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Which size CNC to get

11/7/18       
Puzzleman Member

Well, I am planning on buying a new cnc beginning of next year. Now I am wondering if I should get a different size that what I have.

Products that I make are Name Puzzles, Puzzle Stools, Toy Boxes, Monograms and other small items. The largest thing that I make is 24" by 24".

I currently have 2 machines with a 4 x 8 bed. I will replace one of them next year. I am considering going with 3 each of the 2' x 4' machines from Camaster. The three of them will fit in the same footprint as my current machine. Will be able to produce quicker as I will have 3 running at the same time. Will move a little slower than my current machine as I currently have a spindle with 7 hp. The smaller ones come with a max of a 4 hp spindle. But overall it will be quicker.

A concern is the durability of these smaller size machines. I will be running them 8 hours / day, 5 days / week. During the holiday season, 10 hrs / day, 6 days / week. The wood that I will be primarily cutting is 1" thick 16 ply sheet goods. Will I be overworking these machines?

What is your opinion?

11/7/18       #2: Which size CNC to get ...
Dropout Member

No wonder you killed the Gerbers.

What feed rate and depth of cut are you running?

I'm cutting 21mm baltic birch in one pass at 750 IPM with a 2 flute 3/8 chipbreaker compression spiral, but on a big heavy machine.

11/7/18       #3: Which size CNC to get ...
Puzzleman Member

I am cutting 1 pass on the frames with a 3/16 upcut 2 flute spiral at 300 ipm.

With the letters I am using the same bit but at 250 ipm with a final cut of 0.05" at 350 ipm.

Run about 22,000 inches of cutting per day.

11/8/18       #4: Which size CNC to get ...
james e mcgrew Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

Sounds like you already know your answers, the Camasters will handle the load, they once built on with a single gantry, head on each side for a carpet sample company, it too was 2 feet by 6 and had one side cutting while the other being loaded, off loaded

11/8/18       #5: Which size CNC to get ...
james e mcgrew Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

And consider 4 x 4 and run onside while other is load unload

11/8/18       #6: Which size CNC to get ...
Puzzleman Member

My longest cutting time is with the letters which are on boards that are 12" wide. That is why I was thinking about the 2' x 4' Stinger model. Currently I make the letter boards 8' long but they can easily be cut to 4' without a problem. We would be able to cut on one side and offload on the other with the smaller machines. In reality, the ideal size would be 2' x 8' for a machine for my purposes.

I have my sheet good cut to smaller sizes so we don't do any ripping or cross cutting of boards.

My concern is that the smaller Stinger machines would be able to keep up with the work I am doing without replacing in about 4 - 5 years. I run the machines hard. I was thinking that having at least 3 and possibly up to 6 smaller machines would be better than 2 large machines. Able to keep more cutting going as 6 heads running instead of 2.

11/8/18       #7: Which size CNC to get ...
james e mcgrew Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

This machine (my 5th of 6 Camasters) has run daily since 2012, No breakdowns of any kind other than operator error,

CAMaster hasd s support forum with a good 2-300 on it at any time and thousands who have the machines, company tech support is life time and all parts are generally available in 24hours or less


View higher quality, full size image (2320 X 1305)


View higher quality, full size image (2320 X 1305)


View higher quality, full size image (2320 X 1305)

11/8/18       #8: Which size CNC to get ...
Tom Gardiner

If you are doing multiples of the same shapes why not consider multiple spindles on the gantry? I suggest you send your production requirements to potential machine suppliers and see what they will build for you.

11/8/18       #9: Which size CNC to get ...
BH Davis  Member

I was thinking along the same lines as Tom. However you have 2 options:

1) A single moving gantry with 2 heads cutting 2 copies of the same design

2) Two gantrys on a single table potentially cutting 2 different designs.

....or even a third option actually: 2 gantrys each on 2 heads. This would give you 4 heads cutting simultaneously.........2 of which are cutting one design while the other 2 could be cutting a different design.

While I'm not saying you should do this it might be worth looking into as an initial machine cost savings and more efficient use your floor space.

Any custom machine maker should be able to work out a cost for this. I know CNT Motion is capable of making this sort of machine.

BH Davis

11/12/18       #10: Which size CNC to get ...
Puzzleman Member

The idea of the two heads cutting the same design at once is a great idea. Unfortunately, the puzzles that I make are personalized, so each one is different.

Since each one is different, that is why I was looking at the smaller machines.

Does any one have them?
Will they stand up to the work that I will be doing with them?
I don't want hobby type machines.

11/12/18       #11: Which size CNC to get ...
Hen Bob Member

Is there any software/machine out there that will let you pendulum process on a flat table like you can do on a Pod & Rail? or a twin table machine.. I would lead to a more substantial machine given the choice

11/14/18       #12: Which size CNC to get ...
Puzzleman Member

What do you mean by "Pendulum Process"? Have not heard of this term before.

11/14/18       #13: Which size CNC to get ...
Hen Bob Member

On our old Pod & Rail had 4 zones, we could be machining a part on left zone while loading the right zone. Once the left was done it would go to the right zone and start. Then unload left and load new piece.. Repeat as many times as you want. It could be different files on left and right as well.

11/14/18       #14: Which size CNC to get ...
BH Davis  Member

That "pendulum" method should be able to be done on most any machine by creating a base file that first calls up and runs one puzzle file, then changes the X,Y coordinates to the new location and then calls up and runs the second file. Looping it should also be available in the G-code capabilities of the control software.

BH Davis

11/15/18       #15: Which size CNC to get ...
Puzzleman Member

Yes. We do Pendulum Processing. Didn't know the process had a name.

We use 12" wide boards to cut our letters from. So while one is running, the other board is being set up. Because we use 12" wide boards on a 48" wide bed, we only effectively use half of the table. That is why I am considering the 2 foot wide table. I would use 100% of the table top and could have 3 machines running in the place of 1.

Then my production would be at least 2 times faster and potentially 3 times faster by using the smaller machines.

What is scary to me is that I would be going to smaller machines instead of larger ones. Seems to me that as volume increases, everyone goes to a bigger machine. I am thinking of going to smaller machines and having more of them running all at the same time.

11/15/18       #16: Which size CNC to get ...
BH Davis  Member

Puzzleman,

No one knows your business like you do. It is neither strange or wrong to go to a machine that best fits your needs regardless of whether it is smaller or larger.

I would just say to make sure you can maintain the feed rates you are getting out of your current machines. My guess is you'll have no trouble doing that. But double check the new machine specs as it would be a shame to double the bed capacity only to discover that you've cut in half the throughput due to a 50% slower feed rate.

Good luck,
BH Davis

11/15/18       #17: Which size CNC to get ...
james e mcgrew Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

One of the largest Guitar manufacturers canned large machines years ago and installed smaller Camasters with dual end use and doubled production and cut cost

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