I am in the market for a CNC machine. Initial use will be in the
engraving of custom keyboard keycaps (plastic). I also want to use it
to make custom jigs to hold said keycaps for engraving, painting and
other manufacturing tasks. This tooling could be made out of almost
I would also like to have the ability to machine metal. Aluminum is
My budget is $10K or less. What are my options? I looked at the
small ShopBot machine and it looks very interesting. I am almost
certain that these machines not good for machining aluminum.
The engraving I have to do is small letters, about 0.050in to 0.125in
of height with (obviously) very small cutting tools. I thought that a
traditional vertical CNC machine may either be overkill for this or
just not adequate.
Given the very wide range of cutting that I want to do and the range
of materials, what are my machine choices?
Do I need to modify my thinking and try to go with a small table-top
engraving machine (about $3K) and then buy a low cost vertical CNC for
my tooling and aluminum work?
BTW, another requirement is that I need to be able to get from
Solidworks models or AutoCAD drawings to cutting as easily and
painlessly as possible.
13 years ago