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Author Topic: CNC laser or Carvey?  (Read 1649 times)
steelhips
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« on: January 29, 2016, 07:42:32 am »

Couldn't find any current threads on these machines so I thought I'd start a new one.

Question:
Imagine you have US$3000 but that must include shipping to Australia and a few consumables.  You are not experienced with CAD but understand graphic design programs using vectors.  You want to etch/carve/cut wood(5mm), acrylic and very thin metals (no more than 1mm (gauge?).

Which one would you choose - milling/router or laser?

I'm leaning towards this one: https://www.inventables.com/technologies/carvey although I'm nervous about chewing through drill bits constantly.

Any info greatly appreciated
Michelle
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 11:09:55 am »

I understand the need to cut metals would put a suitable laser well out of your price budget. The Carvey does seem quite appealing....

I must look into it further.

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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2016, 01:26:59 pm »

Without having looked into it yet, I wonder how well does either cut wood without small fraying pieces and how smooth the acrylic can be finished from the devices themselves?
I've seen laser cut/engraved wood and it looks great. Milling solids should be fine, but probably not so much on plys.
Melting acrylic to a consistent smooth texture...?
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 01:31:50 pm »

I have no idea which is the way to go, but interested in learning more. Please keep us informed on your research, decision and final use.
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Inflatable Friend
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2016, 09:12:30 pm »

An decent laser cutter would traditionally set you back a rather filthy amount of money, chatting with the trade show folks at the Rome Maker Faire last year and a machine with a useful amount of power/bed would set you back around €14,000. The same could be said about the traditional costs of a CNC machine.

However, just like the Carvey there are those working to bring us 'desktop' versions of these rather expensive beasties.

I've been half watching Glowforge, a desktop laser cutter/engraver (or 3D laser printer as they brand it), like the Carvey it's still pre-order only so no general reviews available, but worth watching still.

If it's any good, I know I'll probably be getting one (if I don't blow all my creation budget on a Form 2).
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Justin Time
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2016, 03:13:16 pm »

Question:
Imagine you have US$3000 but that must include shipping to Australia and a few consumables.  You are not experienced with CAD but understand graphic design programs using vectors.  You want to etch/carve/cut wood(5mm), acrylic and very thin metals (no more than 1mm (gauge?).


I did a lot of research into what kind of machine to get before I bought my laser cutter.  My 50 watt CO2 laser will NOT cut metal and was $18k (US).  So a laser is most likely not in the running since the metal-cutting ones were over $30k.  It will mark on metal with a special solution, just not cut through it.

I don't know the availability of this in your area, but one of them might do what you're after:
http://www.rockler.com/search/go?asug=&w=cnc%20router&asug=&sli_uuid=?sid=v9105&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=(roi)+rockler+-+brand&utm_content=rockler+cnc+router&utm_term=rockler%20cnc%20router&utm_creative=e

The Glowforge, frankly, looks too good to be true and the reviews of demos at shows (posted on Reddit) are not good.  I did some research on it and I doubt it would last very long with the exposed setup they have.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 03:55:09 pm by Justin Time » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2016, 02:56:24 am »

http://www.geekwire.com/2016/raising-28m-record-crowdfunding-campaign-glowforge-delays-initial-shipments/

Glowforge delays shipping units.
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Inflatable Friend
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2016, 02:26:43 pm »

Shame, but not hugely surprised at that. Sounded to to D to be true.
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2016, 02:48:12 pm »

I've been building a Velleman K8200 3D printer kit over the past few months..... the beauty of this project is that its incredibly "hackable" allowing you to fit a Dremel type rotary tool turning it into a lightweight 3 axis CNC mill, or I'm sure that with a bit of imagination fitting a 4W laz0r isn't that tricky!

So if you think about it for about $3000 (I suspect that you'd have a few bucks change) you get a piece if kit that Prints, Mills and Laz0r cuts!
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2016, 05:04:58 pm »

Have you checked into the xcarve?

www.inventables.com
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Enkidu
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2016, 06:53:44 am »

The xcarve or carvey units look like decent all-in-one units for the money.  I built my own CNC router a few years ago, and though it can be done for alot less than $3k I think I ended up spending more like $6k (or maybe even more, I purposefully did not keep a running tally  Wink ).  At the end I got a hugely capable machine and learned alot about the process, but its not for everyone.  I bought most of my hardware from cncrouterparts.com, which was easy for me since they're somewhat local - no idea what shipping to Australia would be.

