If you’re to enter the world of CNC manufacturing, you need both a router and the framework to support it. It’s essential to have a sturdy platform as well as a reliable router. Let’s review a kit from BobsCNC as well as one for the Shapeoko 3 to see which is the best for you.
BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit with DeWalt DW660 Router (450mm x 390mm x 85mm)
BobsCNC E3 Kit is a bargain for makers who want to begin manufacturing at home. It comes complete with a DEWALT DW660 cut-out tool as well as a rigid wooden frame. The frame is laser cut from Baltic Birch plywood, a very durable material often used for building furniture.
Once you assemble everything, the cutting area measures 17.7 by 15.3 by 3.3-inches in size. Mounted on the framework is the SG20U rail system with a GT2 bet drive for the X and Y axes, plus a 5/16-18 dual brass nut for the Z axis.
With regards to assembly, BobsCNC has a free manual with step-by-step illustrations available on their website. Owners have commented that the E3 Kit is easy to put together. Most pieces have tabs on them that fit into matching slots, a system that enhances the framework’s strength. There are also a number of screws to secure it all together.
The DEWALT router is a good choice for performing CNC work. It has a 5amp motor with up to 30,000rpm with no load, but it only weighs 3.2 pounds. As mounted in the kit, the router’s gantry height is 3.3 inches, limiting the maximum thickness of the material you can cut.
The DW660 takes both 1/8 and ¼-inch collets. And the bits are easy to change without tools because there is a spindle lock. The router’s turn-on, bump-off power switch is sealed against dust damage, a critical feature when cutting wood.
To control the router, BobsCNC includes an Arduino-based microprocessor connected through a USB cable. They recommend using the Java-based software program called Universal Gcode Sender Platform. This software is compatible with several operating systems and platforms including Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.
More features of BobsCNC E3 Router Engraver Kit:
- No laser module available
- Can cut stock longer than 17 inches long if you reference the X,Y positions in order to continue the job
Shapeoko 3 Custom Aluminum Fixture Mounting Table Plate Set by Ohio Diesel Parts
The Shapeoko CNC machine began as a Kickstarter crowd-funded project that grew into an enterprise. Version 3 of the Shapeoko mill is much improved over the first edition. But it doesn’t come with fixture plates so it’s complicated to affix material for cutting. That’s the reason why Ohio Diesel Parts sells this Aluminum Mounting Table Plate designed specifically for the Shapeoko 3. Unfortunately, the mill itself is not included.
What you’ll find in the box are two CNC-machined plates made of 1/2-inch thick aluminum. In fact, it’s 6061 billet USA aluminum, so it’s extra hard, and won’t warp with heat. The spoilboard halves are chamfered, and everything is ready to assemble.
As for assembly, you’ll need to use the hardware that came with your Shapeoko 3. But once you have it all put together, you’ll be ready to work with this quality upgrade to your CNC kit.
There are more than 400 mounting positions possible on the plates, making it easy to secure a wide range of materials while you cut them. The mounting holes are 5/16-18 NC coarse thread, all precision-machined and counter-sunk in a 1” by 1” center to center grid. Now you can hold all your work in place while you use your Shapeoko 3 to mill.
More features of the Shapeoko 3 Table Plate Set:
- Contact the manufacturer if you need clamps or studs
If you already have a Shapeoko 3, and you’re frustrated with the wooden base and stock mounting options, you may love the Custom Aluminum Table Plate Set from Ohio Diesel Parts.
On the other hand, if you’re shopping for a complete CNC kit including a router, get the one from BobsCNC. It offers everything you need to get started, and it’s easy to assemble.