Looking to purchase a used CNC machine near Chicago

Hello fellow CNC enthusiasts!

I have a problem: I don’t have a CNC machine, and it’s killing me.

I’m obsessed with machining, machine building, and just about anything that involves automated systems that make things. This ailment has caused me to switch careers from being a ship’s engineer (and as of late Captain) to pursuing CNC work as employment. Now most would say that working in your hobby field is one way to kill that passion, but for me this is not the case. I wanted to play with fancy machines, software, and tooling that I simply could not afford to own, or even rent: so I got a job at a plastic injection mold-making company here Chicago (well, Melrose Park technically). Thus far I’ve got to program and operate a Kuraki KBT-13DX (3-axis horizontal boring machine with a rotating non-active 4th axis table rated to 20,00lbs) and a Makino v56 (accurate to two-tenths), which are vastly different and unique machines. Down the line we’ve got 5-axis Italian FPT’s, a Hermle, a brand-new DMG, plus a slew of 3-axis machines, sinker and wire EDMs, and a few graphite mills. I’m in a total CNC-nerd heaven.

But I can’t get enough. When I’m at home, my precious couple of hours not spent hanging out with my wife and dog are spent gnashing my teeth over the fact that I don’t have a home mill to experiment and learn with. I keep a notebook at work of things I want to research and try off the clock, but so much of it is limited by simply not having a machine to use at home.

I’ve been drooling over the Pocket NC (USA-made 5-axis beast), the Evo One (gnarly Italian step-brother of the Nomad 883), and the Mini Raptor (USA-made ball-screw/profile-rail gantry router), but in reality all three of those machines are far outside of my budget at this point in life (new city, wife in grad school, new job in a new industry, crushing student debt).

So I’ve taken to obsessively scouring Craigslist, this Inventables For-Sale forum, and the Shapeoko Classifieds website for something more within my means.

I’ve also looked into building my own machine, but after completing a BOM that gets me a halfway-decent GT2/G-Shield/V-wheel/decent-spindle setup, I’ve either met or exceeded the price of an X-carve or similar. So there goes that idea.

Anywho, I spent a lot of time building RC multirotors, helicopters, airplanes, and boats over the last couple of years, and I have lots of un-used stuff hanging around that I’d certainly be willing to get rid of if I knew somebody wanted any of it, and my thought is that perhaps some of you with a longer CNC history than me might have an unused machine laying around that you’d like to see go to a new home?

Of course I’m willing to pay a fair prices for said machine based on it’s condition and my needs, but generally I’m not looking for anything bigger than a 1000mm unit, and currently I only have $594 in my personal discretionary spending account and would still like to have a few bucks leftover to buy some cutters. Also, as one last factor, I’m a bit too much of a purest to consider anything with a frame made out of MDF or similarly loosey-goosey material, unless it’s dirt cheap.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts/suggestions/offerings! : )


Forest Park, Illinois

Items for trade/trade+cash, in addition to just out-right cash:

  • Nikon VR 70-200mm f2.8G lens (and Aquatech weather shield with eyecup for D300)
  • Nikon 50mm f1.4D AF-D prime lens
  • Lowepro Velocity 8x SLR Camera sling bag
  • Canon G10 digital camera with WP-DC28 underwater housing
  • Aluminum extrusion (square profie, not thin tube) autopoles x2 for photography - (89"-146", collapsed to fully extended)
  • Esky Belt CP brushless 450-size CCPM RC helicopter
  • Multiplex Shark RC airplane with Seaplane hull attachment
  • Faretec CT-6 Carbon-fiber leg fracture traction splint (EMT stuff)
  • PowerTank 10lb Polished Aluminum CO2 off-road tire/air system with regulator, roll cage brackets, and hose (plus a 90% full tank of CO2).

If I remember correctly, Inventables is headquartered in the Chicago area. You might just have to call their customer service line.

Yeah, I doubt it too! I’d actually prefer a used machine anywho, as I’m not entirely enthused with the new X-controller (perfectly fine for most, it’s just fancier than I want pay for) or paying out the nose for the “new car smell.” With components so modular and relatively cheap when dealing with V-wheel/GT2 machines, there isn’t a huge amount to go wrong with a used unit. Plus I’m a bit of a value-loving tree-hugger, and also not flush with cash. : )

Yes, I suppose, for the right person. I’m a tinkerer though, and I plan on doing some 4th axis stuff down the road and would be swapping out the controller for something that can slave a 4th axis, so the extra cost associated with Inventables version of a Gshield just seems like a poor use of my limited resources. In my perfect world somebody would be looking to get rid of the latest version of the X-carve minus the X-controller, or an older X-carve with the hardware upgrades. But on the plus-side, my 70-200mm Nikon lens has two bids on Ebay with 5 hours left, so my budget might be doubling today! : )

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it!