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Ollie78

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What I fine amusing about a number of videos on YouTube is the number of personalities that you see unboxing their new toys, all sorts, and then nothing more on how they get on with the item ever again. 😂
True, so many get sent free stuff to "review" do 3 or videos and thats it. There is a huge amount of buildthreads and information on mycncuk, from basic machines to really amazing builds. I find it easier sometimes to read information than watch youtube clips which can often be superficial and miss out important little details.

Ollie
 

sploo

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At least from some of the channels I watch, it does appear that Avid CNC are currently throwing machines at YouTubers like they're going out of fashion. Not that I'd complain if I got one for free.
 

Dave the woodworker

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At least from some of the channels I watch, it does appear that Avid CNC are currently throwing machines at YouTubers like they're going out of fashion. Not that I'd complain if I got one for free.
Of course these, YouTubers, usually say that the company from which they have received the item does not affect their review but it is a great way for these companies to get free advertising.

I might just make a video of my build probably at least 20 episodes minus the swearing as I make mistakes!😀 Might get at least 2 views.
 

martin.pearson

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So what did you actually purchase as these seem to be sort of modular & you add the bits you want, if you don't have everything you need then now is the time to learn a little about what else you need, if you don't have motion control then consider the controller that Ollie78 has mentioned, not the cheapest but motion control is at the heart of any machine. Not familiar with the controller he mentioned as it is one of their newer ones but I have their UC400 ethernet controller & software.
A lot of the software companies allow you to download trial versions that you can play about with, I normally suggest people do this when they ask for recommendations as what suits one person isn't always best for another, I personally use Vectric software & found it easy to learn & has very good aftermarket support which is basically for life. I didn't realise there was still a free version of fusion 360, I found that far to big & not so easy to learn as other software & it doesn't always remain free for life. You could start looking at software now as you don't need a CNC machine to actually design anything & if you already have an idea how the software works when your machine arrives then it makes the learning curve a little shallower lol
 

martin.pearson

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Vectric software is well talked about but is also very expensive and may be over the top for basic sign making.
I guess it depends what you are really looking for, for me then In CNC terms Vectric software is not expensive at all, it's also very easy to use & has great support which is probably why it is talked about so much, it also really depends on what you want to be able to do with the CNC machine once you have it. Is it purely Hobby or do you intend to sell some of what you make? I bought my software a few years ago so things may have changed a lot but when I did my research before buying I looked at different software options both paid for & free, what put me off most of the free software was that none of it seemed to have a lot of support in the way of help or tutorials & a lot of people using it couldn't wait to upgrade to a paid for software. Like I say those things may now be different.
I have absolutely no experience with other CNC software so can't comment on what else is available & what that can do & ease of use. Ollie78 did say he purchased Vectric software to be able to do V carving which would probably be the most used way to make basic signs which is one of the things you said you want to be able to do.
As I said before you have a bit of time before your machine arrives so have a look at what is available & test for yourself, starting out with something free & upgrading at a latter date doesn't really appeal to me personally simply because I don't want to keep having to learn new software at my age lol
 

Ollie78

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Vectric software is well talked about but is also very expensive and may be over the top for basic sign making.
For up to 600MM square you can use Vcarve desktop which is not too bad in price, the advantage is you buy it and own it, unlike many other software these days.
In terms of CNC software its an absolute bargain and has very well optimised CAM for doing v carving and most of the other types of routing, pockets, fluting, profiles, inlays etc and as you want to do signs and stuff this is likely what you will need.
You can download free demo versions which are fully functional except it won`t generate a Gcode file, so you can have a good play with it before forking out any cash.

Not familiar with the controller he mentioned as it is one of their newer ones but I have their UC400 ethernet controller & software.
I think its fundamentally the same controller as the 300eth / 400eth with a built in breakout board, just makes it one less thing to wire up.
It came out about a month after I got my uc300eth which was a bit annoying !
I would say go ethernet if you can, Usb can be unreliable as can all in one chinese controllers and GRBL stuff.

I didn't realise there was still a free version of fusion 360, I found that far to big & not so easy to learn as other software & it doesn't always remain free for life.
The free version is still free for home users. It is renewable every year as it was previously, they changed it to hobby version whereas before it was enterprise version which you could earn up to 100k a year. So if you are a true hobby user no problem at all. They have restricted some file types for import and export and slowed the rapids down in the output gcode, not much of an issue for many hobby users. And a couple of other things i can`t remember.
I find it great for multi component things and easier than other 3d stuff I have tried to learn.

