New to cnc

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New to cnc

Post by seesawsaw » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:00 am

Im new to the whole cnc thing but have been considering it for some time. Ive looked at several units (shopbot,intellicarve,sharkpro etc.) and I was wondering how this unit compares in learning how to use it vs those other cnc machines. Or am I way off? Thanks

Improbable Construct
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Re: New to cnc

Post by Improbable Construct » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:15 am

The Shapeoko is probably the least expensive CNC machine around.
It does however work on all the same principals of a larger or more expensive machine.

The learning curve is steep on all CNC machines mostly because of the tool chain.
The hardware is all pretty straight forward.

To successfully use any CNC machine you need to be able to create a drawing in a CAD program, open the drawing in a CAM program, and then export the G-Code to your controller software.

It sounds like a lot, and it is but many people have been very successful using their shapeokos with no prior experience.
Shapeoko #Classified some of the bolts may be original parts.
Shapeoko 1 # ???? Stainless plates, still in the box.
Shapeoko 2 # 3926 not stock
Shapeoko 3 # 0003

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Re: New to cnc

Post by WillAdams » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:33 am

The machines you listed are fairly expensive commercial machines intended for woodworking.

The Shapeoko is best characterized as a CNC kit, which once assembled and working can then be extended to suit the user's needs. With suitable upgrades, a Shapeoko could be just as functional (for lighter tasks) as the machines on your list, and at considerably less cost (if one discounts one's labour).

Last edited by WillAdams on Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

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Re: New to cnc

Post by Cwalster » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:24 am

All those machines are based off the same language of code: G-code. Some, slightly different flavors, but all boil down to the same thing. All of them are going to be programmed and operated in the same way. If you don't have a background in machining or engineering, be prepared for many hours and a lesson plan from the school of hard knocks. You need to be proficient in CAD, CAM, some manual coding, and machining.

It should also be mentioned what the shapeoko truly is: It is a kit machine that has its flaws to make it cheap. Its a great machine for what it is, but there is no comparison to a true VMC. Its a hobby machine, maybe light production work, and only on easy to cut materials, aluminum, wood, and plastic. Its not a turnkey solution, its going to take some work, which is half the fun.

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