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Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

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Warren Beard

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Post Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:04 pm

Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Hi

We are looking to add a CNC cutter to compliment our 2500x1300mm flatbed printer, I have no experience with CNC's so looking for recommendations on machines and suppliers. We can't go all bells and whistles right now but something reliable and accurate that we could possibly add to as required.

Should we consider used or is it best avoided?

.... and we don't want to build our own thanks :lol: :wink:

Cheers

Warren
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Robert Lambie

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Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:35 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Theres various ways to go about it Warren, but really depends on what you plan using it for.
by that i mean, you mention your flatbed printer, so are you talking printing and contour cutting the same board?
if so then you will require registration mark detection etc same kinda thing you have in a plotter but required in the router.
you then have different types of materials, correx, acrylic, ACM, Dufylite, Kapaboard and do on, so do you require automated head changing and so on. it really just opens up a can of warms in what you should be looking at and costs if you plan contour cutting the material and what type of material that will be. so you will be looking more at the Esko, Zund type machines...
Personally, if i was moving into this type of area ide rather buy new, or at least buy used from a reputable supplier.

One to consider, which from memory was much more competitively priced than the Esko and Zund was the Summa.
Again, this really depends on what you aim to use the machine for...

Watch on youtube.com
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Martin Pearson

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Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:53 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

As Robert has already said a lot will depend on what you intend to do with the machine now & in the future. A lot of the entry level CNC machines don't have a clear upgrade path or way to do things like change cutting heads, add censors for registration etc etc.
The other thing you will need to consider is where the machine is to be located, you will more than likely need to put the machine in it's own room to prevent dust causing problems with the vinyl work & printing you are doing, Even with a good dedicated dust extraction system a lot of dust will get into the air :lol: :lol:

If your not interested in building then I wouldn't look at second user unless as Robert has said it is from a reputable supplier, buying second hand with no experience of machines could be more expensive than buying new :lol:
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George Neagu

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Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:48 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Warren Beard wrote:Hi

We are looking to add a CNC cutter to compliment our 2500x1300mm flatbed printer, I have no experience with CNC's so looking for recommendations on machines and suppliers. We can't go all bells and whistles right now but something reliable and accurate that we could possibly add to as required.

Should we consider used or is it best avoided?

.... and we don't want to build our own thanks :lol: :wink:

Cheers

Warren


I can tell you a thing o two about Zund.

Great machine, accurate, reliable, easy to use as entry level but having all the advanced features.

The dust extractor is very effective and no dust is escaping, it's using a Festool Mobile Dust Extractor so add the cost of it and the cost of bags (but you don't need a separate room).

On top of this, it requires a compressor for both to adjust the vacuum width and to supply the router (the router is electric but it needs air as well for sealing, don't know deep details)

You need a RIP that can generate the cut files, Onyx is one. So when you hit print in RIP, it will automatically create the cut file: cut path based on the trim box, registration dots and a code that will match the name of the cut file.

You can add manually the reg dots to the artwork before you print but this is time consuming.

Now, the downside is...the consumables, the parts and the service costs will kill you, both being very expensive.

Some parts are not even stocked in the UK and can take weeks to arrive.
Then, without a service contract it can take few to several days to get an engineer on site (and we are only 30 miles away).

As I said, it's very reliable hence the cost of a service contract it's not justified, it hardly brakes down, but when it packs up it's expensive.

So things to consider:
- size of the bed
- functionality (other than just routing boards, Zund can cut posters, banners, kiss cut vinyl etc. depends what modules you choose)
- additional kit (compressor, dust extractor)
- the power of the router (spindler)
- the cost of the bits (https://shop.zund.com/en/) and whether you can find 3rd party bits. Some of Zund bits are available from an UK supplier.
- compatibility with your RIP
- the cost and availability of engineers in your area
- the availability of parts (how quick you can get a part)
- footprint
- does it need a dedicated room because of the dust? Can you move easily boards from print room to cut room?