I can't speak to the life-expectancy of cutting tools for the Carvey since it looks like it comes with 1/16" bits and I've never used anything that small.  I've gone through several 1/8" cutters where the thing just snaps so it wouldn't surprise me if they just have a tendency to snap off.  I'd use larger bits whenever possible and also use single-flute cutters; one flute means one cut per revolution which gives larger chips, larger chips means less cuts, less heat, and with a single flute it will be easier to get the proper chip size while using a lower feed-rate, which will decrease the lateral load on the cutter.

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Serrac
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2016, 07:04:44 pm »

I would also go for a CNC mill or router over a laser cutter. With a mill, you have the option to do 3D shapes in just about any machinable material. With a laser, you are pretty much limited in what you can cut (burn).

For small cutters, I go for three or four flute carbide as they are much more robust than two flute designs. Light cuts, high spindle speeds, and lots of coolant is the key.

As for the question: Mill or router ? - Think about the largest object you are likely to machine, and then pick a machine to suit. A mill will generally have better accuracy than a router, but a router will be able to cut larger sheets (all be it with limited height)

For example, my mill can "do" 760x370mm with 125mm on the Z axis and another 395mm on the knee and up to 450Kgs in weight.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 07:11:58 pm by Serrac » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2016, 01:49:32 am »


EDIT: oh.... "Inflatable Friend" already posted it!! LOL!!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 01:51:04 am by Prof. Convict Archfiend » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2016, 06:44:35 pm »

I would also go for a CNC mill or router over a laser cutter. With a mill, you have the option to do 3D shapes in just about any machinable material. With a laser, you are pretty much limited in what you can cut (burn).

For small cutters, I go for three or four flute carbide as they are much more robust than two flute designs. Light cuts, high spindle speeds, and lots of coolant is the key.

As for the question: Mill or router ? - Think about the largest object you are likely to machine, and then pick a machine to suit. A mill will generally have better accuracy than a router, but a router will be able to cut larger sheets (all be it with limited height)

For example, my mill can "do" 760x370mm with 125mm on the Z axis and another 395mm on the knee and up to 450Kgs in weight.

Also- you could mount a suitable laser on the mill, and add lasergraving functions too (diode, as the tube type might prove unwieldy...).

HP
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Serrac
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2016, 07:53:28 pm »

Also- you could mount a suitable laser on the mill, and add lasergraving functions too

\you could also mount a 3D print head and create all sorts of intricate shapes. Some of those filament extruders are quite compact.
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steelhips
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2016, 07:48:36 am »


Thanks to everyone!  You've given me valuable information and some different perspectives.  I recently looked at what's happening with the Carvey finally being crated for deliveries.  It's been a disaster apparently with the first machines broken and completely trashed in early transit.  So they have hired a packaging engineer.  I bet that wasn't included in the Kickstarter price! 

I've adjusted my own expectations of being able to cut metal with either a milling or laser machine.  I'd still like it to be able to etch a light pattern on metal using a fine (gauge 70) drill bits.

Improvements and innovation (not to mention price) is happening month to month on these machines so I'll keep checking on reviews (and progression).  Now I've just got to keep selling my wares so I can afford it!
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2016, 09:08:57 am »

As an aside, and seeing as it's a maker machine, Mattel recently announced they're going to be selling a $300 3D printer later in the year.

Might be useful either on its own or as a means to make bits for building your own CNC mill. Science knows I thought having a 3D printer would have saved me many hours of stress when I was building my printer!

Mattel Thingmaker information
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Serrac
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2016, 01:00:14 am »

Or if you like playing with your food (and have the money to spend), there is the Foodini.
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Justin Time
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2016, 05:23:35 pm »

I would also go for a CNC mill or router over a laser cutter. With a mill, you have the option to do 3D shapes in just about any machinable material. With a laser, you are pretty much limited in what you can cut (burn).

That's true to a great extent, but I have seen (and done) some relief carving-type burns with the laser.  Shades of gray burn to different depths, so a grayscale graphic can actually produce a somewhat 3D effect.

But for the price difference alone, CNC router is the way to go.

JIT
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