As I said before you have a bit of time before your machine arrives so have a look at what is available & test for yourself, starting out with something free & upgrading at a latter date doesn't really appeal to me personally simply because I don't want to keep having to learn new software at my age lol
This is an extremely good point. Learning software is not trivial and will require some concentrated effort.
While the same principles generally apply there can be very big differences in the way things are done in each software. Everyone is a bit different and get on with certain software better than others.
Look at Alibre atom a cheap 3d programme, no CAM but there is one with meshcam included.
Many people like freecad but I couldn`t get on with it.
There are free home use versions of other stuff like solid edge and solidworks too I think but I am not sure of the restrictions.

Oh yeah, just another software mention that is free and fun too. Zbrush is a sculpture software where you begin with a basic shape like a sphere or cube and you can manipulate it sort of like clay, by pulling or pushing, carving etc. It can output various formats and is mesh based.
I have been playing with the free version Zbrush core, my kids enjoy it as well.


Ollie
 
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martin.pearson

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The free version is still free for home users. It is renewable every year as it was previously, they changed it to hobby version whereas before it was enterprise version which you could earn up to 100k a year. So if you are a true hobby user no problem at all. They have restricted some file types for import and export and slowed the rapids down in the output gcode, not much of an issue for many hobby users. And a couple of other things i can`t remember.
I find it great for multi component things and easier than other 3d stuff I have tried to learn.

I had it a few years ago, I found it quite difficult to learn & at the time there didn't seem to be much help or support for it, it ended up just sitting on my design computer & not being used at all, had it on there for a couple of years & always meant to go back & spend more time trying to learn how to use it.
Then I got an email from them saying that if I wanted to continue to use it then it was $40 a month, replied to that because although I was a Business I had never used it to make money & certainly was never going to get remotely close to 100K a year lol the response I got was simply that if I wanted to continue to use it then it was $40 a month full stop. I uninstalled it at that point & have never looked at it again. I can only work part time & don't make a lot of money so $40 a month was just to much for me especially as I had Vectric software that did everything that I was doing. I don't know if things have changed since then or not, I thought I had read somewhere that it was no longer free but maybe I didn't lol, I do know that they made quite a few changes.
 

Dave the woodworker

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Martin, what Vectric software do you have. I know that the top one is about £1700 for a lifetime license. It would take a long time for me to recoup that. I also think that I would not get the use out it. May be Vcarve would be a possibility but still quite expensive for me as a newby.

Does anyone have any experience of the Linux CNC which has been around for a long time.?
 

Ollie78

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Martin, what Vectric software do you have. I know that the top one is about £1700 for a lifetime license. It would take a long time for me to recoup that. I also think that I would not get the use out it. May be Vcarve would be a possibility but still quite expensive for me as a newby.

Does anyone have any experience of the Linux CNC which has been around for a long time.?
Vcarve desktop is probably fine for your needs. I think it costs about £300, most of the functionality of Vcarve pro but limited to 600mm square.
I have it and its great.
Pro adds unlimited area and nesting, and gadgets.
Aspire adds 3d modelling capabilities to it.
You can literally download each vectric software and try them for free. And upgrade anytime between them so you can start on desktop and upgrade to pro or Aspire later.
If considering aspire you should possibly look at Carveco maker, available with monthly or perpetual licence at competive price to aspire it is very capable but less known as it used to called Artcam.

Linux cnc is fairly well regarded but that is only the equivalent of UCCNC or Mach3 (now unsuported) or Mach4. What you use can depend on your motion controller itself. Some have proprietary requirements others don`t care.

You need 3 levels of software to run the machine, one to draw the stuff or CAD, one to programme the toolpath and generate the gcode or CAM and one to drive the machine. Vectric does both the CAD and CAM as will Fusion 360 or Carveco.


Ollie
 

Dave the woodworker

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As regards the controller, four options are listed on Ratrig site.
Black box motion
Black box motion with interface CNC touch controller
Pro V5 controller
Duet 3 Mainboard 6HC

I am not sure which would be best for my needs.
 

Ollie78

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In all honesty none of them.

GRBL is not known to be great and runs only on arduino.
USB is not great niether is wifi as operating in a place with quite a lot of possible interferance.
You don`t want any disconnection mid cycle.


Uccnc is proven on many machines from home made to very expensive kit. Axiom use it on their routers for instance.
Ethernet is fairly bulletproof.

