file Question A few questions from a non stepcraft owner

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12 May 2015 19:30 #20526 by cncwood
Hi all!

My name is Nick and this is my very first topic on that forum. I have never used a cnc machine before but is something im gona try with a stepcraft2/840 maschine. Im total new to the field, although i have read and watch a lot videos about cncs. Despite that i have some questions and maybe already users could help me.

So the maschine comes in two versions one with usb module and another with parallel module. I want to use softwares like mach3 so i read i need the parallel version. But my pc have not a port. I search and find that its an adaptor called UC100 i have to use. I search also for pci parallel cards that cost around 20 euros. Friends what you think its better to go? If i go with a card is possible to control the maschine apropriate? What i have to be aware of those pci-lpt cards? Will be easy to setup with card/adaptor?

I know stepcraft is for hobby but im going to use it in my small workshop for woodcrafts. I will use a kress spindle, what you think is the basic router bits i have to order along the maschine to start work? I am also interested in 2.5D (or 3D?, i am confused about the right terminology) mashining on woods.

Thank you!

Nick

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12 May 2015 19:57 #20528 by drilldevil
Replied by drilldevil on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
as you already wrote: that machine is for hobby purpose. i guess you wont have a lot of fun with it in a professional way.

for excample you have to make maintanance works after every 10 hours using it. this is about every 1,5 days in continuous use. do like that ?

Andreas

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12 May 2015 20:45 #20530 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
thank you drilldevil for your response! Yes i dont like maintenance every day, but its more afforable to me than the cost of a professionals machine. What kind of maintenance will i need for the machine? You mean screw bolting? Should i use screw lock glue? Is any tip for less maintenance?

Nick

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12 May 2015 21:02 #20532 by woodendonkey
Replied by woodendonkey on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Maintenance every 10 hours is largely removing old grease and re-lubricating. I wouldn't glue any screws as you never know when you might have to disassemble to fix something ...

Donald

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12 May 2015 21:32 #20535 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Thank you woodendonkey! If this is the only maintenance i dont see it as so bad. I dont think this is a hard to do thing. Maybe there are professional greases that are better than hobby greases? Really i dont know. is this a reason for not go with the maschine in a semiprofessional way?

Nick

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12 May 2015 22:05 #20538 by woodendonkey
Replied by woodendonkey on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Hi Nick
I'd say if you are looking at this in a business way (semiprofessional), the old adage of "time is money" is very much to the fore. I reckon you can do most things with a Stepcraft that you can do with a production machine - but not fast enough to make money from it. For example, I make a set of 8 coasters (drink mats) on a Stepcraft 600 in an hour. You can't leave it unattended (seriously!) so you would have to set a price that pays for your machinery, your raw materials, and your time (add 10% to allow for the maintenance every 10 hours).
A professional machine will be perhaps 4-5 times faster than this as a minimum - how will you compete?
I bought a Stepcraft with a view to learning CNC routing and designing products, with a plan to buy a professional machine (£4k-£5k) after 2 years. After 5 months ownership I see no reason to change this plan - Stepcraft machines are good to learn on and develop designs but not up to production requirements.
If you want something to give you additional income in a small way, by all means use a Stepcraft, but for your main income ... I'd say not.
Incidentally I found my costs higher than you'd think from just the Stepcraft prices - Stepcraft, spindle, router bits (you *will* break some), laptop as controller, software (Vcarve Pro, UCCNC). If you don't invest in software you will take much longer to get satisfactory results.
Take a look at the "show us your stepcraft creations" section of the forum to see what can be made - but bear in mind the run times will often be too slow for production.
Of course if you have a niche market where price is not a consideration then all the above is nonsense. But if that were the case you would buy a professional machine in the first place. :-)

Donald

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13 May 2015 01:17 #20540 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
I checked the crations on the forum these are very interesting to me. At the moment the stepcraft still seems to me a nice maschine to start because i dont have other experience with cnc's and also i cant afford the amount of money for a professional cnc. From the videos i have watched the version 2 seems faster than version 1, and i read its more rigid. Maybe someone with a stepcraft 2 could tell if this is right or not. I understand what you tell me, and i im sure you have right and apreciete your opinion and help my friend! In my mind the plan is to put a large wood on the maschine (that is the reason i want the 840 verison) and create as many smaller pieces i can. Maybe it will take a day, but in the and i will have a small lot of items to sell to my clients, right? Maybe i use the maschine 2-3 times per week for this task that i consider as heavy task, and the rest days i plan for lighter works. Im not plan to work with the maschine as my main source of income at the time but as an extra income from my work, and as a helpful tool for creative projects i want to make (and sell). Could you tell me what kind of spindle do you use and what version of stepcraft?

Thank you!

Nick

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13 May 2015 17:40 #20554 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Hi again stepcrafters! Is anyone that could tell me if the stepcraft v2 is actual faster than stepcraft v1? At the deutsch forum i see a picture from v2/840 to have cut a "stepcraft" sign on a very large and thick material maybe mdf. I saw also a video from an expo where the stepcraft guy when asked talked about "commercial use" for v2/840, so why not? Im not planing to build an industry with one stepcraft but i need to know before buying if i can actual do some work with that. I apreciate any help!

Thank you in advance!

