Cabinetmaking

You are not logged in. [ Login ] Why log in
(NOTE: Login is not required to post)

Sliding table saw vs CNC

5/26/19       
Oggie Member

I'm mostly one (occasionally two) man shop looking to upgrade my cabinet parts cutting capabilities.

The main goal I want to achieve at this moment is chip-free cutting on both sides of double side 3/4" melamine boards and the same for laminated/prefinished 3/4" plywood boards. The size of boards I use is 4'x8'.
I make frameless cabinets, and cabinet doors are also just rectangular pieces of melamine, edgebanded with PVC.

So, till now I was somehow getting along with 12" cabinet saw. If the blade is sharp and I pay attention I mostly get chip free cuts on both sides, but that costs me time and energy (and some stress - I'm always afraid what I'll see when I flip the piece I just cut), and sometimes - more often recently - the quality of melamine boards is the deciding factor regarding the chipping; it looks that some of those have some hard particles inside, which - when encounter blade tooth - do not get cut but rather ejected through the bottom side of the board, leaving some "exit wounds" along the cut. I'm not sure that's what exactly happens but it sounds like that when cutting, and because I get like one feet of chip free cut, then the chip, and after it another feet of chip free cut.

I currently go through 20-30 boards per week (I usually spend 2 days on cutting and edgebanding, the rest of the week is assembling and installation, plus some countertops), and it takes me 20 min on average to cut one board.

In the meantime, I'll try to improve my cuts with saw blade dampeners/stabilizers, although I must say I don't expect much from that.

So, I think I either need something with a scoring blade or CNC.
If it's sliding table saw, than I would like to stay under $15K (or not much above), because I expect to overgrow it in about 2 years and that's something I could afford to pay now for the benefit of chip-free and worry-free cutting for the next 2 years, even if I don't use that machine ever again after those 2 years. And if it's CNC I would need some help in figuring out what would one cost that would at least stay within my current speed (20 min or less per board on average). The CNC would also grant me some additional "free" time (compared to current situation) that I could use on edgebanding and construction boring machines while it's cutting parts without me babysitting it (hopefully).

So, I assume CNC would be better choice (at least in the long run), but with CNC it's not my needs that dictate the choice of the machine, but rather my budget, and while I think I could get decent sliding table saw for around $15K, I need help figuring out what would be the price for some entry level CNC that could at least go through 60-80 boards per week for the next few years (at least 4) without falling apart or going through excessive servicing. Because, if I go now for CNC, I would probably not be able to replace it with better one in just 2 years.

My CNC software needs would be very modest: I use some self made Excel sheets that calculate cabinet parts based on cabinets dimensions and materials used. So, basically, just something that would read the list of parts, and nest it for cutting.

I'm sure many of you have been in the similar situation and I'm hoping you would share what you've done than and what do you think of that now.

If you're for sliding table saw with scoring blade - which one you recommend and what options you consider useful?

If you're for CNC - same questions...

I would also strongly prefer new machines to the used ones.

I know lot of it depends on what I'm expecting and trying to achieve, but let's just keep it simple by saying that I'm looking to double my current production within one year by outsourcing the installation of the cabinets (so that I can concentrate on just fabricating the cabinets), and double that once more within one more additional year by getting additional help in the shop along with one of these machines.

I've also looked at some of the vertical panel saws (on Youtube videos), but it looks to me that there's to much of bending down involved in using those machines, especially when you cut smaller parts?

Sorry for the long post, I've tried to paint my situation as accurately as possible.
Thank you all for your inputs.

O.

5/26/19       #2: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Karl E Brogger

If I could only have one saw in the shop, it would be a slider. With that said, I hate sliding tablesaws. Without a vacuum lift they are a pain in the rear to load and unload sheets, but they are super versatile.

A $15k budget isn't going to get you much for a slider if you are set on going new. I think some of the Felder saws are in that range, but I'm not impressed with the one Felder piece that we have. An acquaintance has a top of the line Felder, and I've used it a tiny bit, and it does seem decent. I'd still rather have a Altendorf, or a Martin. I'd probably lean towards the Altendorf with no real reason.

