What's on YOUR CNC right now?

pshupe

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I looked at Laguna IQ but wasn't impressed. It is slightly smaller foot print, no vacuum table, lower Z, and I think only ball screws. For more money. I have some other Laguna tools and I like the quality but fit and finish is about the same as any other made in China machine. I have been very happy with both of my CAN CAM machines. Tom is great.

Regards Peter.
 

WhiteEpiLP

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On my CNC I have my CNC...My old Dell desktop has given up the ghost for about the 5th time and I'm pretty tired of it, so I'm working on converting it over to GRBL on Arduino. I'll still use my breakout board and big stepper drivers (since I'm running big motors to move the thing, it is a milling machine after all). Found a great Arduino shield that breaks has a DB25 connector so I won't have to do any re-wiring of my control box. Now I can use a computer that is less than about 15 years old!
I feel there is an Xzibit meme here,
Yo Dawg, I heard you like cnc. So I put a cnc, on your cnc.
 

Josh Young

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I looked at Laguna IQ but wasn't impressed. It is slightly smaller foot print, no vacuum table, lower Z, and I think only ball screws. For more money. I have some other Laguna tools and I like the quality but fit and finish is about the same as any other made in China machine. I have been very happy with both of my CAN CAM machines. Tom is great.

Regards Peter.
After reading your positive reviews about CanCam, I contacted them. I spoke to Tom about some options that I was interested in, and he said he was going to look into them and get back to me. I never heard from him again, so I ended up with Camaster. So far I'm very happy with the new machine, but I haven't used it enough to give it a real review.
 
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pshupe

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After reading your positive reviews about CanCam, I contacted them. I spoke to Tom about some options that I was interested in, and he said he was going to look into them and get back to me. I never heard from him again, so I ended up with Camaster. So far I'm very happy with the new machine, but I haven't use did enough to give it a real review.

I know Tom is very busy but the service is amazing. I've even called him on weekends and he answers his work phone all the time. Where are you located? I hadn't heard of Camaster. What gantry height did you go with?

Cheers Peter.
 

Josh Young

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I know Tom is very busy but the service is amazing. I've even called him on weekends and he answers his work phone all the time. Where are you located? I hadn't heard of Camaster. What gantry height did you go with?

Cheers Peter.
Hi Peter,
I'm in Toronto. Camaster is out of Georgia, they seem to have a reasonable chunk of the market share of the more heavy duty desktop machines as well as making industrial duty full size machines. The gantry height is 5".
 

pshupe

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Hi Peter,
I'm in Toronto. Camaster is out of Georgia, they seem to have a reasonable chunk of the market share of the more heavy duty desktop machines as well as making industrial duty full size machines. The gantry height is 5".

Sounds like you have already purchased from them? 5" is very low. I would not find that high enough for guitar building. That is the issue with most CNC machines. They are generally made for high production of things like cabinet doors where they are cutting 1/2" - 3/4" MDF. My gantry height is 9 1/2" and I would like the 12" option if I had to do it over again.

I checked their website - Camaster and the entry one seems to be more expensive than CANCAM as it is US$ and I would imagine shipping may add quite a few $$$. Also it has a router instead of a spindle? That seems a little strange? Routers are loud and not meant to run for extended periods of time. I had a router based CNC and I had issues with bearings and replacing the switches because it didn't like all the mdf dust. Tom's has just a control box with a USB input so the computer is not included and not necessarily in the same "shop" environment. I do all my programming in the office in my house and then place the tool paths on a memory stick and load through the control box in the shop. My shop is tiny and I would not want my computer in my shop and am happy to have the space.

I live in Hamilton and drove over the Oshawa to meet with Tom and see his operation before purchasing. Once i decided to buy from him I drove over again and they loaded the machine in my truck. No shipping costs.

Are you using the vectric software for your CAM? I would recommend Fusion 360 as it is a great software and it is free.

