I’ve decided after a couple of years of thinking about it, to invest in a 1F CNC. Initially I will use it for misc. items for myself, family and friends as well as various jigs and fixtures for my day job (I’m a carpenter by trade) with the ultimate goal being to use it for additional income in the future. I’ve decided while I wait to save some money, or wait for financing to be available for Canada (still think its weird that its not) that I would familiarize myself with both the machine and accessories through research and forums, and get familiar with some trial versions of software seeing as there is a fairly large lead time on the machine I’ve chosen.
To make things easier for me to keep track, and others to help out I’ve broken down what items I’m planning on purchasing, and maybe a couple of points or questions following. So hopefully I can explain things properly and if anyone has any suggestions or opinions I would love to hear them. I apologize in advance for any silly questions.
Machine: I’ve decided to go all in on the Elite Forman series 48"x48". My reasoning is I would prefer to over buy initially and be able to grow into the machine as I advance, rather then wanting to upgrade a year or two down the road. I thought that given the cost of these machines, that made more sense. I also like the idea of being able to machine a full half sheet of material, which really opens up the possibilities of what I can do. I’ve done this many times with my carpentry tools, and has worked really well for me.
I like the idea of the QCW with install from above just for ease of waste board change. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to go with the stand or just buy the frame and install it on a table. I do like the idea of the stand providing room for a vac and dust separator below since my shop is a little tight, as well as the built in T-track for a variety of clamps.
Q: Anyone have issues with the QCW shaking on the 1F leg stands both fixed and rolling while machining?
For the time being, I will be using the recommended makita palm router. At least until I familiarize myself with the whole operation and am confident enough before upgrading. The intent is to ultimately run a spindle for better performance, noise and the controllability.
Q: Would the “stiffy” upgrade be of any benefit with the initial setup with the makita router, or would it help more with the spindles added weight?
Q: Regarding spindles, does anyone have any suggestion’s on one? Preferably an air cooled one, but not opposed to water cooled if its a better choice.
As far as accessories, I’m not sure if all of these are crucial but I’m sure they will make for a better experience while using the machine.
Dust collection: I will likely use the 1F suck-it dust boot pro just for its ease of install/removal. I understand there is another 3d printed one that’s in a combo pack, looks like it provides better viewing. Any thoughts on both?
XYZ Probe: I personally think its a no brainer given the cost and making setup easier, but I’m interested in hearing thoughts.
Tool Setter: Ive seen news about 1F having one coming soon. I think this is a great idea for project requiring multiple bits. I know you can make your own, but curious to see what theirs will cost.
Bits: I’m pretty familiar with bits as I have used a lot of up cut/down cut and v groove bits in my line of work. I will have to get used to certain feed speeds as by hand router is different then by machine, but I have the basic knowledge of them.
Ok, silly question time.
Now, here is where things get interesting. The machine and all its components I am confident I can figure out and setup, the software however is a different story. I haven’t touched a CAD program since 2005 when I was in high school and even then, it was very basic 2d stuff we were doing. This will ultimately be the learning curve for me, but I have the time while waiting for the machine to gather knowledge from YouTube and this forum to learn the basics. From what I can gather, you need a software to draw a project, and another software to turn said project into code that the machine can understand, is that correct?
I was looking at Vcarve Pro because it looks feature packed, is recommended by 1F and does not limit project size. It looks to me like you can do some drawing in that program and export it to use on the CNC. Is this the case, or is it just for very basic projects and you need another software for anything more complicated? (Fusion 360, Sketchup, etc) Im not familiar with the software end, so apologies in advance for the silly question.
I think that’s everything. I’ve spent the last few months figuring out what I ultimately want as far as machine and accessories, and the Elite series has really got me excited. I’m really looking forward to building cool stuff both as a stand alone cnc project and using the cnc to add to projects I usually make in my day job. This forum from the little bit I have read seems to be a wealth of knowledge and an awesome community all around. Im looking forward to being a part of it until my machine arrives, and into the future. This is definitely a large investment, but I am confident it will pay off both monetarily and enjoyment.
Thanks in advance for any help,