Gauging Interest in the CNC Machine

Since we may be contracting 3rd party to make PCBs and supply parts for the CNC, I'd like to gauge how much real interest there is in buying one of these machines, when we're done.

Keep in mind that this is not a commitment, just think to yourself to see how serious you would be, and comment yay or nay.

Update June 8th, 20122:

Ok, just counting heads.  So far it's 17 people.  Let me know if I missed anyone.

My personal budget for this is $1000-$1200, so any higher, and I'm out, but of course would continue to do my best to get this done for everyone!

Here's a list of "yays" so far (again no commitment assumed):

Dany Thivierge 
 Ellison Chan
 Kevin Bouchard 
Eric Tweet
 John C. 
 924aussie Alan
Dave C
 Nick Joyce
 Andrew Adams

Drive System Survey

Franco Scipioni has set up a survey to gauge interest in which system we want to have on the system.

Access the survey here:

To summarize:

Servo System:

  • has rotational encoders to allow exact motor control
  • position encoders, so that tool head can be positioned precisely
  • uses DC motors
  • requires development or use of a custom circuit board to drive the motors
  • more expensive solution

Stepper System

  • no rotational encoders, so will not allow exact motor control
  • position encoders, may still be possible
  • uses stepper motors
  • no custom circuit boards needed, motor systems easily available
  • cheaper than servo system

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  • I'm not really clear on the status of the board design effort.  Do we estimate a long timeframe for development and production of a working servo motor control board?  If so, I personally, might lean toward buying some existing boards at a higher cost if it meant getting a CNC machine sooner.  However, writing firmware for a created board is actually something I could help with, but how many people want this option?  Do we have a count of how many people are interested in Stepper motors vs. Servo motors?  Is there an easy upgrade path if we went with stepper motors now and servo motors later?  Do we have an estimage (small vs big machine) of costs without electronics and stepper motors?


    My personal 'fear' is parallel ports -- only because they are not widely available and in many cases, I've not seen reliable adapters for them.  My ultimate goal would be wireless, or serial or USB (which I know can both be reliably adapted to wireless).  That being the case, I don't want to make waves when adapter wise, where this is a will, there is a way (out there somewhere... and it's likely a matter of simply finding it) --- I just like some of the more modern forms of data transmission.  ;)


    I agree with one of the earlier posts that it would be good to firm up the software options (as this determines some of connection / communication constraints).  Does anyone know the pros and cons of the various CNC software available? 

    Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions. 


  • Sounds great. I'll volunteer to be the accountant, and keep track of funds sent to Monroe, or whomever is needing the money. We'll have to work out the logistics.  Maybe we can start a discussion for keeping track of the contributions, where I can post balance sheets.

  • I'll contribute to the test fund too! And I like Monroe's idea to keep a running balance sheet. 

  • Please count me in. I would be willing to make an initial contribution of $50.00 to assist in purchasing parts for test. I would suggest there be monthly dues to support this fine effort, maybe $10/month.

    Cornelius Eastman

    Anchorage, AK

  • Distributor

    Ok, Back from vacation! :)  Happy to see that we are making progress in the CNC area.  Slow but still the project is still alive.   Monroe, did you start to build the prototype following Kevin drawings?  Would love to see the wood version of it!  

    When do we need to make a decision on the control boards and other parts?  Let's pick something and move on, I see too many projects always waiting for the perfect planet alignment and never getting done.  I appreciate all the inputs and hard work that was put in this so far but I want us to be able to have something before end of the year.  Would be nice to be able to craft stuff for holiday season! hehe

  • An interesting project and you can count me as another IN.

    Have been looking at something like this for a while as a workshop need but the cheap ones on line are just that.

    If this thing will be capable of doing light alloys, then it has real uses.

  • Count me in. I have a Hermes Vanguard 7000 that I am currently working on.

    Cornelius Eastman

    Anchorage, Alaska

  • Having done some more research on current CNC systems, I'm really looking forward to this system.  Anything I can do to help.  I have a little CAD experience (solidworks / autodesk), solid C programming skills, and some electrical engineering experience.

  • Ok Ellison,

    There has been no repsonse to my email from the fellow listed in the frame with the SMD UHU pcb. I am not sure how long we should wait and suspect the Gerber files in question were given up to public domain by this time. There was not a disclaimer on the page regarding maunfacturing rights. I am still plodding along with Eagle and getting better but the issue again is having the device package needed to be correct when the program is asked to make a pcb.

    On the other hand, do you think your contacts could use a 'rough' Eagle schematic of the UHU? If they polish it up, it is better than starting with a blank screen.

  • Very interesting project, count me in.

    My current preference is a 24x24 work area or less for PCB isolation routing/milling, and anthing else it can do.

    I am considering a light steel moving platten on  ground bar rails and linear bearings in own trucks on steel fabricated base frame, with bolted on three piece steel gantry with ground bar rails. Z axis steel?aluminum transition plates with ground bar rails. Trapezoidal screws, DC brushed motors (ex auto). Controls, buy or assemble on proven PCB. 

    Is the project a goer regarding the electronics and programming ?  A well written set up manual will be critical.

    Time for a options matrix of component costs ?

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