I am 35 years old engineer from Finland. I have studied Information technology and Machine design and manufacturing. I have two degrees of engineering. Nowadays I work with Tanks and stuff like that. I am thinking to start new hobby, CNC. I want make 3D relief things like that, maybe laser pictures and small aluminium pieces. I am familiar with Fusion 360 and maybe its my main software for CAD/CAM. I have been thinking about Stepcraft 420 or 600
So what do I need to purchase for my purpose? I am not familiar with these control software, which one is best for starting 3D milling and maybe later 4 axis and laser. Maybe somebody could guide me to right path at first. What should I buy?
Welcome to this forum.
First of all there is no real answer to your question. It depends on what your intentions are so answer the following questions to get to your choice.
- How large will my workpiece be (A3 size is 420, A2 size is 600)
- How high will my 3D reliefs be (depends on spindle type and milling bit)
- How strong must your spindle be (a proxxon is nice for light work, a Kress or HF 500 for more power)
- Do I incidental or often be milling Aluminium (incidental is fine, think of cooling and clearing chips from the bit)
- Laser for the stepcraft is not fully available or you must use US or Chines lasers.
- How much money you will spend on a CNC machine?
- CNC control software
- WinPC-NC USB (starter is included, but you need to upgrade for 3D and multiple tools. Is earlier supplied)
- UCCNC + UC100 (nowdays supplied by stepcraft is slightly cheaper than WinPC)
- EstlCam (mostly in combination with Arduino inteface)
there are lot good programs Fusion 360 is fine especially with the CAM G-code pre-processor for Stepcraft, another is
SolidWorks or the Vectrix programs V-Carve or Aspire for almost everything.
So it is up to you, but remember it is a hobby machine not a production mill, it is to light for heavy clearing.