My team, 3865, are looking for a specific CNC and need help finding one new or used.
(we can only purchace with a purchase order not a credit card)
-It has to be below $1,500
-bed size X8 is 585x790mm
-aluminum cutting ability
“Woodcutting” is cool if all the other specifics are met.
I’m new to this site so point me to the right forum if this isn’t the right place.
This CNC does not exist for $1500. Any CNC with the spindle and bed size will have serious rigidity issues.
The only CNC under $1500 worth looking at will be the Shapeoko 3, and that will do well with plastic/wood and not with aluminum. It’ll cut aluminum but be about 8-20x slower than an Omio will.
If you can afford to save up for an Omio X6 or X8 or try and finagle something used, I would highly recommend it.
If you can loosen some of your requirements, you might be able to find something on Amazon in your price range, for example this 6040 CNC with a .8 kW spindle and round rail linear bearings (supported round rail in Y, unsupported X and Z). More rigid routers, like the popular X8-2200 often discussed here, often use supported linear rails on all axes.
I believe 1678 was planning to buy some similar machines on Amazon a few years ago. Maybe @RoboChair or @Michael_Corsetto could chime in on how well they work for FRC-purposes. Last I looked at their tool library, they tend to use fairly conservative speeds and feeds that might you might be able to pull off with a less rigid machine.
On the v-wheel bearing/Shapeoko-style of things, some lesser known options are the MillRight Mega V and this upcoming 4030 machine from SainSmart. You’ll definitely find less community support with either option versus the popular Shapeoko 3/X-Carve/Various Open Builds Machines, but it’s always good to scope out options.
Be extremely careful recommending these types of machines. Anything with unsupported rails can have serious, serious rigidity issues. I bought a seemingly nice-looking 6090 router on Alibaba a few years ago, and to this day I’m not 100% certain what made it so awful to use.
Basically, if you don’t know someone with the exact machine you’re buying, be fully prepared to return it if it’s not up to scratch. There are people with modded 6040s that can even cut steel, but those require a lot of know-how to do effectively at the level needed to significantly change the machine’s purpose.
This could be as fast as a Shapeoko can cut as well, although the feeds and speeds are incorrectly set up in that video (way too low of a feedrate). 8 minutes for 3 slots and a bearing hole is many times slower than a machine twice as expensive.
What you are looking for does not exist at your price point, especially purchasable by purchase order. I think a Shapeoko or this is going to be as close as you can get with that budget and purchasing constraint. https://www.rockler.com/next-wave-shark-sd100
Another option is to see if you can find a team in your area that has a CNC and see if they are willing to cut parts for you, at least until you get capabilities in house. You can also see if makerspaces or universities around you would be willing to do the same. If any local teams reached out to us and needed CNC-ed parts we would be happy to help them out.
We do that quite often as well. It’s not uncommon for other local teams to ask us to cut parts and it’s even less common for those requests to be turned down.
@PCFRC I think whoever set your budget–or what you’ll spend it on–needs some perspective. My team runs a Velox 5050 Econ build–3.5HP Porter-Cable router is the power plant (2.6kW), but it isn’t cooled at all (other than the stock setup). We added a coolant mister/air blower to ours (for cheap) but that doesn’t do much for the spindle. That particular machine is well above your current budget, but on the cheap end of CNC routers in its size class. Don’t know much about the Omios but I hear good things about them.
Now, I don’t know much about your team, or the situation with the budget. But there’s a couple of questions I think bear asking…
What tools do you currently have?
Is the $1500 specifically for a CNC or is it for tools in general?
Is the budget set by the school, or by the team–and if it’s the school, has someone told them how impossible that budget is?
I’m going to be a bit blunt: If I had $1500 to buy a CNC, and that was it, I’d want to find out who set that limit and ask them if they were missing a zero, because there’s hardly any new machines–manual benchtop machines at that–on the market for that price range, even from the cheap vendors. I looked. Even used machines are going to be a bit dicey. If it’s the school’s budget system, you’ll have to ask if there’s a way to get that limit doubled or otherwise expanded–bring quotes for machines that meet the minimum specs you need (and set those properly) and they’ll hopefully be able to work with you.
May be worth searching your area for a used router. We had an old beast donated. Had to gut the electronics and replace some steppers. A little clean up and the router has been working fine for us for 3 years now.
It sounds like you’ve nearly duplicated the specs on an Omio X8 (2.2 kW watercooled spindle, 565x770/22x30 bed, “high speed”, cuts aluminum), however, you are expecting to get it for less than half of the Omio cost ($2800+about $500 shipping).
The Omio is already an insanely good value in that spec class. Taking another 55% out of that price is not going to happen for a new machine with that power and size.
The only possibility with your spec and budget constraints is finding something used that the owner is willing to give away for a song and also take a purchase order for.
Going for smaller (6040), lower power, and less rigid machines might get you into the $1500 range new and shipped, but you’d need to make sure that kind of machine comes with software (usually Mach3) to run it and then you’ll probably also need a computer to run it, a mister, a compressor to run the mister, and a variety of mills and collets.
Chances are good that a lower-spec machine will not really meet FRC needs and you’ll be looking to purchase your second machine not long after the first having already burned the funds on the first.
The team would likely be better off overall if you combined budgets over multiple years and bought something like an Omio X8 the first time, even if it doesn’t happen until later.
But if there are things you guys need cut, don’t be afraid to reach out to your Indiana friends. 1720 could probably get some stuff cut for you depending on the size and quantity on our Omio, feel free to PM me when that time comes.
At my work we have a registered vendor that will take our PO’s and act as a middleman for a fee. It’s possible that you can use that sort of vendor/service for this school purchase.
Generally, I agree that at ~$3000 the X8 is great value if your goal is to make aluminum parts as fast as possible. However with multiple cheaper, less rigid machines you can potentially get more students running machines at the same time, which may be more in line with your organizational goals. As a student at 687, I loved running wood and plastic parts on our CNC router and honestly I feel like it’s an under-discussed use case here on CD (i.e: a less rigid, cheaper CNC router as a laser cutter alternative VS an alternative to other beefier CNC routers.)
In terms of other machine options, this CNC4Newbie router w/ linear rails runs ~$1800 without a spindle + electronics included, and you can save some money with the electronics-less ~$1000 option and pairing with a cheaper GRBL-based control system. There are spindle mounts available for routers like these, and you can eventually upgrade to a “proper” spindle down the line. You might still run into issues with PO’s however.
Hadn’t seen this before. Interesting. Throw a ~$100 router on there and you’re in business for right around $2k. For the OP, this looks like your best option at this price point. This machine appears much more rigid than others at its price range. If you can get your budget up to an Omio, do that. If you can get your budget up a few hundred to afford this and no higher, this may be the way to go. It seems to be a good but more rigid than a Shapeoko, and it looks to have good Z height and travel, something many routers lack. It’s a little bit smaller in XY but that’s not entirely a bad thing, as the smaller size may help with rigidity. Of course, this is all speculative, since I haven’t owned any of these myself.
Same for me. I ran an early X-Carve and Shapeoko when I interned for “MAKE:” years ago, but have never owned either. At the time I was really excited about their potential as plastic/wood routing machines for FRC, especially given their cost. #PlasticIsFantastic