Getting more serious about purchasing a CNC. I'm looking at two different machines noted above. We are a high end residential shop. We are not processing tons of sheetgoods per week but the CNC capabilities would drastically speed up our box production. That being said we would also use the CNC to produce interior doors.
Has anyone had experience with either machine and what machine would you recommend for a shop like mine? Also flat table vs point to point. Recommendations?
I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to CNCs and I am trying to sort through the sales BS.
Biesse touts there machine like it was made by god himself.
Also I've heard the a five axis machine isn't a great tool for building interior doors as the router isn't heavy duty enough.
Thanks for your input as you are the people who know.
A pod and rail and a flat table are two different animals. You need to figure out what you would like to do with it before picking out which type to get. If you want to do flat panel processing a flat table is a way to go. You can also put pods on a some flat table machine. A pod and rail is really good for doing solid wood machining or boring pre cut panels like box sides and closet uppers and what not. As for which brand I would get the scm. Scm comes with alpha cam which is a real powerful software In which would work with any machine unlike the biesse that has biesse works which isn't very good and only works with biesse. It's also BS about the 5th axis isn't heavy enough for doors. They were made for solid wood maching which uses large cutter heads weighing up to 5lbs.
I have two flat table 5 axis routers. Both SCM machines. We do a lot of solid wood and a lot of cabinet parts. The flat tables allows us to do both. if you only build solid wood stuff the pod and rail is better because it is easier to undercut. I agree about alphacam it is extremely powerful and you can use it with other machines.
I've got both a pod & rail & a flat table. The flat table is much better for cabinet parts at the level we are. Our Komo runs 8 to 10 hours a day nested with one person except on week ends when a 2nd part timer runs it. The P2P has to have the panels pre-cut on the panel saw and might make sense if you were always stack cutting on the saw. Most flat table machines can be setup to use pods when required and Unless you are cutting some really massive lumber I think they are stout enough for most work. If you are going to be cutting a reasonable amount of sheets per day I'd get the self-load unload option. Reduces dust in air, cuts cycle time quite a bit but may not be available on a 5 axis machine. For panel processing get as many drills and tool change locations as you can afford.
We faced the same questions when buying our last CNC we looked at 5 axis but decided against for the reasons below.
A 5 axis flat table machine can be limited due to the clearance needed to get the spindle horizontal. In my opinion not worth the money. The spindle is not as heavy duty nor is it mounted as ridged to the machine frame. We chose to go with a Weeke Vantage 36L which is a flat table machine that has pods system as well. The flat table is the only way to go for cabinet parts and the pods are the way for the entry doors we do. We have a c-axis and a few aggregates for lock mortising, drilling sawing which require much less clearance than a 5 axis head. Also our spindle is heavy duty, mounted very ridged and liquid cooled. You really need this ridged mounting especially to make MDF doors without landing / tooling marks we go right form the machine to finishing with no sanding on 99% of the doors.
Good luck in your search!
Thanks for the responses so far everyone. I really appreciate the input. The responses thus far leave me almost where I started. It is really hard to pick just the right machine especially not knowing exactly how each will perform prior to purchase. Robert, your point about the instability of the 5 Axis machine has been brought up by competing salesman but I wasn't sure how valid it really was. True Z axis height was also raised as a very important issue. Not being familiar with the vagaries of the tooling available yet, this could be a six month research project ...... All input is appreciated.
That being said the SCM is a 4' x 17' flat machine that would enable us to set up for cabinet parts on one end and hardwood milling using pods on the other which seemed like a really good fit for what we do.
Keep the input coming. Alphacam vs. BiesseWorks/bSolid is also welcome. I think I'm hearing that Alphacam is more versitle, yes?
5x12 table. lot's of drills per Larry. What is gonna happen you decide to add closets to your scope ? W
We cut a 30 box kitchen in 6 hours and have it standing that afternoon. We use an auto doweler, bander and make the drawers and band them. We send everything to the machine with the design software. Don't kid yourself, draw it, get approved and send to code.
We have a Biesse 5x12, not made by God himself, but the chaps that did design did a good job. Very reliable
Watch this video and look for the 5 axis cnc. hope it helps.
If you are serious about these 2 machines, I would recommend going to see them in person. BIESSE owns HSD spindle which provides spindles and boring blocks to about 70% of the CNC manufacturers. The tech support offered by BIESSE is better in my mind because SCM relies on their distributors for service so it can vary from area to area. The warranty offered by BIESSE includes all components whereas I've heard other manufacturers limit the warranty on electronics to 6 months plus BIESSE offers a LIFETIME phone support warranty. As far as software goes, I am sure BIESSE works with AlphaCam too.
I think you need to rethink the idea of using a P2P with one end for solid wood and the other for panels. Reason #1. It is quick to change pod locations, even automated on some machines. You will have to change pod locations for almost every different part you make, wood or panel. If you are processing a panel job and using only one end of the machine it will waste too much time. The only way a P2P makes sense for panel work is to have enough repetitive parts that you can stack cut on the saw and pendulum process on the P2P. Otherwise the nested router will far out preform the P2P. As for a 5 axis router, never had one but the Z-axis clearance will need to be a lot more than what the panel processing model would be. The higher you raise the gantry the greater the stress, all other things being =. If you've got the $ go for the C-axis on a flat table. Even if the particular machine you get isn't specifically designed for pods you can get there with some modifications. The Z-axis clearance will still be an issue. Some manufacturers will make changes to their standard machine before construction begins, so you could order some extra Z. The bigger spindle motors on P2P machines are frequently water cooled, adding another complication and maintenance.
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