Considering CNC, need some input

Hi Guys,
I’m thinking about getting a CNC machine. I would mostly use it for Aluminum, so my Question’s are:

Will the X-carve handle aluminum blocks of up to 200 mm in height, if the machine gets modifed?

How accurate is it when doing AL? I’m planing on modeling parts that are using bearings, so it needs the accuracy of a pressfit hole and a loose fit.

IF not what would i need to add?

And what is holding it back to be able to cut steel?

Check out this thread; it’s the best aluminum milling I’ve come across using the X-Carve.

The height of the block of aluminum shouldn’t be so much of an issue if your part geometry allows for the spindle to be lowered close to the cutting surface as it works. The support plates for the y-axis have been modified to allow for a greater z-axis travel.

I can’t imagine there is any modification you can do in order to use the X-Carve to cut steel in any serious way. The differences between steel and aluminum milling are too great. Typically, rigidity (stiffness), powerful spindles and drive motors are what more expensive machines have that allow them to mill steel successfully.

thanks for replying =)

People have cut steel w/ Shapeokos, but it’s sub-optimal and burns up tooling.

No 200mm is just short of 8". The Z axis travel is less than 3" The clearance under the gantry is less that 3"

If you want to machine Alu and steel then you need to go to a CNC milling machine. Tormach has just released there new 440 machine aimed at the hobby machinist. Here is a link to there web site.
You are going to have to spend more money if you want to machine that big a piece of Alu.


The rpm of a wood router is simply way to high for cutting steel. I have converted a small X2 milling machine to cnc that happily cuts metal all day long but it was $2000+ Canadian for the mill and the conversion. The work envelope is small and spindle speeds (even with the belt drive conversion that I did) max out at 2500 rpm so engraving and fine detail work is out.