Newbie Question: Starting, Learning, CNC, and Laser

I’m sorry to write such an all encompassing post. I have a few questions and would appreciate any help. I’ll try keeping them simple:

  1. As a newbie, with no background in CNC’s, is this easy to get up and running? I know that’s not a straightforward question, as everyone has different strengths, but I’m just looking to get some opinions here.
  2. How deep does the laser cut?

I was on the fence between a laser cutter and a CNC and decided on this. There are some smaller cheaper options, but ultimately, it seemed like this would be more of a machine that I can learn and grow to do signs, etc. Anyway, I would much appreciate some answers, thanks in advance!

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Welcome to the club Digitalmaster!

The machine is probably the easiest on the market to assemble and get running. It is just the software (learning curve) I found most challenging.

I’ve learned that this forum is chock full of experts (though I’m sure most don’t consider themselves as such) who are sources of great knowledge when needed.

I’ve not been involved with laser work yet so, hopefully, others will chime in on that.

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Thanks for your response! I’m probably going to go another route for the laser anyway, but do plan on ordering this… I’m more worried about the software, as you mentioned that’s the more difficult part. I’m proficient in Illustrator, so not sure if that helps much.

I think having the Illustrator background can only help. I find the Computer Aided Design (CAD) portion comes easier to me (also new to CNC) than the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) portion of the software. The CAD part you need to design very accurately what you want to create while the CAM part you are telling it How to create it, what size cutters to use, the nature of the tool path for the machine to follow etc.

This forum and you tube is your friend, there are lots of tutorials available for all the popular CAD/CAM software.

Welcome aboard

Thank you! Now I just need to finish placing my order and wait 4 months to get it…

Hello @digitalmaster - welcome to the forum! As Phil said, the machine is dead easy to set up. The learning curve for the CAD and CAM can be very steep and difficult for some. Since you have time before your machine is delivered, you should have time to get familiar with all the jaron. There is a post somewhere here with some acronyms. And I’ll add a shameless plug for my CNC 101 series :slight_smile:

As for the laser, it is only 7.5watts, so more burn than cut. You can cut paper and cardboard and very thin wood, but that is about it.

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Thanks, will check out the book. I just placed my order. Decided against the laser for now, more interested in everything in the other stuff anyway. Looking forward to creating some things thouogrh!

@digitalmaster You’re going to find a lot of similarities with Illustrator and most cad/cam packages. Rather than reinventing the wheel, they tend to use a very similar range of commands. The most popular in this community is the Vectric Vcarve, of which there are two versions, Desktop and Pro. The biggest difference is the Desktop version is limited in size to 24" x 24" , while the Pro version is only limited by the size of your machine, although with tiling even that is not a limit. Don’t repeat my mistake , bone up on the software while you wait for the machine to arrive. As @cyberreefguru said, there are many videos to help you out. The software is available as a free trial download, you can learn on it but you won’t be able to download or run toolpaths. Welcome to the forum.

For my dedicated laser the only software I use to create designs is illustrator. I’m not sure if the same can be true for the laser on the Cnc.