Cheers Peter.
 

roastalot

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My gantry height is 9 1/2" and I would like the 12" option if I had to do it over again

Peter, Can you elaborate on the limitations you find with 9.5" gantry clearance? I would think 6" clearance would be enough for guitar making. Thanks.
 

pshupe

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If you look at post #17 in this thread it shows a picture of what I mean. It’s not so much the actual gantry height. Although the gantry obviously has to clear the work piece. It’s the Z travel. When I cut something like what is shown, I need a 2 1/2” long cutter. So that bit has to be about 1” above the work piece so it can have a retract clearance. So if my bit is 2 1/2” + 1” for clearance and my jig holds it 4” above the table top, I need at least 7 1/2” or so of travel. You may be able to get away with less but ideally I want to put a fret slotting bit in there and have a 1/4” fret board on the vacuum table. So I need to reach pretty much to the bottom.

Cheers Peter.
 
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Josh Young

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Sounds like you have already purchased from them? 5" is very low. I would not find that high enough for guitar building. That is the issue with most CNC machines. They are generally made for high production of things like cabinet doors where they are cutting 1/2" - 3/4" MDF. My gantry height is 9 1/2" and I would like the 12" option if I had to do it over again.

I checked their website - Camaster and the entry one seems to be more expensive than CANCAM as it is US$ and I would imagine shipping may add quite a few $$$. Also it has a router instead of a spindle? That seems a little strange? Routers are loud and not meant to run for extended periods of time. I had a router based CNC and I had issues with bearings and replacing the switches because it didn't like all the mdf dust. Tom's has just a control box with a USB input so the computer is not included and not necessarily in the same "shop" environment. I do all my programming in the office in my house and then place the tool paths on a memory stick and load through the control box in the shop. My shop is tiny and I would not want my computer in my shop and am happy to have the space.

I live in Hamilton and drove over the Oshawa to meet with Tom and see his operation before purchasing. Once i decided to buy from him I drove over again and they loaded the machine in my truck. No shipping costs.

Are you using the vectric software for your CAM? I would recommend Fusion 360 as it is a great software and it is free.

Cheers Peter.
Hi Peter,

I'm certainly not an expert luthier, but I've been building for a little while, and I had another more entry level cnc machine before this one. For my workflow, the gantry clearance is adequate. I don't set up angled fixtures for neck pockets like you do, and there's lots of clearance for neck shaping, top carves, etc. I don't have enough first hand experience with different machines to substantiate the claim, but some of the research I did suggested that the stiffness of the machine is affected by gantry height increases, but I'm sure that is negligible for the work we do. The machine runs on WinCNC control software, which is supposed to be a superior product to Mach3, but I'm too new to using it to verify that. I did have some occasional problems with Mach3 being glitchy, so I'm hopeful WinCNC will be better. My machine has a spindle, but that was an upgrade.

I liked that the machine was made in North America, rather than China, and I didn't mind paying a premium for that. I am not against products manufactured overseas, but for a purchase like this, I take some comfort in knowing that I can reach the manufacturer of the machine and communicate easily. Shipping was not too bad, as I have a friend in that industry that took good care of me.

I use Rhino and VisualCam, and have too high a level of comfort with them now to want to change, though Fusion360 does look like a super cool platform. My shop is about an hour north-west of Toronto, and about 40 minutes west of Guelph, if you're ever in the area and want to drop in, get in touch.
 

pshupe

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Hi Peter,

I'm certainly not an expert luthier, but I've been building for a little while, and I had another more entry level cnc machine before this one. For my workflow, the gantry clearance is adequate. I don't set up angled fixtures for neck pockets like you do, and there's lots of clearance for neck shaping, top carves, etc. I don't have enough first hand experience with different machines to substantiate the claim, but some of the research I did suggested that the stiffness of the machine is affected by gantry height increases, but I'm sure that is negligible for the work we do. The machine runs on WinCNC control software, which is supposed to be a superior product to Mach3, but I'm too new to using it to verify that. I did have some occasional problems with Mach3 being glitchy, so I'm hopeful WinCNC will be better. My machine has a spindle, but that was an upgrade.

