Any CnC Recommendations?

Looking for a High quality CnC that is approx 0.75-1 meter by 0.75-1 meter. I would like to be able to cut polycarbonate and aluminum with high precision. Also any accessories to go along with the CnC would be great to. My price range is up to $1000. Any help is appreciated.

A cnc… what?
CNC (computer numeric control) is a process of machining, not the name of a type of machine. There are many different machines that use CNC processes to create parts- the most common of which are lathes, mills, and routers- so you’ll have to specify what you’re looking for more thoroughly. Additionally, each of those machines have their own unique uses. Lathes are specialized in turning parts to high degrees of precision concentrically, boring, drilling, facing, (although, you’re very unlikely to find any CNC lathes in that price range; they aren’t very common) and mills and routers tend to be used to square stock, drill holes, face, etc etc

What are your goals with this machine? Are there any particular operations you intend to pursue, or is this just for general purpose machining? You can get a decent CNC router/mill from
, or maybe something like this:'x8'+CNC+Router&dchild=1&keywords=4'x8'+CNC+Router&pd_rd_i=B07H2QH17J&pd_rd_r=fdf85d36-bce7-43f0-bbf6-55dbcc474154&pd_rd_w=0kB7z&pd_rd_wg=6jv1w&pf_rd_p=967d8720-e4cf-4d5d-9da3-53f47ca634a3&pf_rd_r=D63918WER25ESYQHVWHD&psc=1&qid=1586875251&sr=1-2-dd5817a1-1ba7-46c2-8996-f96e7b0f409c&linkCode=sl1&tag=edgecutter-20&linkId=7bcb8ad0cba5069e6f8fff4208dc958f&language=en_US
or this

If you’ve got a lot of spare time (and quite a bit of luck), you may be able to find a used Bridgeport manual mill in your area (check craigslist or ebay). While these machines are manual (and definitely beyond those size restrictions), they’ll likely be more than accurate enough for your needs, and will probably outlive your grandkids, too.


So from what I can tell mills and routers are the same thing but mills are better for metal while routers are better for wood. So I guess I’m looking for one that can cut Aluminum. So with a manual mill I would move the piece around I’m cutting?

Yes, or more specifically, the table the part is clamped to. There are plenty of manual mills that have the head able to move as well (usually with a spindle quill) as well as rotate (don’t get one that does this unless it’s really beefy, solid heads are much more rigid), but generally yeah the part is what moves in a manual mill

A well built manual mill can easily reach less than a thousandths of an inch of TIR (total indicated runout), or less, if the operator knows what they’re doing. The main reason for CNC is efficiency and repeatability, something not typically too essential in a $1000 < machine. If you find a good manual machine, I’d go for that unless you want to make a career out of machining with CNC tools (it’s a valid career path- and pays very well- but also very expensive to start out in)

How would I make sure I’m following the right pathing? Put a piece of paper over what I’m cutting with the shape printed onto it? Then there was also the router you linked which would only be able to do polycarbonate. I also know there is a local service where I can get metal milled which might be a better option.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to get a 1 meter by 1 meter cnc for less than 1000. You can try for 6 inches to a foot if you’re lucky

With 1000 dollars you cannot buy something of good quality. Write me personally and I can help you.

I’m not sure how smaller machines like the X-Carve would function on an operation-by-operation basis (for a Bridgeport i know you certainly wouldn’t want to place paper anywhere near the cutting tool), but i’d highly recommend checking out some youtube videos from channels like ThisOldTony and Joe Pieczynski to see the basic functions of some of these types of machines before making a big purchase decision.

As for getting parts sourced from somewhere else, that’s always a fine option; it really depends on how much machining you’re wanting to do and how many parts you intend to make. If it’s just one small thing, sure go for the local option, but if it’s something you’re interested in continuously doing as a hobby, getting your own machine is a great choice as well.

Unfortunately however, as railgun and danielavil said, $1,000 is a relatively small budget for a machine of the size you’re looking for- especially considering tooling costs (you usually can expect to pay about the same price in tooling and accessories as you do for the machine itself) - but if you’re just looking for a small hobbyist machine for the sole purpose of cutting plastics and soft metals, the X-Carve is a very solid and affordable option, and is pretty upgradeable.


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