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CNC in the garage?

Discussion in 'CNC IN THE HOME SHOP' started by dweed1531, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. dweed1531

    dweed1531 United States Iron Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I just graduated from school in Machining. I have a lot more to learn. I am still looking for a job. Jobs for a machinist are very hard to find where I live. I have been in retail my whole life and decided on a career change.

    My 2 goals, to make various random nic nac things. Also to keep my basic CNC understanding up what I learned in school. I am worried I will forget stuff and that will hurt me in a interview. I don't want to be at a job and go "Wait what was that I learned 2 months ago".

    I could afford payments of 200$ a month or 3,000$ in cash. I am looking for a single phase vertical mill that can help me with my 2 goals. I can't see myself using anything bigger than 5x5 or 6x6 stock.

    I have been looking at the Taig mill.
    http://www.taigtools.com/cmill.html

    We used Fanuc controllers on a couple of HAAS lathes and Mills. A lot of places around me use the same set up. So I would like to find a controller in a CNC mill that will help keep me up with the G and M Code. I have been doing a lot or research. It seems a lot of mills use Mach3 or Tormach's new Pathpilot. Will such programs help me or hinder me?

    If anyone has any advice or guidance. It will definitely be appreciated.

    Thank you,
     
    brino likes this.
  2. shooter123456

    shooter123456 United States Active Member Active Member

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    Hi!

    Full disclosure, I have never purchased a CNC machine before, I converted one. I personally think that Taig Mill is seriously lacking in performance for that price.

    Here is my machine:
    [​IMG]
    It is an X2 mill with the following components:
    Belt Drive Kit
    Nacchi Angular Contact Bearings
    1605 Ball Screws
    400oz-in motors on all 3 axes
    Column brace

    The total cost for everything is around $1200 which leaves a lot of money in your budget for tooling and extras. My machine can rapid at 300 IPM and has the same resolution as the Taig listed. My mill also weighs in around 130 lbs vs that 85lbs.

    The key difference is if you went the same route I went, it would be more work doing the conversion instead of plug and play like the Taig. One of the classic time vs money things. If you have more time than money, converting is the way to go. If you have the cash but are short on time, a turn key system would be the way to go.

    As for your 2 goals, both machines would be able to acheive them. Just to give you a little idea what a simple X2 conversion is capable of, here are a few things I have made recently.

    A motor plate for a 2 HP treadmill motor. This was made so the treadmill motor could replace the stock motor.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A couple carbide insert holders.
    [​IMG]

    A bishop for a chess set I am making my dad.
    [​IMG]

    So making little nic nacs is easily done. As for keeping up with the code, I can't comment about the other controls or what it would help you practice with, but I can tell you about what I use which is LinuxCNC. As far as I know, it is kind of like a less refined version of Path Pilot. The interface isn't as polished, but the code is very similar (again, may be wrong, but I believe Path Pilot is based on LinuxCNC). The big win for LinuxCNC is that it is free and open source so it doesn't take away from the machine's budget and there is a ton of support for it.

    Also, one of the biggest things doing a conversion did for me was teach me not to be afraid of the machine because I know it inside and out now. I know every single component, what it is supposed to do, and what it sounds like when that component isn't working right. Buying a turnkey machine, you don't get that knowledge of your machine as easily.

    So the TL;DR: I think you can get a lot more machine for the money if you convert a small manual mill in that price range. I think thats the best route if you have the time and desire. I would also look at used machines online. I have seen some awesome deals on craigslist before.

    Maybe that was just a bunch of rambling, but I hope it helps at least a bit.
     
    TomS, brino and francist like this.
  3. Karl_T

    Karl_T United States Active User Active Member

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    My two cents, if you want a job in industry, get a machine with an industrial control. You have to watch auctions, craig's list etc. but they are out there. I just bought a vectrax CNC knee mill with a working Fanuc 0 M control for $2000.

    Mach is a great hobbyist control but its quite a bit different than something like a Fanuc.

    Pay and openings in the CNC industry is all about your knowledge level. If you are just a "green button pusher" openings are slim and the pay is low. OTOH if you are a super skilled CNC machinist that can do minor repairs, program changes, new setups, etc. its a super field to work in with incredible job demand.
     
    JimDawson likes this.
  4. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    G and M codes have not really changed very much in the 50 years since MIT developed it. Having said that, each controller has it's own little quirks and some codes that are specific to that controller, with a format of Gx.xx. Fanuc is pretty much an industry standard, but all controllers don't use all of the Fanuc conventions. You normally find the differences in the canned cycle operations, but for the most part they are all the same. Keep in mind, you could cut a very complex part using only G01 moves and nothing else. Not very efficient, but possible.

    Now having your own machine to increase your skills is a good thing, and besides it's fun. If you have the room, you might find a full sized knee mill to be more useful, may actually be able to find one for less money than the Taig mill. At least that way it would be a bit closer to the heavy industrial machines you would find in the commercial shops, and thus a bit more real world experience.

    It's not really about learning/remembering G & M codes, it's more about learning what a machine will do and every machine is different.

    Best of luck :)
     
    brino and jbolt like this.
  5. dweed1531

    dweed1531 United States Iron Registered Member

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    Where did you purchase it?

    Sorry, didn't see the other posts till just now.

    Thank you for your guys input. It's just really frustrating to let time pass by and not continue learning without someone hiring you..
     
  6. shooter123456

    shooter123456 United States Active Member Active Member

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    You have had a few people respond so its hard to tell who you are talking to. If you click "Reply" by that particular response, it will keep things straight and alert that member, like this.
     
