View Full Version : Desktop CNC Systems - Need Advice

09-15-2004, 01:39 PM
I wish to purchase a "desktop" cnc milling system. I have looked at Sherline, Taig,
and MAXNC. I am not an experienced cnc machinist, however I have experience running
a Milltronics Partner III CNC Mill (which is a "full size" industrial machine) at my
local Vo-Tec school and I wish to purchase a small cnc mill for small projects and
learning. My current budget is @3000.00 to get started, not including computer/pc.
Features that I am looking for are:

Quality Machine
Established Manufacturer/Supplier
Flexible/Robust Software
Conversational Controller Programming Feature
Compatibility with established CAM/CAD software
Ready to roll system (don't want to have to build it or retrofit it).

thanks in advance for your time and advice!

[This message has been edited by rtremaine (edited 09-15-2004).]

09-15-2004, 03:32 PM
I think listening to others.. Sherline.. I'd buy a full package.. It comes with EMC/Linux installed.

Check ebay for a bargain.

I have a bridgeport cnc.. Once you go to 2hp, you can't go back.

I love my machine. Have made it run with a joystick for manual operation.

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-17-2005).]

09-15-2004, 03:57 PM
I'm looking at buying a desktop system too. I own a Sherline 5400 manual mill and absolutely love it. Two things concerns me about cnc-ing the sherline, the leadscrews and the Z-axis.

Leadscrews: They are 1/4" diameter. When new I could get .003" backlash but now I run about .005-.008 because of wear near the center of travel. True they are pretty cheap from Sherline but even .003" is kindof borderline.

Z-axis: The height seems to hunt a little. This is a pretty well documented problem with the Sherlines. Manually I tend to rough to a z-height and then tighten the gib and take the final .002" which seems to work. But with cnc this method would be tough to say the least!

I went to a local cnc shop and he recommended the Taig mill over the Sherline. The Taig has huge leadscrews compared to the sherline. His in the shop had about .0015 backlash and seemed to work extremely well. We also have a manual Taig mill here at work and it to has about .0015-.002 backlash and has been abused heavily.
One thing about the taig, the motor is weak. The local cnc guy says most people replace the motor and spindle with a sherline unit.

My 2 cents.