I think that's it.
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Warren Beard

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Post Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:37 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated. I’ll speak to Esko and Zund but wonder if it’ll be too much for theirs right now but will check them out.

Learning as I go and looking at all options does anybody know anything about Radical and their Paranha range of CNC? Prices seem reasonable but need to find out why and how they compare. Yes they will be a rebadged Chinese machine but as a stepping stone maybe something to consider. I will research the differences between all to make the best decision but always good to hear from users and what to look out for when making decisions.

Cheers

Warren.
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Martin Pearson

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Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:00 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

What do you want to be able to do Warren ? Had a quick look at the Parahna range on their site, it's a Chinese CNC your right but it will come with UK support & there are some very good machines coming out of China, don't know if that is one of them though. As I said before there isn't really an upgrade path & looking at this it's the same, they say oscillating knife & camera recognition but that upgrade is on placing order according to their site so not something that can be added at a latter date.

It isn't going to be as versatile or upgradeable as the other machines but then there is no doubt a huge price difference :lol: :lol:
Might be worth it as an introductory machine to get you started but that will depend on what you really want it for :lol: :lol:
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James Sahota

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Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:15 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Hi Warren,

As mentioned in my email I would update you.

I think for what your trying to achieve and coupling this with your flatbed printer you need to be looking at a cutter with a camera and recognition system so you can seamlessly print cut.

We have a Tekcel CNC machine with 18 tools, camera and knife cutting system...from memory I think we paid around 65k for this...this machine is a beast and will cut some seriously challenging material...it makes a lot of noise but we have it 35m away from the offices so not to much noise

We recently added a DYSS x7 machine again all singing all dancing with multiple heads and a router. An excellent machine comes with it on software and generally easy to use. Has a belt to so you can cut large rolls of vinyl from memory we paid 110k for this one.

You will need to factor noise and dust extraction if this machine is going into a small location close to offices be prepared for the noise these machines will make even the DYSS x7 makes considerable noise during use.

I would always go for a reputable brand to ensure your have the services and cover.

Perhaps check out Josero who have some used cutting machines available which might fit the bill.

Hope this helps
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Warren Beard

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Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:09 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Thanks guys, I guess upgrade path may be an issue so not serious and will have to get the best I can at the start. I have a few meetings set up with supplies so hope to learn a lot but possibly seems I either need to go with a cheaper machine with the extras or a high end machine without extras. We have a laser cutter that we print and then contour cut with good results and that’s with no registration marks or cameras etc. So think we may be able to make do but need to find out more.

Early days but appreciate the help guys.

Are there any major points I should look to avoid?
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David McDonald

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Post Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:36 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Hi Warren

We have a large 4m x 2m CNC and it's a beast of a unit that can process almost anything but it doesn't have a camera. We cover the UV printer with cheap paper from Europoint and print wire frame templates for the shaped items we cut on the CNC, then lay/register the items on the paper and print onto the pre-cut items. Works really well with pixel perfect registration. Slightly longer process than having a camera though.

Cheers
Dave
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James Sahota

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Post Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:41 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Bloody genesis David!!! I wish I had seen this before we got rid of our old AXYZ machine probably would have kept it...well impressed with that as a solution for non camera CNC.....

Have cameras on both the cutters now so don’t have his issues but once again massive thumbs up for a genesis solution!!
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Warren Beard

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Post Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:43 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Good idea David, we have a laser cutter we cut on after printing. It also has a zero point although not quiet zero so different from the printer, we’ve measured the difference and simply apply this variable to the position when cutting and it lines up great. Lasers large but is a Chinese rebrand so not the highest quality machine but has served us well but limited to materials and size.

I’ve met with Zund and their machines are fully upgradable which is great to be able to continually add features but yet to see prices and fear it might be out of reach right now but haven’t really looked at much else so still a lot of research to do.

Cheers
Warren
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John Hughes

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Post Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Hi David.