Just get this.
or direct from here

Ollie
 

martin.pearson

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OK so first off Ollie78 is trying to lead you down the right path, it is possible to get started with these cheaper motion controllers & software but I am not sure it is the right way to go even if you say you will upgrade at a latter date, most of the problems you see on forums are related to cheaper kit & most people end up upgrading, the old components they have bought aren't really worth reselling so to me its a complete waste of money & although it is a higher price upfront at least you should only have to do it once.
Just so we are clear the price of any Vectric software is not a once in a lifetime expense, as all software companies they bring out new versions of the software & there is a price to upgrade. having said that you don't have to upgrade if you don't want to & you will still get the same help & support so I suppose it could be a once in a lifetime expense lol
They have one of the best upgrade policies that I know of, you can upgrade at any time to the next level of software & you only pay the difference in price between the 2 programs.
Cut2D is their cheapest software, sorry can't remember the price, next up is Vcarve Desktop which is what Ollie78 says you should look at & I would agree because you can't do V carving with Cut2D & you would really need that for the signs you mentioned. Vcarve pro is next & as well as not having the restrictions on size it also adds some extra features that may or may not be of use. Their top software is Aspire which has 3D modelling capabilities but 3D modelling is quite difficult to learn & I would only recommend buying Aspire if you wanted to be able to make your own 3D models.
Even then I would say that it is only worth buying Aspire if the sort of 3D modelling you want to do is more artistic & organic (for want of a better word). It is a little difficult to explain but there are different types of software for 3D modelling & if you are new to it all then it isn't something you want to be thinking about to much just now & by the time you are you will know a lot more about what would best suit your needs.
OK so as you have asked I have Aspire myself but it's not what I started with, I actually started with Cut2D because as a signmaker I already had software to produce the artwork I needed. Within a short space of time, I upgraded to Vcarve pro because Cut2D doesn't do v carving & that was something that I wanted to be able to do. At that time there was no V carve Desktop, it was just Cut2D Vcarve pro or Aspire.
When I upgraded from cut2D to Vcarve pro I only paid the difference in price between the 2 programs not the full price of vcarve pro. I now have Aspire & really like it, some of the 3D modelling is quite straightforward & not to challenging but other areas of 3D modelling have me pulling my hair out sometimes, I learnt 2D really quickly & would say I am pretty good with it but 3D well that's a completely new level.
In all honesty, I may have just kept Vcarve pro & used that because it did most of the things that I needed it to, when I got Aspire I couldn't really justify buying it but I was invited to join Vectrics beta testing team & lets face it I couldn't turn down an offer like that lol
 

hugov

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Anyone here used the Mafell FM-1000 spindle (FM 800 / FM 1000 (PV) / FM 1000 (PV) WS: Mafell AG), especially the PV-WS version? I like the idea of a German-made self-contained unit specifically designed for use as a CNC router, with built in speed control (computer controllable for the PV version with a 0-10V analog signal) and with a rapid tool change system for 8mm bits (WS version). Sure, it'll still be noisier than a similarly sized water cooled VFD 3ph spindle, but also avoids a lot of extra complexity (and plumbing...).
 

Dave the woodworker

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Anyone here used the Mafell FM-1000 spindle (FM 800 / FM 1000 (PV) / FM 1000 (PV) WS: Mafell AG), especially the PV-WS version? I like the idea of a German-made self-contained unit specifically designed for use as a CNC router, with built in speed control (computer controllable for the PV version with a 0-10V analog signal) and with a rapid tool change system for 8mm bits (WS version). Sure, it'll still be noisier than a similarly sized water cooled VFD 3ph spindle, but also avoids a lot of extra complexity (and plumbing...).
I am also looking at this plus the AMB (kess) milling motor. Both are from Germany. If anyone uses either of them, what do you think about the product. These are not routers but purposely made milling motors.
 

Ollie78

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Anyone here used the Mafell FM-1000 spindle (FM 800 / FM 1000 (PV) / FM 1000 (PV) WS: Mafell AG), especially the PV-WS version? I like the idea of a German-made self-contained unit specifically designed for use as a CNC router, with built in speed control (computer controllable for the PV version with a 0-10V analog signal) and with a rapid tool change system for 8mm bits (WS version). Sure, it'll still be noisier than a similarly sized water cooled VFD 3ph spindle, but also avoids a lot of extra complexity (and plumbing...).
I am sure they are perfectly adequate motors.
They are sold for use on panto routers as well.

For similar or less money you can get a Chinese spindle with vfd. I would still do that mostly because it will have a standard and very cheap collet Er16 or Er20, the inserts are very cheap if you get er 20 you can use standard 1/2 inch collet router bits again cheap and plentiful.

Do not fear the "plumbing" it's one pipe in one pipe out into the reservoir with a pond pump, very easy.

Ollie
 
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martin.pearson

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+1 on what Ollie78 has just said, the plumbing for a watercooled spindle is so simple & the only thing you really need to check is that if you are putting your container on the floor & your CNC on a bench then the pond pump has to have enough lift to pump the water uphill by the correct amount lol
While the motors mentioned may be very good you have the problem of then trying to find bits at the right shank size, an er20 collet chuck will take a range of collets from 1mm up to 12.7mm plus imperial sized collets as well so there is never a problem finding router bits that fit the spindle.
 
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