I liked that the machine was made in North America, rather than China, and I didn't mind paying a premium for that. I am not against products manufactured overseas, but for a purchase like this, I take some comfort in knowing that I can reach the manufacturer of the machine and communicate easily. Shipping was not too bad, as I have a friend in that industry that took good care of me.

I use Rhino and VisualCam, and have too high a level of comfort with them now to want to change, though Fusion360 does look like a super cool platform. My shop is about an hour north-west of Toronto, and about 40 minutes west of Guelph, if you're ever in the area and want to drop in, get in touch.


Even for an LP top or neck or pup routes not on an angle. An LP body is 2 1/4" thick and I want about 1" clearance. With a 2 1/2" bit I would need 5 3/4" clearance just to cut all the way through a body. How do you cut through a body with 5" clearance?

I want to cut vintage correct control cavities, and PUP routes so I have to angle the guitar in a fixture. I could get away with a straight down neck route with a 3d toolpath. I used Vectric prior to my last two CANCAM machines and I didn't like it that much. It was great for 2d stuff but I had the Vcarve software and any time I asked about how to do something the answer was buy Aspire. Aspire I think is about Can$2700. Fusion 360 is free. It was a no brainer for me.

Most CNCs, and all other machines for that matter, are manufactured in China and assembled doemstically. I think that is what CANCAM does. The fit and finish of the heavy duty parts aren't great but all the electronics and fine motor stuff is top notch. If you convert the currency the machine I bought with a 9 1/2" Z height,, vacuum table, and a 3 hp continuous duty spindle was <US$6000.

Where are you located? I'm in Hamilton. You say 40 minutes west of Guelph.

Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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I work for a company that sells Autodesk products and we have a manufacturing specialist that helps me out. There are lots of YouTube videos - look for Lars Christensen videos. He is a good resource. I might make a video about drawing up a fret board and generating tool paths. It’s pretty quick to do that.

Regards Peter.
 

Josh Young

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Even for an LP top or neck or pup routes not on an angle. An LP body is 2 1/4" thick and I want about 1" clearance. With a 2 1/2" bit I would need 5 3/4" clearance just to cut all the way through a body. How do you cut through a body with 5" clearance?

I want to cut vintage correct control cavities, and PUP routes so I have to angle the guitar in a fixture. I could get away with a straight down neck route with a 3d toolpath. I used Vectric prior to my last two CANCAM machines and I didn't like it that much. It was great for 2d stuff but I had the Vcarve software and any time I asked about how to do something the answer was buy Aspire. Aspire I think is about Can$2700. Fusion 360 is free. It was a no brainer for me.

Most CNCs, and all other machines for that matter, are manufactured in China and assembled doemstically. I think that is what CANCAM does. The fit and finish of the heavy duty parts aren't great but all the electronics and fine motor stuff is top notch. If you convert the currency the machine I bought with a 9 1/2" Z height,, vacuum table, and a 3 hp continuous duty spindle was <US$6000.

Where are you located? I'm in Hamilton. You say 40 minutes west of Guelph.

Cheers Peter.
Hi Peter,

I was typing faster than I was thinking, my shop is about an hour north west of Toronto, and about 40 minutes East (not west) of Guelph. Near Georgetown, if you're familiar with the area.

