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A few questions from a non stepcraft owner

24 Beiträge
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NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 12/05/2015 9:30 pm
(@drilldevil)
Beiträge: 1399
Noble Member
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 12/05/2015 9:57 pm
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 12/05/2015 10:45 pm
Donald McIntosh
(@woodendonkey)
Beiträge: 28
Eminent Member
 

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

Learning from mistakes until I become an expert!

 
Veröffentlicht : 12/05/2015 11:02 pm
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 12/05/2015 11:32 pm
Donald McIntosh
(@woodendonkey)
Beiträge: 28
Eminent Member
 

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

Learning from mistakes until I become an expert!

 
Veröffentlicht : 13/05/2015 12:05 am
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 13/05/2015 3:17 am
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 13/05/2015 7:40 pm
Donald McIntosh
(@woodendonkey)
Beiträge: 28
Eminent Member
 

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

Learning from mistakes until I become an expert!

 
Veröffentlicht : 13/05/2015 11:32 pm
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 14/05/2015 3:21 am
Donald McIntosh
(@woodendonkey)
Beiträge: 28
Eminent Member
 

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

Learning from mistakes until I become an expert!

 
Veröffentlicht : 14/05/2015 2:01 pm
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

Friends where can i find the specs for the stepper motors?

Nick

 
Veröffentlicht : 15/05/2015 5:20 pm
(@drilldevil)
Beiträge: 1399
Noble Member
 

watch this...

Andreas

 
Veröffentlicht : 15/05/2015 5:24 pm
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

Thank you Andreas!!

Nick

 
Veröffentlicht : 15/05/2015 5:26 pm
NIKOLAOS RIGOPOULOS
(@cncwood)
Beiträge: 17
Eminent Member
Themenstarter
 

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

 
Veröffentlicht : 21/05/2015 6:33 pm
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