I’ve run across a deal on this CNC machine, but have never know anyone who had one. We’ve been looking at getting a small CNC for the team (and this one is small) but without knowing if the reviews I’m seeing are legit, I’m a bit reluctant to spring for it, even though the price is quite low. Does anyone know anything about these (or the company that makes them) that they can tell me that might help me decide?
Sainsmart makes good electronics. That listing convinces me that their mechanical capabilities are less than developed.
Definitely look elsewhere, unless you just want to cut PCBs.
I’d be interested to know anything too. I’ve saw it on a local auction site for quite a bit lower and might bid if it stays low.
What application are you considering this for? If it’s for any serious development work I honestly think you are better off slowly saving up if cost is the issue.
We can better assist if you have specific applications and use cases in mind.
Mostly looking to machine small plastic and aluminum parts like bearing plates, spur gears, bearing blocks, mounts, that sort of thing. We don’t really have room yet for a larger CNC router, so we’re not looking for something that can handle large pieces (like lengths of aluminum tube, for instance), just something to make small parts.
Would your purposes be better suited for printed parts?
We will have access to a 3D printer next year, so we have that covered. Most of what I’m talking about is machining types of plastic that can’t be printed and machining small aluminum parts.
While I don’t have any direct experience, at this price, I wouldn’t hesitate to get this for learning CAM programming and doing neat little trinkets in wood, foam, or plastic. I’d even briefly considered the potential for a class set of these for remote learning, if I weren’t worried about maintenance issues or it burning down my students’ apartments.
Trying to cut aluminum on it will not go well. If you’re trying to make useful FRC robot parts, your money is better spent on a bandsaw, sander, drill press, or rivet puller.
I had a friend who purchased a MYSWEETY 3018 CNC recently, which is extremely similar in design to the SainSmart model you shared.
His intention was just to get a low cost machine to play around with and learn, and from what I am told, he is very happy with the purchase. He has cut wood and I think some plastic. He also added a laser head, which was pretty neat (this only engraves, not cuts like a CO2 laser can).
For an FRC team, I think this could be a fun toy to play and learn from, but you probably won’t get the speed/precision you need to make lots of function parts on it in a given build season.
As for cutting aluminum, if you are very patient, you can probably cut it, however it will take a very long time, and your cut quality may not be great.
We have all those other tools, which is why I’d contemplate spending money on this at all. But I see your point otherwise.
Thanks. This was pretty much what I suspected, but wanted to be sure I wasn’t overlooking something.
I have milled aluminum with a similar small CNC machines. But you will have to take VERY shallow DOC (0.2mm) and maybe 300mm/min. Really concerned about that price point. I would expect something the size of a 3040 CNC (300mm x 400m) to run about $500- $800. Main cost is the linear rails and electronics. As the size of the workspace increases, so does the linear rails.
As you guys are an NC team and pretty close to us, I’m sure we’d be happy to cut stuff for you on our shopbot as long as you provide the material.
Thanks for the offer. This is partly about me as a mentor wanting to develop the team’s capabilities and teach them new things, not just to get the parts, thus the interest in a CNC router. We’ll probably go ahead and spring for one of the smaller Shopbot models ourselves (since they’re a local company and all.) But I appreciate what you all do to help out other teams.
Yeah, I think teams need to be helping each other out more than ever given the current fiscal situation of the competition. I do recommend the desktop Max machines, although like others said, an omio is also an excellent machine that is usually cheaper. Tell me if you guys need anything from us though, we’d be happy to help out.