Nick

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13 May 2015 21:32 #20564 by woodendonkey
Replied by woodendonkey on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Hi Nick

You can cut fairly thick pieces (12-15mm) but in multiple passes.

Take a look at http://stoneycnc.co.uk/stepcraft-840-cnc-route-system/ for some video examples.

15mm cut 0.5mm at a time = 30 passes = long time! You have to experiment to see what sort of pass depth and feed rate suits your workpiece and material.

Donald

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14 May 2015 01:21 #20572 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Thank you Donald. In one video there are passes from 1mm to 2mm. Seems prety good if i could use 1mm pass then the total passes are 15, and if i use 2mm passes then total passes are 7.5! If i calculate all these right i dont think its to slow for work with. What is your opinion? I undertand each material have its own properties and needs different configirations for the machine, but for plywoods and mdfs i hope these rates to be nice, i dont care to be extreme fast but good work is something i care most.

Friends do you recommend me uc100 adaptor and uccnc to go with?

Nick

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14 May 2015 12:01 #20583 by woodendonkey
Replied by woodendonkey on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Nick, you have to be aware: cutting at 0.5mm depth you can have your feed speed as high as you like in plywood or MDF. At 2mm pass depth you will may have to reduce the feed rate, or you will break router bits (and in all cases where this has happened to me, ruin the work piece as well). There's a bit of trial and error involved. If you are making small objects then the Stepcraft is fine. If you were making large complex things you will find it interminably slow.

UC100 & UCCNC are fantastic - I've had ZERO problems with these - except when I accidentally pulled the USB cable out :-(

However, I've no experience of anything else (except WINPC NC starter, which I only used for first test after build).

You need to be aware that different approaches to your work can make a huge difference to how much time a job takes - I've seen jobs take an hour, then drop to 20 minutes with a little tweaking. Something like Vcarve Pro is invaluable for modelling this as it estimates the job times for you. The clock I posted in the forum creations section is a classic example of bit size impact - using a 6mm bit for part of it instead of 2mm bit cut almost 4 hours off the estimated run time.

Donald

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15 May 2015 15:20 #20624 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Friends where can i find the specs for the stepper motors?

Nick

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15 May 2015 15:24 #20627 by drilldevil
Replied by drilldevil on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner

Andreas

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15 May 2015 15:26 #20628 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Thank you Andreas!!

Nick

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21 May 2015 16:33 #21068 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Dear friends do you know if i can use uccnc software with stepcrafts usb module? Can i use softwares with usb module other than winpc?

Nick

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21 May 2015 16:55 #21069 by Voltatus
Replied by Voltatus on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
No, the Stepcraft USB Module works only with WinPC. For UCCNC you need an UC100 USB motion controller and the Stepcraft Parallel Module. Bit there are some more possible combinations:

PC with parallel Port running LinuxCNC -> Stepcraft Parallel Module
PC with USB running EstlCam -> Arduino Module (Blueprint in the forum)
...

You will find more possible combinations in the SC-Forum.

Greetings
Tom

SC 2/420 - Parallel, HF-500, LinuxCNC, Estlcam
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24 May 2015 00:04 #21205 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Hi again, i see somewhere in the forum that the machine have 1,4A stepper motors for x/y, and 1,8A motor for z. Is possible to change the 1,4A mottors with 1,8A? What do you think is the max torque that can handle the stepcraft? More powerfoul motors doesnt mean faster work? I checked the motors from nanotec, they have varius version, it seems tha stepcraft has those with lenght 31mm and weights 200gr, is it to much to change the original motors with motors which have lenght and weight 38mm/240gr or 49mm/340gr? I dont know if this is necesary or bad for the whole machine. But from what i see the most cnc out there start with motors at least 50 Ncm. What do you think friends?

Nick

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25 May 2015 19:19 #21329 by cncwood
Replied by cncwood on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Ordered the machine with some extras, but no news yet from stepcraft team. Our email communication its not what i expected :(

Nick

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26 May 2015 10:43 #21364 by Denus
Replied by Denus on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner
Didn't you received an order confirmation yet?
Because I did, and from there, you'll have to be patient for at least two weeks.

Eurotools-24 G-500 & custom-made aluminium table
Kress 800
TB6560 4V3, UC100, UCCNC

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26 May 2015 11:08 #21367 by drilldevil
Replied by drilldevil on topic A few questions from a non stepcraft owner

cncwood wrote: Hi again, i see somewhere in the forum that the machine have 1,4A stepper motors for x/y, and 1,8A motor for z. Is possible to change the 1,4A mottors with 1,8A? What do you think is the max torque that can handle the stepcraft? More powerfoul motors doesnt mean faster work? I checked the motors from nanotec, they have varius version, it seems tha stepcraft has those with lenght 31mm and weights 200gr, is it to much to change the original motors with motors which have lenght and weight 38mm/240gr or 49mm/340gr? I dont know if this is necesary or bad for the whole machine. But from what i see the most cnc out there start with motors at least 50 Ncm. What do you think friends?


Y= 1,8A !! NOT Z !!!

the Y- motor has to drive 2 spindles combined with a toothed belt

you can't change the motors without changes on the board. for more information watch this inthe german forum section.

Andreas
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