We do the same but print the ‘wire frame’ templates directly on to the bed of the printer. Works perfect although have to scrape off the ink when done but no big hassle.

John
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Kevin Flowers

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Post Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:12 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

You can also do it if you print a boundary box around your item align your cutter in the correct corner and set it as 0,0 on xy axis on the router, in the cut software create a cut line for the square starting on 0,0 xy along with item to contour cut but don't send the cutter down for the box just for the contour. Takes a little practice but can be done. Hope that makes sense

Kev
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Dan Osterbery

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Post Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:03 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

A very interesting thread! We too are looking for an entry level cnc, and we have looked at the full range of prices to see what each machine can do and how we can use it. We are at the smaller end of the budget, so Zund & Konsburg, are out of our budget, amazing machines as they are!

I am beginning to think a digital cutter, may be the best route to take. I understand that they have the function to cut pvc, wood, perspex and aluminium composite, but they also have the ability to cut paper, fold and crease as well. I know they might not be as accurate as a dedicated cnc, and may not be as fast, but they appear to be more versatile which would suit our small island market.

i am not sure if we are allowed to post links (could save you some time warren), but we have looked at chinese built brands that offer uk support, and the prices are lower than, the big name brands. Also Brands from Poland, and Spain. The price difference is quite confusing, but we are beginning to understand more.

Could anyone elaborate a little more on the printwire frame templates method? Not sure i am understanding how that works, i would be very grateful, as alot of the machines at the cheaper end of the spectrum, don't have cameras, but either have a fixed zero point or a lazer to mark the zero point.

Warren i too have looked at the radecal cnc machines and their digital cutter and i might fly over to see them in the flesh, as i quite like their low entry point and the fact that almost everything can be upgraded with time, and of course investment! (Their machines are designed in UK, supported in UK, but built in china to help lower the product price)

cheers

Dan
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Neil Speirs

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Post Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:20 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

I know this is an old thread but did any of you guys proceed with purchasing a large cnc?
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Dan Osterbery

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Hi Neil,
we bought a 2500 x 1300 cnc and a 120cm x 90cm lazer from HPC lasers. These are entry level machines, built in china, but backed up in the UK. We are very happy with them both, cant believe how versatile the lazer is. We have only had them since june so we are still finding our feet, but they are both working on a daily basis, and we are very happy with them. I do see that cameras and tool changers would make life easier, but we bought within our budget, so i am happy with what we have.

All the best

Dan
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Neil Speirs

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:12 pm

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Thanks Dan!

I would like to add something that we can throw full 8x4 sheets into but just trying to see what type machine would be best fit for us? We already have a laser that has a 760x440 bed and yeah know how great these machines are but I have no knowledge on CNC machines and the pros & cons to them... We normally work with 4-8mm veneered MDFs and some occasional acrylics but ideally just want a machine for cutting our designs from full 8x4's
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Dan Osterbery

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:43 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Hi Neil,
i think hpc have a showroom, maybe go and visit them and have a play. Our cnc we so far have mainly cut pvc boards and letters, some mdf, some dm, we are about to attempt to make our first folded tray with dibond. We haven't cut acrylic yet on the cnc, as most of the work we do on the lazer with acyrlic as the finish is better and doesn't need polishing. We are still figuring out the work flow with the cnc, but so far we are very happy, it is a basic machine but it suits our needs for the moment, as the prices of hpc are quite attractive. I have also been pretty happy with the after sales service, as we are in Menorca and had the machines shipped over and then flew in their technician for the install and training, any issues we have had when wea re not sure they have been really helpful down the phone, so i am pretty confident they would offer pretty good back up if you are in the UK. Goodluck

Best

Dan
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Neil Speirs

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:38 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Thanks for the info Dan :thumbsup:

If you ever need help with the laser please feel free to also fly me over....... preferably summertime :wink:
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Dan Osterbery

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Recommendations on reliable entry level 8x4 CNC Machine

Will do Neil

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