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The minimum mini CNC engraver

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  • Bob La Londe
    I bought a couple hundred dollar CNC gantry router (bridge mill) several years ago. It worked "OK" as it was and I used it for some basic engraving work as it came, but I quickly realized it had major limitations. I spent more on motors and electronics upgrades than the machine cost after just a few weeks. I also found unnecessary backlash (pretty bad) simply due to construction methods. A few modifications and improvements were required to fix that. I removed the spindle and replaced it with a 1HP Bosch Colt Trim Router almost immediately. Since then I have used it for several years making wood plaques, and the occasional aluminum part. Recently its poor construction and lack of easy lubrication started causing it to kill Z-axis drivers. Since I was using a driver for it that had four drivers I just swapped the Z to the spare and used it for a couple more projects before that one also started faulting and failing.

    The original electronics and motors NEVER would have survived.

    If you are looking for a "bang for your buck" the 5.5" x 12" Taig mill does an adequate job when paired with a decent set of motors and electronics. Deepgroove1, Soigeneris, and several others offer one packaged complete except for a control computer and software. You still need to assemble it, but if you take your time and remember to manually lubricate it regularly you can get a lot of use out of it. I used mine commercially for a couple years running jobs that were insanely long for such a machine. I am not crazy about its lack of lubrication ports, but a decent grease every 4 hrs of operation should keep it running decently for a long time. Not withstanding my disagreement with another member about the practicality its not a super fast machine, but it can be made to do a decent job. Sadly from what I have seen you do need to take your time and setup it right with a periodic tear down and readjustment. Some years back I saw a video of a small shop that had a bunch of Taig mills all around the room cutting parts.

    There are gantry routers more than capable with a bigger work envelope, but they will not be a 2-300 machine you find from China on Ebay.

    Just my not so humble opinion.

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  • AD5MB
    started a topic The minimum mini CNC engraver

    The minimum mini CNC engraver

    I am looking for a CNC engraver to make PC boards, and to engrave serial numbers of my choosing into anodized 80 percent lowers. I have noticed that people who complain about things on eBay never read the manual, and frequenlty send the part back without asking for an authorization.

    Does anyone here have actual factual hands on experience with a low budget CNC engraver with he capability noted above?