Mobile CNC Router
#11
  
I was watching an episode of This Old House, and they showed this mobile CNC router.  I haven't seen anything like this before, so I thought I would share.

Jump to 40 seconds for the CNC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHQC8A9Gnt0

I'm sure it's a bit pricey, but all CNC seems that way to me.
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#12
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
(03-15-2020, 03:50 PM)farmerj111 Wrote: I was watching an episode of This Old House, and they showed this mobile CNC router.  I haven't seen anything like this before, so I thought I would share.

Jump to 40 seconds for the CNC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHQC8A9Gnt0

I'm sure it's a bit pricey, but all CNC seems that way to me.

Those are a really neat idea, and I’m sure you could do quite a bit with one.

For the home hobby workshop, CNC has gotten a great deal more achievable over the last several years.

It used to be, that you needed a CAD program to draw which was several hundred dollars, and then a CAM program that had to be compatible with your CAD and put out G-code that your machine could use, and then a G-code sender like Mach-3
So well over 1K in software just to get started.   Then you needed to put a hardware package together, and the electronics to run it
The controller was going to set you back $500 plus etc...

Now, you can find a used X-carve that somebody has upgraded the hardware on to much more robust machine. I have bought 2 for less than 1K without the control box spend a couple hundred on making a GRBL based controller on the Arduino uno and you have a machine that will run g-code.

The software has gotten infinitely more user friendly as well.

If you want something 2.5D you can use one of several low cost programs like Easel for the x-carve, or free like carbide create for the Shapeoko, and output G-code straight from a free or low cost program that will run on GRBL 

And for true 3D you can use fusion 360 which is also capable of putting G-code out that is compatible with GRBL and as long as your not using it commercially, it’s free as well.
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#13
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
I have seen this demoed either on TV or Youtube.

The nice thing is that it's portable.
If all you want to do is trace lines, it would probably be fine most of the time.

The problem is that you can not do 2.5d or 3d work with it. As the surface becomes shaped, you no longer
have a flat surface to run your router on.   Another disadvantage is the need to put that expensive tape down.

Unless you really need one for field work, I think a tradtional CNC (even a small one) would be a better choice.

A traditional CNC also lets you put a rotary axis on it (basically a CNCed lathe). I just used mine this weekend to start to cut table legs.. really nice feature that you would not be able to do with the handheld one.
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#14
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
(03-15-2020, 06:49 PM)JDuke Wrote: Those are a really neat idea, and I’m sure you could do quite a bit with one.

For the home hobby workshop, CNC has gotten a great deal more achievable over the last several years.

It used to be, that you needed a CAD program to draw which was several hundred dollars, and then a CAM program that had to be compatible with your CAD and put out G-code that your machine could use, and then a G-code sender like Mach-3
So well over 1K in software just to get started.   Then you needed to put a hardware package together, and the electronics to run it
The controller was going to set you back $500 plus etc...

Now, you can find a used X-carve that somebody has upgraded the hardware on to much more robust machine. I have bought 2 for less than 1K without the control box spend a couple hundred on making a GRBL based controller on the Arduino uno and you have a machine that will run g-code.

The software has gotten infinitely more user friendly as well.

If you want something 2.5D you can use one of several low cost programs like Easel for the x-carve, or free like carbide create for the Shapeoko, and output G-code straight from a free or low cost program that will run on GRBL 

And for true 3D you can use fusion 360 which is also capable of putting G-code out that is compatible with GRBL and as long as your not using it commercially, it’s free as well.

I can't help but think the learning curve for all this software would be steep, but I guess that would depend on your aptitude.

As someone who has no more room for more stationary tools, I could see this filling that niche.  It's far out of my price range anyway, so just a daydream for me.
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#15
  Re: RE: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 ([quote='JDuke' pid='...)
(03-16-2020, 11:27 AM)farmerj111 Wrote: I can't help but think the learning curve for all this software would be steep, but I guess that would depend on your aptitude.

As someone who has no more room for more stationary tools, I could see this filling that niche.  It's far out of my price range anyway, so just a daydream for me.

The software learning curve isn’t as steep as used to be.

Now that so much of its free, there are YouTube tutorials on how to work it.
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#16
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
The Shaer tape is $18.00 for a 150 foot roll, enough for a sheet and a half of plywood.
It uses SVG files from programs like Adobe Illustrator.
It can do things that no traditional CNC can, like inlay on your living room floor.
With the appropriate jig you can cut box joints and mortise and tenon joinery.
It’s awesome for cutting bow ties (or whatever shape you want) for slab tables.
Shaper was bought by Festool about a year ago and it uses a Festool router.
They have about 400 projects on their website that are free to use and there is a lot you can design on the machine itself (no additional software needed).