  7. dweed1531

    dweed1531 United States Iron Registered Member

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    Both please. I am interested in both aspects on how to tackle this dilemma
     
  8. shooter123456

    shooter123456 United States Active Member Active Member

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    For my machine, here is a parts list and the prices I paid:

    HF 44991 Mill - $550 shipped https://www.harborfreight.com/two-speed-variable-bench-mill-drill-machine-44991.html

    2 550mm ballscrews and 1 300mm ballscrew - $167 shipped - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zyltech-Ant...111302?hash=item4af848f706:g:jQMAAOSw2x1XL6Wx

    3 400 oz in motors - $100 shipped - http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Ship-Nem...634897?hash=item35f78f5e91:g:1tcAAOSwyQtVmybn

    3 TB6600 Stepper Drivers - $45 shipped - https://www.amazon.com/SMAKN-Upgrad...qid=1497898550&sr=8-4&keywords=stepper+driver

    Breakout board - $7 shipped - http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Mach3-C...075812?hash=item44023925e4:g:6D4AAOSwKytZMjI5

    Waterproof aviation connectors - $9 shipped - http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-Pairs-Av...ffType=OrderSubTotalOffer&_trksid=p5731.m3795

    2 48V 10A PS - $80 shipped - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Power-Suppl...hash=item5410a53321:m:m3Im8YrHpSwVL1BBc7Zn_zQ

    The angular contact bearings were an ebay buy but they were $25 each - $50

    Column brace - $15 in materials

    Belt drive kit - $150 shipped - http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=2560

    Total: $1173

    The control computer was purchased on craigslist for $60 and LinuxCNC was installed. I use an old 17" monitor I found in my parents attic, similar ones are $20 or less on craigslist. Mouse and keyboard were the same deal, but thats about $20 right there.

    Tooling also needs to be considered. Over time it tends to build up but tooling/accessories I have are as follows:

    3" toolmakers vise: $60 shipped

    Various endmills - $150 (over 2 years now)

    1-2-3 Blocks - $15

    Clamping kit - $60

    Parallels - $30

    Calipers - $20

    Dial indicator and holder - $30

    Dial test indicator - $25

    Surface plate - $50

    Thats about what I use regularly and would get you started.
     
    brino likes this.
  9. Groundhog

    Groundhog United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    This is my machine. It is a Syil X4+ that I bought used for $2,500. I built the stand, leveling system, enclosure and flood cooling system (probably $500), moved the electronics and bought a refurbished XP computer ($100). I had some tooling & vises from a previous HF mini mill. But have add a lot of tooling over the 5 years that I've had it.
    It runs Mach3 but you can write your own G codes, use CAM produced G code (VisualMill) and edit the CAM produced G code. Mach3 G code is much like other popular controller G codes with just a few differences. Differences that you probably will seldom run across and are easy to find documentation about should you need it.
    If I could do it over again I would probably go for a larger and more robust CNC mill. Tormach might be a starting point. A used commercial mill would be nice, but they are usually either expensive or worn out. However, this mill does a good job and I am happy with it.

    mill 1a.jpg
     
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  10. westsailpat

    westsailpat United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    dweed , hi . If you want a hobby machine and can spare the cash that would be fun . But if you want a serious career in the machining world I would suggest looking at large companies in the aero-space world , like Boeing and such . Good luck Bro. !
     
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  11. DaveD

    DaveD United States Active User Active Member

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    Another 2 cents worth....
    Buy something and start making chips. A while back, (9 months?) I think you were asking about mills to buy. Still no mill? You don't want to be asking those same questions 9 months from now.

    If you are aggressive your 6 month machining course may get you in the door. Is an employer going to turn you loose on his multi hundred thousand dollar CNC? Probably not until you prove to them you are half way competent and at least won't crash the machine.

    I read your budget and I think you should at least double it and add a lathe to the mix. You don't necessarily want to tell a future employer you only have experience on a mill and can't answer his questions about lathe work

    Forget the nic nac stuff. Make something that will potentially impress a employer.
    Simple to complex turning cubes come to mind.
    How about a running model steam engine or locomotive?
    Something you can carry around in a shoe box.
    How about a chess set? Although that's generally lathe territory.
    Go find a wooden model kit of something and make it out of brass, stainless, aluminum and steel.

    Take whatever you make (your best couple of pieces) along with a loose leaf binder of the code you used to make each part to your interview.

    Where you interview will influence how you present ourself. Production, job shop, small runs, big runs, fix anything that comes in the door?
    What are your aspirations for the future? Maybe even start out in some small repair shop at a ski lodge.

    Good luck.
     
  12. countryguy

    countryguy United States Active User Active Member

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    Hoss site would be a great place for you to hang out and look over ideas. The guy has done some amazing things with the X2 and G0704. The x2's converted and CNC ready do pop up on CraigsList. Same w/ G0704's. http://www.hossmachine.info/cnc_conversion.html

    I also found a mill to refurb later on via bidspotter.com as I quickly outgrew my 3:1 machine. Auctions will allow you to afford far more machine dollar for dollar. 3/4th or more of my Shop all came from Bidspotter auctions. Watch and ask Q's here. we can check out machines you are interested in. The rub is that you'll need to bring it all home. Truck and a trailer. Winches and come-alongs. We all started like you and found out a 2 Ton lathe fits really well in the Garage alongside your full size CNC 1 or 1.5 ton milling machine. Just make sure the Wifes car gets the open spot and your ride gets snowed on!
     

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