My actual gantry clearance on the Camaster is 5.75" and the Z travel is 5.5", my last machine was about the same. I don't build Les Pauls, but I do build similarly dimensioned mahogany body, maple capped guitars. My work flow is to cut wire channels/cavities, etc. and then cut out the body shape 0.1" oversize. I prep my book matched caps to be 5/8" and cut the perimeter shape 0.1" oversize. I glue up the body and cap, and then put it back on the machine lining up the centre line to a centre line scribed on the spoil board. At this point, I carve the top using a ball nose end mill that is about 1.5" long. I have more than enough clearance to do this. After the top carve is done, I switch out the round nose to a flat end mill that has 2" long flutes (plus a little exposed shank that sticks out of the collet) and cut out the final perimeter shape. I usually only set Z clearance at .25" above my work piece, which for me hasn't caused any problems, but probably if I had more gantry height I would set it for even more clearance, as you do. Vintage accurate routes aren't important to me, so for humbuckers, I just route them 90 degrees to the back of the body. I adjust the ear route to be slightly bigger to account for the angle differential, and everything fits and works just fine. I do a 3d tool path for the neck pocket, which does require about 30 seconds of sanding on the bottom of the pocket because the 4.1 degree slope leaves a micro scalloped surface/corner. I haven't yet figured out a work around for P90s, other than using a template and my pin router, but I think that I should be able to set up an angled fixture similar to yours and then use a 1" end mill. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I haven't tried the Vectric software yet, like I said, I'm just too comfortable with Rhino and Visualcam to want to learn a new system, but the Fusion360 platform does look pretty great, and the price is great too!

You're machine looks great, and I might have ended up with a CanCam machine if Tom had followed up with me. Camaster is actually made in the US, or at least all of the welded frame, and machined parts are. I'm sure most of the electronics are actually manufactured overseas, and then assembled in the US. My spindle is Italian. I'm not really that hung up on where things are made, though. I'm much more concerned about being able to get good support. I'm happy that all your experiences with CanCam have been so good, but I didn't have a high enough level of comfort to push forward with them. Camaster also has a great user forum, which as we all know around here, can be a great resource.

All in all, it sounds like your machine is a great quality machine that was a killer deal! It's sure been producing some nice looking product recently.

Cheers,

Josh
 

bradland

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Apologies for the Fender content but this lightly figured Limba is just too pretty not to share.
IMG_1844.JPG
IMG_1845.JPG
IMG_1844.JPG IMG_1845.JPG
 

Tweaker

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That’s my kind of workpiece clamping! I’m going to have to upgrade from screws to lags!

Nice looking piece of wood too, and great job on the machining!
 

bradland

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99% of the time I only use 2 lags on the ends at the centerline. This piece is unique as I'm trying to move the cut as far forward as possible to escape the dark streaks. Using a bolt in the hole by the neck pocket would've hit the cutter so I use it to align then add the 2 side bolts. Once it's in place I can safely remove the centerline bolt next to the neck pocket. The spoilboard employs a series of 1/4" threaded inserts, along the centerline, spanning from 0 to 30" spaced 2" apart. The 2 side inserts are in place for extreme situations such as this...:yesway:
IMG_1848.JPG
 

Marty M.

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I'm happy to see this thread over here. I'm an infrequent visitor so this one is new to me today. I have a desktop k2 but a few years back bought a Shapeoko2 for a winter project and was hoping to have a dedicated neck carving machine out of it. Well short story, the Shapeoko2 was very flexible and the accuracy just wasn't working for me. I mothballed it. Last year I was thinking of getting it operational again, as a friend was looking for a way to make some lawn ornaments.
Well I re-familarlized myself with the Inventables website and lo and behold, they had upgraded a bunch of the machine's parts. I decided to upgrade the shapeoko2 to current X carve specs.

The X carve was better but still now what I was looking for guitar parts. There were a few people that were making aftermarket parts that looked interesting. Next came a nice aluminum plate Z axis, risers, stiffeners for the Y axis, and lastly 9mm belts. This has made a world of difference and I'm pretty happy with the way it's working.

The X carve and Shapeoko are GRbl powered which is like notepad vs word when you compare it to Mach3, but GRBl gets the job done. Here is my latest output. I can't paint it until it warms up.



done.jpg







neck.jpg





I see Grizzly now has some cnc machines. https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-24-x-36-CNC-Router/G0894
 
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