The cost is $2,499.00
It’s not for everybody but it’s pretty cool and takes up very little space in the shop.
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#17
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
Sorry guys... IMO this isn't worth considering as a CNC especially at that price. If you want something portable for 2d signs etc. buy a cheap template set or have someone with a "real" CNC make you some. If you really want a CNC then buy a "real" CNC.
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#18
  Re: RE: Mobile CNC Router by Lumber Yard® (Sorry guys... IMO th...)
(03-16-2020, 02:10 PM)Lumber Yard® Wrote: Sorry guys... IMO this isn't worth considering as a CNC especially at that price. If you want something portable for 2d signs etc. buy a cheap template set or have someone with a "real" CNC make you some. If you really want a CNC then buy a "real" CNC.

I can see buying something like this if the price was about 1/2 what it is and you really needed to put custom inlays in large surface, but you could also use a regular CNC to name templates for that then use a regular router.


I can also see how this could follow the way of the festool domino, in that I thought the domino was just a glorified cross between a dowel jig and a biscuit joiner.  There may be something that this does incredibly well that nothing else comes close to, but I certainly don’t see it yet, certainly not $2500 worth.
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#19
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
To be clear, the owner of Shaper isn't Festool, it is the parent company of Festool. Same as SawStop. More than a difference in semantics as it means that Festool dealers are not automatically dealers for Shaper (nor are they for SawStop).

The Shaper Origin should not be considered as a replacement for a gantry style CNC as it simply isn't the same thing. The two styles of CNC serve different markets and needs.

If your needs lean more toward making templates or one-off designs, the SO could be considered as an alternative to a gantry CNC.

For the same base cost (call it $2700 since you have shipping, tax and some consumables to get), you can't easily source a gantry CNC that will handle full sheets of plywood. Maybe 1/4 sheets if you accept some other limitations. In a small shop, the SO packs away when not in use and other than finding a place to stash a spoil board and maybe the a "vertical workstation", its footprint is that of a Systainer. In some cases, its portability makes it very useful for on-site work. The flooring industry is a good example but maybe not a reason for the average home workshop monkey to go buy one.

If on the other hand you need carving ability or are in a production environment and can't spare the manhours to run a Shaper, a CNC with automatic programming is probably a better option at any cost.

For me, the SO has worked out very well as my needs for CNC work tend toward templates and mounting fixtures for work. But I will say, its ability to do box joints of any (reasonable) size is really slick. Also, being able to engrave equipment mounting fixtures with various notes like ownership, input signal type, output signal type, etc has been great. And I've used it to help a friend with a project where the gantry CNC he had access to was going to require re-fixturing his workpiece three times (two workpieces so 6 set ups) due to it size vs. the working range of the CNC. We knocked out the work he needed in a few hours after he'd been fighting with designing his fixtures for a couple of days.

The running cost of the "Shaper Tape" isn't that great as there are alternative methods such as making re-usable sheets from existing tape, "tape boards" and printing your own after calibrating your printer appropriately. The cost in bits is probably comparable to that of a gantry CNC with the exception of the spindle limitation on the SO of 1/4" max. So one can't take heavy stock removal passes.

In a situation where multiple parts are to be made, a gantry style CNC will likely whoop the SO's behind in speed. In the same way a dovetail jig is faster when you have multiples with similar setups vs hand cutting a single drawer box.

A final difference is software support. The SO takes in SVG (standard vector graphic) files and it is up to the operator to manage feeds & speeds, depth of cut, offsets, etc. But creating the SVGs is pretty easy as there are paths from Fusion 360, Illustrator and full version of Sketchup for those with access (note Fusion 360 can be had for free under certain restrictions). Also programs like Affinity Designer, Inkscape and just about any other 2d cad that can generate DXFs can work. Converting from a DXF to an SVG is of course an extra step but easily accomplished. I've read of people getting the free versions of Sketchup to eventually create SVGs but it tends to be a multi step process. I use Fusion 360 and Inkscape.

So because of the SVG files, there is no intermediate CAM conversion step. For those that have dialed in their CNCs, this isn't much of a hurdle. And while I'm perfectly comfortable editing g-code, it is kind of nice not needing to do so.

Interestingly, there is a lot of haptic feedback while running the SO and you learn to feel how the bit is cutting vs. feed rate.
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#20
  Re: Mobile CNC Router by farmerj111 (I was watching an ep...)
I have been following this thing since before they sold it.  I would really like to have one, but just can't justify the expense.  People are doing some really nice work with it.
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