What is the best budget Cnc machine

Anybody have any suggestions for cnc machines to diy your own parts? Something that can cut aluminum. Thanks : )

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Kinda depends on what you want to make. I have a Taig for making small parts. Like all small budget machines it’s not fast and it’s not particularly rigid, but it is quite accurate.

You can cut aluminum sheet relatively easily on any of the tabletop type machines but you have to go with a very shallow depth of cut and a 2-flute cutter.

For those I’d try to get a screw drive as opposed to belt drive, and of course as stout and rigid as you can afford. Also, a real spindle is helpful. If the machine uses/comes with a router or a mototool you’ll want to upgrade.

I built my own - couldn’t afford one that had all the features, size and rigidity that I wanted, but that was a long and tortuous path, and it’s still evolving.

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I built the Krmx02 by Michael Simpson. It’s a nice machine. just Google Kronos Robotics to find his website.

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@Lee_Wright did a review on one a while back

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OMIO no questions asked for a 2-3K. Very capable for the money.

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I love my axiom. Great machine. Great company.

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What is your budget?

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1-2k if that is even enough.

Just trying to get an idea and see what options are out their.

These do look sick is it very hard to learn to use?

I have a degree in the culinary arts and knew nothing about CAD, CAM or CNC when I bought mine. There is certainly a learning curve involved, but it’s all something that you can teach yourself using the internet.
Axiom’s machines are fairly robust. They can handle the abuse that beginners tend to dish out.

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Thoughts on the Taig for smaller parts? Looks up my alley for what I want in terms of price, except for the lack of a DRO. My only experience with mills however was on a Bridgeport, so I’m not sure what its limits are. Would it be better than an equivalently priced CNC router like the OMIO X3?

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The Taig is great if you’re making small precision parts. For instance on my chain-drive boards I made all the cogs.

But it’s pretty diminutive, there’s not that much Y travel, so for larger parts you’ll hit the limits fairly quickly.

But that’s where the rigidity issue hits. If you give it more Y you need more rigidity = mote cost more weight. The Taig I can move myself.

The Tomrach PCNC’s are the next step up. If I ever upgrade that’s where I’d go.

You don’t need a DRO for CNC, and once you put the steppers on moving the axes manually becomes a bit tiresome.

For manual milling I have a larger Grizzly machine. It’s one of those combo lathe-mill things, which are limited as well, but for the price it’s served me well and the amount I’ve used it it’s been worth every penny. There’s a great DRO made in Canada that has a giant display the name of which escapes me, but if you want I can go find it.

But getting a DRO on a Taig would be a challenge. The scales are large and unwieldy. It’s definitely time for a DRO where the distances are measured using some sort of time of flight sensor but they just aren’t accurate enough yet.

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Thanks! Was definitely looking at the Taig for manual milling, CNC seems nice but isn’t worth the extra cost and learning curve for me. However without CNC I definitely would prefer a DRO, which it sounds like it’s not really doable. The Grizzly looks nice, but is a bit large and more than I would prefer to spend at the moment.

How tall can you go on the Taig before running into issues? I don’t think I’ve gone higher than 1" myself on most parts.

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We have a lot of manufacturing plants in the area that are closing down and old Bridgeport mills are going for about the same price as a new tabletop CNC. Some are manual and some are CNC. Is there any benefit to going with something like that vs these small tabletop CNCs for making esk8 parts? I have to imagine the rigidity would be amazing but maybe not necessary for most parts.

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Bridgeports are amazing provided you have the space and power to run them (and a way to transport and support it - they’re nearly 3000 pounds). They are the standard for mills, and there’s lots of spare parts for them. They will power through most materials including steel, which many tabletop ones will struggle with. It’s probably overkill, but on the other hand it’ll probably last forever too.

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I don’t think I’ve gone over an inch either. It does seem like it’s got more Z than practical :slight_smile:

That said I’d think you’d be fine so long as your work holds are good and you keep your feed rates down.

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Not just Bridgeports - giant enclosed CNC machines come up too

Unfortunately I don’t have the space or the power to own such a beast, but you could run your own small business with this single piece of equipment.

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Yeah, there is some really reasonably priced stuff out there if you can manage the delivery & 3 phase (VFD).

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I don’t know what all y’all’s circumstances are, but for me learning to machine metal was a complete game changer. Suddenly all those things you usually had to go down to the hardware store and try to find, or search online for you could make yourself. Or, between 3D printing and machining you could come up with your own design.

Prior to that I was an electronics guy, but once you get the remote, batteries, drives and motors working you were limited to off the shelf.

Then CNC changed everything again. All those parts that can’t be manually machined, like cogs, gears, precision components, all came into possibility.

In terms of this particular pastime, esk8ing, sure, they are fun to ride, but it’s another level when you start building your own machines.

Also it opens up some fascinating career options.

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