#2
I have access to a CNC machine, does that count?
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#3
I also have access to many. A bunch of Citizen Swiss Lathes, a few Mazak and Haas Mills, and a Nakamura. All great machines.

Now, I am assuming there is a point to this post, what are you looking to do? I have used many CNC machines of all kinds of types and prices.
#4
I wish. I've been wanting one for years
1978 Peavey T-40 -> Ampeg Micro-VR - > Ampeg SVT210AV + Ampeg SVT-15E
#5
Quote by Wylde_Life
I also have access to many. A bunch of Citizen Swiss Lathes, a few Mazak and Haas Mills, and a Nakamura. All great machines.

Now, I am assuming there is a point to this post, what are you looking to do? I have used many CNC machines of all kinds of types and prices.



well im interested in buying so i want some ideas
#6
You have no idea how much a CNC machine costs, do you?

I don't mean to be rude, but if you knew the price and amount of programming and technical input involved, you would probably not be asking the questions you are asking.
#7
Price Range? What are you looking to do with it?

Almost guessing you are looking at building guitars. Probably just a lot cheaper and more simple to use a router...

You can get small CNC "table top" mills that will do just fine, I have seen those for $1000 for a quality one, but then you need a computer to run it, and also a program for it. Probably looking at at least $1500 there.

If you are going production, you will want something bigger and more capable, you can look at used Bridgeport style machines with digital readouts, probably looking at $10000 for a good machine, they work and are pretty accurate, but programming sucks on them. You could look at the option of a Haas VF0 type machine, it will be able to do everything to produce guitars and more, but it comes with a huge price tag. Haas are easy to program using Mastercam or a similar program.
#8
Quote by Roc8995
You have no idea how much a CNC machine costs, do you?

I don't mean to be rude, but if you knew the price and amount of programming and technical input involved, you would probably not be asking the questions you are asking.



yes actually i do. they can be as low as $2500 (a small one) and be as high as aroung $100,000. i wouldnt be spending a hole lot cuz my dad wants it 2
#9
Quote by JCGGUITARS
yes actually i do. they can be as low as $2500 (a small one) and be as high as aroung $100,000. i wouldnt be spending a hole lot cuz my dad wants it 2


$100,000? They can be a lot higher that that. My work just spent 2.2 Million on a Nakamura Super. $100,000 would actually be really cheap for a quality production machine.
#10
well the ones we were looking at went up there but your right they do get a lot higher. were looking at a shopbot for around $35,000
#11
Quote by Wylde_Life
$100,000? They can be a lot higher that that. My work just spent 2.2 Million on a Nakamura Super. $100,000 would actually be really cheap for a quality production machine.


Depends what you're doing... I program for a 3-axis Thermwood with a 5x10 table which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-110k. We make cabinets and don't need more than that. Vacuum table to hold down the sheet stock, automatic tool measure and changer.

It's really hard to be able to say you should look for x or y in a machine without knowing what you're doing. And do you want a table cnc, a lathe cnc....? Basically you need to work out what you need your machine to do and what size material you'll be running.
#12
Unless your gonna pump out guitars, it will not be worth it.

But if you do get one can I come use it
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#13
haha well mabe if ur close

and yes i am planning to be a luthier so i will be "pumping" out guitars
#14
Quote by ChrisBW
Depends what you're doing... I program for a 3-axis Thermwood with a 5x10 table which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-110k. We make cabinets and don't need more than that. Vacuum table to hold down the sheet stock, automatic tool measure and changer.

It's really hard to be able to say you should look for x or y in a machine without knowing what you're doing. And do you want a table cnc, a lathe cnc....? Basically you need to work out what you need your machine to do and what size material you'll be running.


Well, I work for a medical machining facility. We make inserts for injecting cancer patients with drugs and other treatments, as well as many other medical parts. Problem with that insert is it requires X, Y, A, B, and Z. And has a super tight tolerance.

But are you planning on going into production on these guitars? Honestly a good router setup sounds better.

