! I'll see about optimizing some of the pics and putting them on my website this week, Toy. I'll let you know.
-- Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. -- Seneca
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