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[DPRG] Looking for a CNC Mill?

Subject: [DPRG] Looking for a CNC Mill?
From: Sluggy! sluggy9912 at swbell.net
Date: Thu Nov 18 10:03:44 CST 2010

----- Original Message ----
From: "Quinones, Jose" <jquinones at ti.com>


>> I mean is free, so what can we expect?

One has to pay dearly for Microsoft Office, especially once you've also paid for 
Windows or MacOS, and *it* still sucks... :)

Beyond this one barb, however, I will save the commercial development vs open 
source development debate for another day...  

>> What do you guys recommend?

Let me first say that I do not have any actual hands-on experience with these 
machines. I have, however, done quite a lot of research into making my own 
replacement and custom parts for this and other hobbies.

This collection seems to have a lot of promise...

http://www.freebyte.com/cad/cadcam.htm

Some are mildly crippled (no "save" option) versions of commercial packages, in 
case you still want to pay for them... :)

An intriguing, yet far from free, alternative to cutting your own chips 
is http://www.emachineshop.com/

I came very near having a few specific parts done by them, but finally chickened 
out on price vs how bad I wanted them. Parts can very detailed and made from a 
large catalog of materials and just about every machining process imaginable. 
There is extensive online help in selecting appropriate processes for your 
desired material and quantity. For example, making a flat 2D cut piece can be 
cheaper cut with laser than with plasma, if the material is thin enough, but 
plasma might make a better edge. The guides help you choose and prices are 
updated as you make changes.

If you have a particularly clever or useful part, look into making a large 
enough quantity to sell some and recover your investment :) The initial setup 
for one part is the most expensive. The price each drops pretty quickly as you 
make more units. One of the things I was looking into was going to cost about 
$200 for the first unit, but 100 of them was about $300.

Sluggy!

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