EDIT: I am not trying to discourage you in any way, I love CNC and I love people building guitars, I just want you to help you make the right decision, whether that be a CNC or a much cheaper option.
Last edited by Wylde_Life at Oct 19, 2011,
#15
Quote by Wylde_Life
Well, I work for a medical machining facility. We make inserts for injecting cancer patients with drugs and other treatments, as well as many other medical parts. Problem with that insert is it requires X, Y, A, B, and Z. And has a super tight tolerance.

But are you planning on going into production on these guitars? Honestly a good router setup sounds better.

EDIT: I am not trying to discourage you in any way, I love CNC and I love people building guitars, I just want you to help you make the right decision, whether that be a CNC or a much cheaper option.


I wish I had a 5 axis to play with. One of our customers subs out some large parts to us since his table isn't big enough and he's shown me some of his programming on his 5 axis. It's just amazing. I also wish we could justify either a waterjet of plasma machine. I would love that

And for the OP - I think part of what Wylde Life is getting at here at the end of his post, is that you may not need a CNC machine at all. A CNC is for some heavy production. I can pump out 40+ cabinets a day easily on my machine. If I set up my machine to do guitars, I imagine I would be able to run a program for the front and back sides and be done with it in less than 45 minutes (conservatively) - and that would be for 6, maybe 8 bodies at a time. I know you wouldn't be getting a table as large as mine, but my point is that the production capabilities of a CNC machine is massive and probably more than you need. And there is a lot that goes into a guitar that you can't do on a CNC.

You could get by with hand routers and jigs quite easily. When you start looking at needing different tools for the machining operations (maybe guitars don'tneed more than 1? I would think 2-3 though)it starts to look a lot cheaper and easier to get multiple hand routers all set up with their own tooling and ready to go for each process. Basic routers usually don't have automatic tool changers and measurement systems... Changing out tools and measuring between programs to get one finished part is a royal pain - it takes a lot of time even on my machine that does have multiple tools and an auto measure.

There is a lot that goes into planning a production line. You need to take in account your budget, production quantity, and the practicality of the machines you are buying. You can't just buy every machine that speeds up a process just for the sake of speeding that process up. If it isn't something you do a lot a machine probably isn't worth it. I can think of a couple pieces of equipment that would be great in my shop but the types of things they would be doing don't come through often enough to justify a machine. It's cheaper or easier to do those things "the long way" by hand or sub it out to someone else.

Maybe a small CNC will benefit you. Maybe not (I'd say probably not if you're just starting). There is a lot of planning involved that in general, you are the person that has to make the decisions on. I also don't want to discourage you, but you need to consider how many guitars you'll be making. And also plan out a point where you can say "OK I've reached a production level of x guitars/week or month" and that is your number where a CNC is viable for you.

Edit: Meant say a lot you can't do on a CNC, not can.
Last edited by ChrisBW at Oct 20, 2011,
#16
+1 for the above, and regardless, you should really build a few guitars before you start talking about buying expensive equipment. At least then you'll have a greater understanding and appreciation for what goes into building a guitar.

Also a CNC alone won't build guitars, you also need CAD/CAM software which is generally pretty expensive, plus you need to know how to even use it, which requires training to get over the learning curve quickly.
________________________________________

Chur
#17
Quote by ChrisBW
I wish I had a 5 axis to play with. One of our customers subs out some large parts to us since his table isn't big enough and he's shown me some of his programming on his 5 axis. It's just amazing. I also wish we could justify either a waterjet of plasma machine. I would love that

And for the OP - I think part of what Wylde Life is getting at here at the end of his post, is that you may not need a CNC machine at all. A CNC is for some heavy production. I can pump out 40+ cabinets a day easily on my machine. If I set up my machine to do guitars, I imagine I would be able to run a program for the front and back sides and be done with it in less than 45 minutes (conservatively) - and that would be for 6, maybe 8 bodies at a time. I know you wouldn't be getting a table as large as mine, but my point is that the production capabilities of a CNC machine is massive and probably more than you need. And there is a lot that goes into a guitar that you can do on a CNC.

