Hi Rickard, based on reading this entire thread, I’m inclined to answer your question in the affirmative; the X-Carve would be a good choice for you.
But first, in response to your December 18 post…You are going to want a dedicated computer to run the machine, whatever you buy. A computer crash during a carve will ruin your day and if you are trying to do something else in the background, the likelihood of crashing the computer running the machine is a lot higher. However, you don’t need much of a computer to run any CNC machine. You can probably find something on the used market well able to manage. I run one of my X-Carves on a laptop I bought 12 years ago, using Linux.
Design is different. You are going to want a robust computer to do the design work.
IF you are already quite skilled at CAD, or you have a substantial block of time that you are prepared to devote to learning CAD and CNC machining in general, AND you are completely confident that you know exactly what you want to do and have the budget and the knowledge to specify, construct, and commission the ultimate CNC machine that you want, then you might want to ignore the rest of this.
However, I would suggest that for a rank beginner, an X-Carve machine is an economical entry level machine that will meet your beginner needs, pay for itself, train you for more advanced CNC work, and continue to support you until it makes enough to pay for it’s replacement. The X-Carve may be all the CNC machine you ever need, but if not, it will give you the knowledge, the skill, and the income to specify, purchase, and integrate a much larger, more powerful, capable and more sophisticated machine if you decide you’ve outgrown the X-Carve. Further, the capabilities of that more powerful machine WILL increase for the next several years, and its price will decrease.
I say this as the purchaser and educator/administrator of THREE X-carve machines in the last 4-1/2 years. Only now am I beginning to feel the limitations of my X-Carve machines, but not acutely enough that I am feeling any need to buy a different machine. In the meanwhile, income from my first machine paid for my second, along with two 3d printers. I specified and ordered the third machine for a maker space that I help manage at a local university.
Here are my reasons:
For the basic 2-1/2D tasks you are talking about, Easel is a great learning environment that will get you making things quite quickly and at low cost. As a complete beginner with all things CAD, I made my first income producing project 36 hours after I had my machine up and running.
When you build your X-Carve, the construction itself is an associate’s degree in CNC operations. You will understand how the machine works and be well able to troubleshoot, tweak and tune your machine to a very high degree of accuracy.
As your skills advance, you will be able to use EASEL as a G-Code sender to make more advanced projects designed in more sophisticated CAD programs. I’ve successfully carved designs generated from S-CAD, TinkerCAD, Fusion 360, SketchUp, Inkscape and other graphic design programs.
As your skills mature, you will have a much clearer idea of what CNC can do as well as what you WANT or need it to do. This will have a bearing on the type and size of the machine you will decide to buy. You will also have a better idea of how to integrate CNC into your other shop operations, and this in turn will affect how you arrange your shop.
Although you may outgrow the capabilities of the X-Carve machine, for the uninitiated CNC user, that time is probably later rather than sooner. If you do out grow it, you are probably going to want capabilities and capacities that are beyond what you can imagine right now, and also beyond your current budget. If I’d had unlimited funds five years ago, I would have bought the wrong machine. I’m only vaguely considering another new machine now, but the machines I am now considering didn’t exist then, and they are better, cheaper, and more capable than the most advanced machine I could imagine when I began my CNC adventures.
Whatever you decide, have fun with it and enjoy your shop time!