I'm not real biased on tool brands, but when it comes to panel saws, I wouldn't buy anything other than a Streibig. I bought mine in 2010 I think, and it was probably my best decisions up until getting the cnc. There isn't much bending over. Scoring isn't necessary for crosscuts as you can do a shallow climb cut as you're bringing the saw up, plunge to full depth, then complete the cut. You can do it on a rip, but it's sorta awkward. There is scoring options though. A vertical panel saw is kind of a one trick pony and pretty much useless for anything other than turning large rectangles into smaller rectangles. I think a Compact Plus like I've got is close to $30k nowadays. Colonial Saw is great to deal with the few times I've called for parts or questions as well. A really nice thing about a vertical panel saw is you can gang cut parts. Not always useful, but it's twice as fast, with no negatives, when you can do it. Things like drawer bottoms we cut manually since it's faster than the cnc because of this. We can cut up to six pieces of 1/4" material at a time.

A CNC is a large investment, and it's not magic. It takes some effort and time to learn how to use one. We're six month in with ours, and I still screw up something small and stupid on the regular. But it's well worth it. I consider myself to be pretty darn good at cutout. Using a vertical panel saw, a 16" tablesaw for ripping, a Northfield for dados, and a 50 hole Gannomat line bore I would average about 45 minutes a sheet from rack to parts leaned up ready to go. That didn't include stretchers, nailers, or shelves. Which excluding the shelves were cut on the benches during assembly. The cnc cuts a sheet for me on average in about five minutes. That includes shelf holes, all the dado's/rabbets, and holes when needed for hinge mounting. I spend another 3-5 minutes clearing parts, blowing off the spoilboard, and pulling a new sheet on. I can do 40 sheets in a 8 hour day. 40 sheets used to take me about 30 hours manually running three saws and a linebore. (all of which were right close together) The cnc is the best money I've spent yet. It isn't very useful for us in processing hardwood though. If you're doing slab fronts from sheetstock you can mill all of your hinge holes on the cnc as well.

I don't think anyone can tell you what to get for a router. I was looking at Anderson, Biesse, and Weeke. All based on the availability of technicians and parts. Shop Sabre is literally 15 minutes from my house and about 25 minutes from my shop, and I didn't go with them, though I know plenty of people that run them and are quite content. I wouldn't go with a cheap machine though. We're idiot woodworkers, not service techs. You don't want to be working on that stuff constantly.

5/26/19       #3: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Oggie Member

Thank you Karl for your detailed response.

I'm not totally opposed to used machinery, I think I could go with used slider or vertical panel saw, but I'm not sure about used CNCs. My thinking is, people may be selling their good old school machinery when stepping up to CNC, but there're not many reasons to cell your CNC unless it's problematic, underpowered for the task or outdated?

99.9% of all my needs is just cutting melamine/plywood rectangulars into smaller rectangulars. For the remaining 0.01% my current cabinet saw is ok. So, maybe vertical panel saw would be ok after all.
According to your experience, which machine would be faster/easier to use to cut those parts: slider or VPS (without taking the sheet loading part into consideration; there are some "panel handling" carts that I think would help with loading the sheet onto slider without breaking my back every time)?

I'll upload some cut sheets to illustrate what I usually do, so whoever wants can have a look at what I need to cut and get some idea.
You may notice that my cut sheets are optimized in a way that i can first divide whole sheets into 2-3 smaller pieces with single cross cut that I execute on my vertical panel saw (but one that is way bellow the grade we're speaking here about (you may get an idea what it is if I tell you it has $70 handheld Makita circular saw mounted on a sliding cart that slides on two steel pipes:). Then I can easily manage those smaller pieces on my cabinet saw. I think I would be good for some time even If I could only have a regular cabinet saw with scoring blade, but I don't think there are any.

About your CNC, could you please share which one did you get, what software are you using and some estimated costs of all that?
By the way, I was always wondering what kind of cutting bits are used on CNCs, how long do they last (how many sheets) and how much they cost? Few times I've been routing manually through some melamine or laminated/plywood and it seams that those manual router bits get dull after only few feet, regardless which ones I use - cheap or expensive ones?!

Thank you,
O.


View higher quality, full size image (1478 X 782)


View higher quality, full size image (1478 X 764)


View higher quality, full size image (1474 X 754)

5/26/19       #4: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
daniel wipf

from my experience considering the situation you are in at the moment I would strongly suggest a sliding table saw.
you can go through a lot if 4 by 8 sheets in a day.
that as what we are doing right now starting up.
and as far as a brand name what I would do is check out a cantech. they have a fully automatic sliding saw with the computerized fence and the digital crosscut stops for around 13k a very nice saw.