You could get by with hand routers and jigs quite easily. When you start looking at needing different tools for the machining operations (maybe guitars don'tneed more than 1? I would think 2-3 though)it starts to look a lot cheaper and easier to get multiple hand routers all set up with their own tooling and ready to go for each process. Basic routers usually don't have automatic tool changers and measurement systems... Changing out tools and measuring between programs to get one finished part is a royal pain - it takes a lot of time even on my machine that does have multiple tools and an auto measure.

There is a lot that goes into planning a production line. You need to take in account your budget, production quantity, and the practicality of the machines you are buying. You can't just buy every machine that speeds up a process just for the sake of speeding that process up. If it isn't something you do a lot a machine probably isn't worth it. I can think of a couple pieces of equipment that would be great in my shop but the types of things they would be doing don't come through often enough to justify a machine. It's cheaper or easier to do those things "the long way" by hand or sub it out to someone else.

Maybe a small CNC will benefit you. Maybe not (I'd say probably not if you're just starting). There is a lot of planning involved that in general, you are the person that has to make the decisions on. I also don't want to discourage you, but you need to consider how many guitars you'll be making. And also plan out a point where you can say "OK I've reached a production level of x guitars/week or month" and that is your number where a CNC is viable for you.


you should read this.


then read it again.
#18
Quote by Lightbluemk2
+1 for the above, and regardless, you should really build a few guitars before you start talking about buying expensive equipment. At least then you'll have a greater understanding and appreciation for what goes into building a guitar.

Also a CNC alone won't build guitars, you also need CAD/CAM software which is generally pretty expensive, plus you need to know how to even use it, which requires training to get over the learning curve quickly.



Ill say it again that my Dad is the one buying. . . . most of it. he needs one to so weed share
#19
Quote by JCGGUITARS
Ill say it again that my Dad is the one buying. . . . most of it. he needs one to so weed share


You said your dad wants one, you never said he needed one. That changes things a bit, since now you are going to have a CNC around anyways instead of just buying it for making guitars. When you make a thread, try to give as much information as possible so we can help you quickly and efficiently.

You mentioned Shopbot machines, they are good for making things out of wood and projects without tight tolerances. If you plan on machining anything harder than Brass, avoid them. They aren't very accurate (by very accurate, I mean they wont do things down to .0001 type things) but for a guitar or really any wood based projects, you wont need anything rediculously accurate.

The nice thing about Shopbot is they are US made and US serviced, so if there is a problem, it is resolved quick... I have also heard their customer service is awesome, though I have never actually got to use one of their machines.

You can always look for a used Milltronics or Bridgeport (with Tablefeed and Digital Readout). Neither are overly accurate and aren't user friendly for programming anything complicated... but like I said, for building guitars, you don't need anything accurate and they will be easy to program guitar type shapes and routings. The Bridgeport would be nice because you also gain the ability to manually machine much easier than a normal CNC or machine that for the most part requires a program to do everything.
#21
Have you heard of google? It's this new thing where you can look things up...


Don't mean to be a dick but really. Anyway you need some kind of CAD software... Solidworks, AutoCAD, I think MasterCAM might have a CAD software. There are quite a few beyond that.
#22
MasterCam and Solidworks are pretty easy to use. Although, I never used Solidworks for anything more than designing parts, I always trasported the file into MasterCam for the programming portion, I am not quiet sure what Solidworks does (if it does at all) for making a machine useable program.

With Mastercam you can make your part, your toolpaths, tool changes, and export a program in G Codes for use on a machine.... though you may need to tweak the G Codes depending on what the specific machine accepts.
#24
I don't really know about those programs, just the names off the top of my head. I use Vectorworks which is an OS X CAD software. We don't us any cam software, we basically make everything on a 2D plane, the outline, pockets, drill holes, etc. and each process is it's own layer in the file. But 3-axis is so much simpler than 5-axis, and lathe as well I 'd assume? I'm not very familiar with lathe CNCs.

