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Raz'r

solid printer, mill, laser mapping device

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If you want to mill molds I think a used Taig CNC mill (I bought mine for $1000) would be a better option. It sounds like the milling head on the Fabtotum is just a toy, it's limited to cutting foam, balsa, and "light aluminum" whatever that is. It looks like the Fabtotum used a gantry router design instead of a milling machine design, and the gantry router setup (where the head moves and the work stays in place) is just not as accurate or stiff to handle cutting real materials.

 

My Taig does great with plastics and aluminum and is reasonable in steel (but requires light depth of cut). It can't do any 3d printing though. Adding a touch probe was inexpensive and easy. 12" x 6" work envelope is pretty useful and the high speed head works nicely for detail work.

 

If I had a garage I'd buy an older industrial machine instead. I've been working on a friend's Bridgeport Boss 5 (which weighs about 5000lbs, so it can't go in my basement) one and off for the last year. He bought it for $2500 and we've updated the existing controls with new PC hardware and setup LinuxCNC on it for about another $300 in hardware. It hogs out steel like it is butter, has a 15x30" work envelope, and just has much better capabilities than any hobbyist machine in the same price point.

 

Next up is a 4x8' gantry router, and I'm thinking I may experiment with making a new rudder or centerboard for my 505 on that. Use the router to make a foam core, then glass over it.

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Nothing wrong with balsa. It's just limiting if that is about as dense of a material as you can machine.

 

A half-hull would be fun, wish I could find drawings for my boat (Pearson 28-2).

 

Boat wise on my Taig I've made a lot of backing plates, cut instrument holes in enclosures, made a replacement deadlight for a Catalina 25, and that's probably about it. I mostly use it to make bicycle frame components (dropouts) and tooling. 316 would probably be pushing it, 303 and aluminum machine very nicely, mild steel is okay too.

 

If anyone in Seattle has a real interest in this stuff I'm happy to show you a bit of how it works.

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If I had 1000 expendable dollars I would buy that in a heart beat.

 

You can't put a Taig CNC mill in your home office...

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Not going to disagree there. People do put benchtop mills like the Taig in their home office, but I never understood how they avoid trashing the home office in doing so. Even with an enclosure there is usually a mess of coolant and small chips near my Taig.

 

Here is an example:

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Does look like a cool toy, but a toy none the less... Being limited to balsa wood and foam would get boring after a while.

You really need to be able to accurately cut parts from plastic or aluminum to make anything useful.

 

We have a Taig CNC in the shop, its proven to be a champ, coolest tool we own.

Even with an enclosure, chips end up all over the bench and floor around it. I don't think any CNC is something you would want sitting on your office desk. Not to mention the noise...

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