Getting into CNC
  • I've been attracted to CNC for a number of years, but always chickened out for various reasons. The DIY projects on the internet seemed to lack rigidity and the results seemed disappointing. The cost of factory made units is out of the question for a hobbyist.
    For a year or so, I have been following a company called Inventables.com, and they have just come out with a new machine called the X-carve. It is self-assembly, but the parts look well engineered, and it is well priced for the hobbyist market. They have their own software, and everything seems to be very much "plug and play".
    I have no practical experience of this, and would be interested to hear comments, particularly regarding its suitability for cutting out clock gears and other small parts. For those interested, there are numerous videos of this machine on Youtube.
  • I can totally understand your caution, and in some respects it is a bit like buying a car, you only know what your getting once you get behind the wheel.

    Because of modern day manufacturing tolerances I would say that the accuracy of the machine can be seen as a given, stepper motors have become cheap and reliable, and the lead screws so spot on that play is as good as non existent.

    I would also be worried about the rigidity of such entry level machines, obviously they will all be able to cut some ply and do some carving, but as with all power cutting tools you are only going to get good results if it is not vibrating and flexing all over the place.

    I have taken a look at the X-Carve and it seems like a good machine, the fact that it uses 2 steppers for the gantry back and forth is a good sign.

    One question you should also ask is what do you want to do with your CNC router, if you are just intending to make a few clocks, carve a couple of signs and just generally have some fun with it then I would say the X-Carve could do the job.


  • Thanks, Dave. I'm glad you agree. Yes, I'd be looking to use it for clock parts, signs, toys and bits and pieces. I am also an advocate of good tools, but you don't need a Land Rover to go to the supermarket.
    From what I can see, the x-carve is so much better than its predecessor, and the rigidity is good, as long as you don't go silly on the bed size.
    I shan't be buying immediately, the machine only launched last month. I'll wait for more user reviews, but it's definitely on my wish list.