For example a part with a pocket and some drill holes would have these layers:
outline z0p75 (this just denotes the material thickness)
pocket z0p5 (depth for the pocket to be cut)
drill z0p75 (depth of drill)

It's then exported as a .dxf file and the Thermwood control program can read that.

If I need something to use a certain tool, there will also be a "d0p25" or whatever the diameter of the bit is. We can number each layer if we have a complicated part with multiple pockets and it will cut in numerical order. We don't write tool paths either... so I don't really program in the traditional sense. I've learned enough G code though that when I read it I know what is happening.


For the OP; what program you use/ how you write your files sort of depends on your machine. The manufacturer will let you know on that though, and I think most machines can handle a couple different formats.


Also that iCarver makes me glad to have access to a commercial machine. 118 inches/minute seems like a crawl to me Unless it's a small diameter tool I'm usually at 450-600. zoom zoom.
Last edited by ChrisBW at Oct 21, 2011,
#25
Quote by ChrisBW
Have you heard of google? It's this new thing where you can look things up...


Don't mean to be a dick but really. Anyway you need some kind of CAD software... Solidworks, AutoCAD, I think MasterCAM might have a CAD software. There are quite a few beyond that.


if i hadnt i probably wouldnt be on UG. thanks for the programs but how much do they cost?
#26
You would have to contact the creators for cost. Most buisiness places buy them in packages for multiple users, but I think MasterCam and Solidworks are $500+ per program, depending on what you get...

But you should find out what your machine accepts for codes first, some machines (ie. Milltronics) only use their own program, in fact, most small machines only use their own programs.

Solidworks is a great design program, but I just went into my own solidworks program, and you cannot export it to a machine. So the Solidworks would only be for creating the prints and designing.

ChrisBW: Yeah, I learned through G Code, but there is very little actually "writing" these days. Programs like MasterCam and Inventor do it all for us, it is unfortunate because then our engineers have no idea what they are doing and often times it takes longer than it should to get a program right (ie: Good Finish, chips, etc...) Because there are certain G codes to enter that a program doesn't, like a dwell code so the drill stays at the bottom of an ID so it doesn't chatter. But it would be hard to write a 10,000+ character program by hand and not screw that up either, lol. Basically your Thermwood program is doing the same thing, like our guys would take a 2D or 3D file from Solidworks or Mastercam and make all the tool paths into G Codes for the machine to use. Lathes are actually pretty simple, its still just a 2D outline, just happens to be on a round part. But yeah, 5 axis gets a little tricky.
#27
I'm too young to have really learned G code. I ran our machine for about a year a half and learned quite a bit just by watching the screen read out and working it out in my head. I had to look up a few things though. Plus it helps that I can change the read out between English and G Code. And Spanish if I want... I've been meaning to learn some more Spanish in case I go to Spain again

Luckily I'm at a small enough company (and cabinets aren't as complex as doing metal and don't really need tolerances of anything past .01) that I get to make any design and programming decisions I need too. If I need anything specific I usually go out to the router and change the settings I need. For us a lot of it comes down to using the right bit, the right feed rates, and a couple settings here and there.
#29
Quote by ChrisBW
I'm too young to have really learned G code. I ran our machine for about a year a half and learned quite a bit just by watching the screen read out and working it out in my head. I had to look up a few things though. Plus it helps that I can change the read out between English and G Code. And Spanish if I want... I've been meaning to learn some more Spanish in case I go to Spain again

Luckily I'm at a small enough company (and cabinets aren't as complex as doing metal and don't really need tolerances of anything past .01) that I get to make any design and programming decisions I need too. If I need anything specific I usually go out to the router and change the settings I need. For us a lot of it comes down to using the right bit, the right feed rates, and a couple settings here and there.


I'm only 21 lol. But I went to school for CNC.

I really do wish I could be more personel with my machine, it makes me want to get a small CNC for my home to mess with, but the cost just kills me