Good Hobby CNC Machine


I'm thinking seriously about getting a CNC.  Been browsing on Ebay.  Mostly these China made 3020 cnc machines are popping up, and they all seem to  be relatively well priced.  Just thought I'd get some opinions from members on any actual experience on these.  Also any recommendations on getting a hobby CNC machine in general would be greatly appreciated.  I'm planning on using the machine to make hub plates, motor mounts, etc.  I'd probably be milling aluminium and/or carbon fibre.



  1. (servo motors and controller)
  2. 3-axis Stepper Motor System based on DQ542MA, on Ebay
  3. 6-axis Stepper Motor System based on DQ542MA, on Ebay
  4. DC1 Servo Motor Controller, from Makerbot
  5. Servo Motor Encoder

05/26/2012:  After some discussion.  This blog is starting to look into building a CNC machine of our own.  Keep following to stay informed.  We're in the brainstorming stage at this point any input from users is welcomed.

05/27/2012: DIYDrones CNC Project group is created.  Let's move our activity to that group.

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  • Yes, that's sort of what I figure.  I see this warning all the time from hobby people, but I've never seen anything official such as an MSDS sheet stating the fact that it's carcinogenic or anything like that.  Best I can figure, as long as you aren't doing it on an industrial scale, day-in day-out, it's not going to be a problem.

    I've done a fair bit of heavy fabrication in my shop, built a large HD offroad camping trailer, and that project meant a LOT of grinding with angle grinders which generates tons of black dust from the grinding wheels.  I'm sure that's not good for me either but it was only over a few months timeframe, I don't fabricate for a living.

    I can't imagine carbon fiber is worse than that?  It's not asbestos.

  • I guess you can get black lung, like coal miners got, if exposed on a long term basis.  One tip I saw on this done by some on this forum, was to do the milling in a water bath.  Then there's no air borne carbon dust, and way less mess.

    Also, Bjorn, the kit you linked to seems to be just some CNC'd wooden frame parts.  None of the hardware or electronics seems to be included, and it's already $225.  Am I right in that?

  • John, what is the deal with CF dust?  I've cut a bit using a dremel tool.

  • Developer

    Just a little shout out to anyone cutting CF. CF dust is nasty stuff, and VERY dangerous to get into the lungs. Make sure you have a good suction/ventilation system and that the dust is blown outside.

  • have a look at


    I have bought one, but not assambled it yet...

    The price to have this delivered in Norway was a pain in the ... ;-)

  • I would recommend these cnc machines...

    They are hand-made in the USA. I have a very similar one that I use to cut foam cores and it works great!

  • That FLA-100 looks like it has a pretty large x-y-z travel, but it looks like the spindle gantry is using only one rod, which from what I learned today, is not going to be very solid.  At least the 3020, I linked above has two rods holding the spindle on the gantry.

  • Has anyone built the FLA-100 from Fine Line Automation?

    Seems to have a good size working area, and can handle aluminum if you go easy on it.  I'm looking at putting one of these together sometime this summer.

  • Dany, from what I gathered, the 3040 models are practically same stepper motors, with the same precision.  The difference is that the 3040's all seem to have higher powered spindle (800w in the one your linked)  The one Iinked above the 3020 has only a 180w spindle.

  • Distributor

    When I last looked at it (yes it's a fever that comes and goes...) my choice was this model

    it's ok budget wise and it's available right here in Canada so no issues with long shipping or international support...  Monroe, what do you think of it? seems a step up from the 3020... nice table to clamp things.... 

    Again usage would be to cut Carbon Fiber and  light Aluminium... 

    Overpriced and upgrade over 3020 not needed? 

    Now that we have found a real guy using these and knowing the "catches" we will use you for sure!  :) 


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