I Want a CNC Machine

by Octapoo

Monday, June 15, 2020 at 10:02:00 UTC

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I kind of want to get one of these: (unclickable link follows)

A note from the future: This listing no longer exists, but if you search "3018 CNC" you will find many similar listings on eBay and Amazon.

I've been watching a lot of videos about this machine. From what I can tell, they can carve wood OK, albeit rather slowly for a CNC mill, and can kind of carve aluminum, though even slower and kind of sloppy, and apparently they can draw pictures with the laser, but not really cut anything with it. However, I can make flat shapes with my 3D printer. Indeed, 3D printers excel at making flat shapes, though they can only make them out of plastic. Also, I can make nice line drawings with my 2D printer, though only on paper. So in these regards the machine is more about having a few more choices about material and not really about allowing me to do anything new.

About the only thing I really expect it could be useful for is making PCBs, but even there I imagine myself having to write a lot of software first. I haven't found any evidence of people using these things in Linux, and the software that comes with them is only for Windows, and apparently a trial version too which won't let you do much more than what the included test files do. What's more, even the Windows software I see people using, I'm not fond of how it wants to cut PCBs by simply cutting outlines around traces and pads rather than taking an approach that only makes the number of cuts necessary, effectively widening the traces to fill all of the gap between traces, so I'm sure I'd end up wasting a lot of time trying to come up with some way to do that.

So, IDK. I'm hardly convinced I need this thing but it could turn out to be really useful and if nothing else would give me something to do for a while.


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