I’m in need of a CNC in my small shop, but price is a big consideration. I have spent awhile looking at all the options and it seems that the X-Carve may be what I need, at least to start. Looking for some help deciding on this machine. How accurate are the cuts and the 3D carving? How difficult is the learning curve to become proficient? Routine maintenance suggestions etc. Also, for those that have the J Tech Laser on their X-Carve. Same questions
Thanks for any and all info!
Oh yeah, tips for convincing the wife that this is a necessary purchase would be nice LOL
I may have to make a sign that says this
I’ve been on here for a couple days searching, just haven’t found the info that I’m looking for. I own my own wood shop, one man operation, but as far as shop space I’ve got more than enough. One thing I DON’T have is internet access in my shop. so that puts Easel out ( not sure I could use easel for what I need to do anyway.
What software are most people running on their machine? what about tutorials for setting cut rate, plunge rate etc. Honestly, I’m pretty convinced now… I see this machine in my near future, especially since I saw the posts about the J-Tech laser
There’s a list of machines at http://www.reddit.com/r/hobbycnc/wiki/index — some of them have links to reviews, and there are a few machines which don’t use cloud software
List of Comm / Control software at https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Communication_/_Control
It’s pretty accurate when set up properly. The accuracy specs are on the X-Carve home page (where you go to buy it they list the tolerance). The X-Carve is like the Jeep Wrangler of CNC routers… There are TONS of upgrades and modifications you can make to the X-Carve to make it better and fit you needs better.
As a woodworker yourself already… once you get your X-Carve (which you’re going to do) square the heck out of everything. I’m not a woodworker and that’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned.
And as for your wife… when you ask for forgiveness later (which you’re going to have to do when you buy it without her permission) just hand her a beautiful gift you made for her with the X-Carve… she won’t know what to say.
Learning curve wasn’t steep for me… again, Im not a woodworker. The forum has been a great repository of information. Everyone is very helpful but make sure you use the search function first… seems to fire some folks up when you don’t.
Software wise, Easel at the moment is only going to let you design 2D and kinda 2.5D stuff. There’s a trick to using it in a shop without internet access… search for it on the forum for more info. There’s Autodesk’s Fusion360 which is a fairly complete and free for hobby work. It’ll do your 3D work. Search again for more info. For V-Carving there’s F-Engrave, again free, again search. And then there’s all sorts of other software for all sorts of other stuff that works too (no lack of software).
Routine maintenance… always check for square. Always check your V-wheels, always check your belts, and always check your set screws. Flatten your wasteboard with a bit on a regular basis (I plan on doing mine quarterly). Use sharp bits. Use HSS starting out, switch to carbide when you’re dialed in. Blue LocTite is your best friend. He’s also on the forum.
I don’t have a laser… I want one, future upgrade for me. I still have plenty to get on with with what I’ve got.
So when you buy it (which you’re going to do today) make sure you come back, ask questions, and post pictures of your shop and builds!
And welcome! Enjoy the ride!