As I continue to experiment with the laser cutter at work I really really wanted to get something at home that I could use. Now I knew my budget was going to be very limited and that I would never be able to afford a laser cutter of that size so I mostly just kept on wishing and hoping. I then just started looking into CNC machines because I really wanted to get some aluminium milled for some motor mounts on my quad copter. I started looking online, joining various forums and website to find out more about CNC machines.
After some research I found that you could purchase a kit online for as little as $600 (Something that was in my price range). I started to do some more research looking at places like amazon and eBay and I came across quite a few options. One particular line of CNC machines from china really cough my eye. They were just called CNC 3040, or CNC 3020 based on the table size you could cut on. The smaller 30cm by 20cm retailed at about $750 with shipping from china while the slightly larger model retailed for $900.
I choose to go with the 3040 model as I really liked that I could cut bigger pieces if I needed to. I started contacting sellers on ebay asking them questions about their shipping method and packaging of the product. To my surprise most of them told me it would be shipped by sea and arrive in 20 days. That seemed a bit long and I really didn’t want my beloved CNC on a boat for 20 days. After about three weeks I found a seller called “igoodmart2011“, that agreed to ship the item in a wooden crate and it would be shipped from California by Fedex. The price was also the exact same so I could not resist and I ordered it. To my surprise and amazement it took 3 days to arrive and I had it on Friday afternoon.
It got thought customs too late so I had to drive to Mississauga to get it. I really didn’t mind, as long as I could set it up that weekend I was happy. I got home and started to unbox the CNC machine.
It was extremely well packed in my opinion, there was a 2 boxes that were inside a box that was inside another box. It took quite a bit of time and effort to even get to the machine.
And there it was.
After admiring it for a few minutes with my dad he started looking around and asked me: Where are the stepper motors for it? My heart dropped. Did I read the posting wrong, were the motors not included? I started looking around and at the bottom of the box there was another box with motors. Thank goodness. We started attaching them with the 4 screws provided.
I brought it downstairs in my workshop, plugged in all the wires, installed the software that came on the CD with the CNC, tried by best to get through the Chinese instructions on setting up the software and in about an hour I was ready to go. I was so surprised how easy it was to set up. Everything just seemed to work perfectly.
This was about one hour after I started setting everything up.
I had a real gcode print in my hand. Now it was time to go by some materials, and a shop vacuum to use for removing debris as the CNC is cutting. I wanted to start with MDF since it was a soft wood and would let me make mistakes with the programming but I also knew I wanted to cut aluminium. To my surprise I found exactly what I was looking for at home depot.
Now im just about ready to start cutting my first piece.
If anyone has any questions about this CNC or if anyone is stuck setting it up let me know. The instructions were very basic and hard to understand but using the screenshots provided really helped.
Ill keep you updated.