My CNC Experience

On July 15, 2012, in Blog, by Vlad Cazan

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.


 

30 Responses to “My CNC Experience”

  1. Matt says:

    So, how did it perform? Can you email me some images?

    Cheers

    Matt

  2. Arman says:

    How are you finding the CNC machine now. I too have seen the ones that you’re taking about and remain curious as how well they will cut through aluminium.

    Can you tell us how accurate is your cnc and whether you recommend buying it?

  3. Brian says:

    Now that you’ve had this machine for a few months, how is it holding up? Did you have to replace anything? How detailed can it get in small areas? Thanks so much for writing your experience. I’m almost ready to buy a CNC machine, but am weighing all the options at this point.

    • Vlad Cazan says:

      It’s been well over half a year since I bought the Cnc machine and I am really really happy with my machine still. I have even making cuts every few weeks now and I have yet to break any major component. The spindle, stepper motors and control board have all been functioning without a single hiccup since setting up.

      The only thing I have broken is spindle bits. I can get about 0.001mm accuracy still.

  4. Balu says:

    You have it for almost 1 year. How do you like it now? If I plan to buy this now, would you recommend it?

    • Vlad Cazan says:

      Machine is still working and I have not replaced any parts since I bought it. Still as strong as I bought it.

      I do clean the cutting bed and make sure all motors are cleans

  5. Raj says:

    Hey, Iv just bought this machine. Any suggestions? i have set it up and have been having some issues while setting it up, but i think it will be up by tonight. Could i have your email so i can shoot with my you questions when they come up…?

    Also could i have the gcode for that chiniese word…?

  6. Ian says:

    Hi

    Just got my cnc 3040 and having trouble setting up 1. I have noticed on one of the axis motors the wire don’t match(colours) when connected. 2. no drivers on the installation disc was installed onto the computer. 3. axis motors are getting really hot when motor is running. 4. missing a cable USB to barrel end to fit next to parallel cable connection.

    They tell me I don’t need the USB cable but I have you tubed it and they say I do need it.

    I wish mine was as easy as your set up but no. Hope you can help me out.

    • Vlad Cazan says:

      Hey Ian,

      You need to use the USB cable to power the logic unit on the board. Motors do generally get warm to the touch when they are running so I dont think you need to worry. If they get too hot you cant hold them for 5 seconds then that may be a problem. Email me at cazanv @ gmail.com and I can help you out.

  7. Tom says:

    Hi,

    I’m having problems with the Spindle… Fist it was working about 5-10minutes and then it stopped… why??

    What can i do to get it going again?

    Thanks!

  8. Demka says:

    Hey, hows it going so far, im waiting delivery on my 3020 model, did you have to replace any wiring on the motors? ive been reading people had to do that after running a couple times..

  9. Tom says:

    Hi,

    Where can i find electrical drawings for the cnc 3040?

    I Have one diod that have burnt out and i need to know what i should do?

    cnc 3040T-DJ and the board YOC-PW3024

    TANKS!!!

  10. Tim Krimm says:

    What about holding the items on the table.
    My 3040 came with a few nuts and flat washer like pieces.
    The table has slots in it and looks like it was made for some type of T nut.

    Where do I buy parts holding equipment?

  11. How is your main motor performing?

    We use ours a fair amount but now we have a bad vibration from the motor and its breaking end mill bits as soon as they touch metal.

  12. Stefan says:

    Gi, I just got my 3040 today, and got it running, but I’m having problem to setup Soft Limits. Can you tell me what your settings are?

  13. Steven says:

    Hello,
    I’ve just bought on of these and I’m learning the hard way.
    It seems that I have to use a 32 bit OS which has been my first stumbling block, I only have 64 bit so I’m sorting that out.

    I’m hoping it’s going to be worth it 🙂

  14. ace says:

    Hi Vlad,

    I have been very interested in getting one of these machines but don’t want to jump straight into it without doing my research.
    at the moment I am getting my head around sketchup (as it is a free programme), what drawing software do you use?
    is there any chance you could send me a couple of pictures of the items you have made just so I can see the finished face?
    how easy is the mach3 software to use?
    also do you remember the company you bought the machine from?

    hope you can help.
    ace

  15. Ray says:

    Are you still milling, I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could help with.
    1) Have you ever upgraded your motor?
    2) Have you even milled Acetal Plastics (like Delrin)?
    3) Did your mill have a height difference from the left side to the right side of the floor bed?
    4) The spindle isn’t interfacing to the Mach3 software so I have no idea how to measure spindle speed, is there an achievable method? I don’t know the specs of the motor that came with this mill.
    Hope you’re still around, the post was awesome. Thanks!
    Ray

  16. John says:

    Hello Vlad,

    I’m having trouble with my CNC router, I think we have the same one, 3020, and it looks the same. I can get the motors running and I am in the testing phase. I’m jogging it using the tab controller on Mach3. It can easily jog forward, but when I jog it backward, it locks, then stops moving. Before it locks, it moves a little bit first then you hear a “locking” sound, then that particular motor stops moving until I press a working motor then it starts working again. I would love to get your email so that if I have further questions we can talk there. I really need this machine to work. (btw I’m only 16, so I have little to no background knowledge about cnc and electronics and stuff like that, I just really found this machine neat)

  17. Agnese says:

    Dear Vlad.
    I have lots of question to You. I would really appreciate if You could help me out. I know it’s been long time ago when you had posted this, but i would be trully grateful if you could contact me via email. Or let me know Your email I could write You. I could pay for Your help if necessary.
    Really hoping to hear from You.
    Best wishes!

  18. Joshua says:

    Awesome write up. I’ve just got mine up and after the 64 bit hickup, I’m now on 32, loaded settings as instructed. Motors get power(lock when unit is on) dro moves on mach3 when I jog it but I get no movement from the machine. A y help would be appreciated. Thank you. Josh [email protected]

  19. Joshua says:

    Awesome write up. I’ve just got mine up, loaded settings as instructed. Motors get power(lock when unit is on) dro moves on mach3 when I jog it but I get no movement from the machine. A y help would be appreciated. Thank you. Josh [email protected]

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