This is my journey into Desktop CNC’s. I am by no means an expert but I have learned a lot in the last 4 years and am having a lot of fun.
I currently have access to 5 CNC machines.
- BoXZY 3-in-1 (Company no longer in business )
- CNC 3018 ( Lowest price )
- 4030 NinCNC (At ProtoSpace. Uses Parallel Port interface )
- LongMill (at ProtoSpace )
- Precix Industrial CNC (at ProtoSpace )
I cut my initial teeth with CNC Milling on the BoXZY. It has a Makita Trim Router and very sturdy gantry mechanism. It’s failing is that it is primarly a 3D printer, and runs Repetier on an Arduino Mega for its controller firmware. It does a fine job of G-Code passthough, and can do basic jogging, but Repetier has no Milling visualization, or Z-Probing.
I had high hopes for this machine but the company went bust and there is no longer any support. There is a small user support group out there but for the most part I am on my own.
I am in the process of investigating switching to Marlin or even just basic GRBL software.
This little kit cost me around $200. I bought it just to see what it was like and to understand what the basics do. I am actually very impressed with this little guy, even though it is very limited.
It has a little controller board in a case running GRBL. You hook up your PC via USB and run UGCS or bCNC. Whatever you want.
MiniCNC 4030 (at ProtoSpace)
This is an old desktop Mill that was donated to the Space some time ago. Unfortunately the controller is driven by a parallel port interface. It is connected to a 32-bit windows box running XP running MACH3. This interface is only capable of running on a 32Bot computer up to Win7 (32Bit).
I have purchased a Arduino DB25 board for it and am investigating running bCNC. This would allow me to try making PCB’s on it.
This is a much better Desktop CNC Mill because it also uses a Makita Trim Router and a GRBL Controller. I have high Hopes for this machine.
This big boy has a 5′ x 10′ bed and an industrial sized Router. It was purchased as a surplus commercial machine and has been in the process of being re-deployed as a Maker unit running MACH3.