5/26/19       #5: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Karl E Brogger

I'd agree there's a lot of outdated automated equipment out there, a lot not worth looking at. I got lucky, I bought my router used at an auction. I think the owner had some medical issues and was retiring. Or he was just sick of it. The machine was less than two years old and had 242 hours on it, and I paid a bit less than half of new. The auction was in the middle of nowhere, and was run by a local auction service so it didn't have the reach like IRS or Machinerymax would have. I paid $53k for the router with tax, another $6k to move it, the tech to do the startup and give it his seal of approval was another $1600. I put a dedicated dust collector on it, that was another $5k. I probably spent $500 on tooling and some more tool holders right away. The numbers are fuzzy and there's something I'm forgetting. I figured I had a bit less than $70k into it all said and done. When I was looking at new, I was budgeting $150k, which was likely a little high, but I like to lie to myself so I feel good when it costs 130.

I think the vertical panel saw is faster and easier to be accurate, even taking the loading of full sheets out of the equation. I don't have a slider in my shop, and I don't have a ton of time on a one either.
So take that for what it's worth. I think a vertical panel saw is also marginally safer, being the blade is away from you. Though I did try and take the tip of my finger off with it last fall when showing a new guy how to use a panel saw... So there's that. No stitches, just wounded pride.

I have a Weeke Vantech 480. It's pretty much their baseline machine, its a 4x8 table.

Melamine is hard on bits. Somebody else should weigh in because we don't do much melamine. I think I've read most people are getting 50-100 sheets on average out of a compression bit before chipping is problematic. With plywood, we probably ran 200 sheets before I started wondering if I should swap out the cutout bit. The bit we use for dados doesn't seem to wear as quickly. We're using Vortex, they're semi close and if I order something, it shows up the next day.

A cnc spindle doesn't compare to a hand held router. RPM is likely too high with a handheld, the feed rate is erratic, your arms aren't as stiff and stable as a gantry. You are probably using a straight bit versus a bit with some shearing action.

My cabinets are machining intensive. Even more so since I got the cnc. Partitions are dado'd into decks. As are stretchers (front and rear) on drawers, and the nailer rabbeted into ends, and notched on partitions on base cabinets. On wall cabinets the bottom deck runs to the wall, so a rabbet has to be plowed out to accept the cabinet back. Now with the cnc, my nailers are dado'd to index the partitions, as are my stretchers. That way the benches don't really need to measure much, (other than to double check the idiot in the office doing drawings, me) The stretchers that go through partitions are also dado'd and the partition is notched to accept them. I didn't dado nailers or stretchers doing it manually before, but it's fricking awesome. We even setup a joint for running partitions through decks, like when you have an opening above another, in a sort of half lap that is all notched and dado'd together. We don't bother with nails and glue on those. It'd not going anywhere once the frame and back are on, it literally can't move.

If you're doing euro, it's super simple to set everything up with blind dado's.

We're using Mozaik for the bulk of the cabinet parts. It creates the programs for the cnc, and cutlists for doors, and drawers. We don't use a cut list for face frames.
Odd ball stuff we cut in the cnc software. Woodwop. I'm very fortunate in that one of my guys has a ton of experience with it and when I get stuck on something stupid, he bails me out. I still have him double check anything I'm squeamish about. I don't want to ding up my baby. I hated Woodwop at first. But it's capable of a lot more than I am at this point. It's capable of more than my machine is as well. With a new machine, I think you get a week of training at Stiles on Woodwop and running the machine. I like that you can build variables and make anything parametric. It's nice once you have the math figured out just changing a number in a variable table to tweak it for another application.
I didn't like Mozaik at first either. I tried it four or five years ago, and wasn't impressed. I tried it again after getting the cnc and it had improved greatly. After doing a few training sessions I was pretty confident it was the correct choice for my shop.
You can do a trial subscription for three months. It comes with a couple hours of training. I highly suggest making use of the training to make a fair assessment as to whether the software is right for you or not. I really like it. I like their way of doing business, and I like that the software is constantly improving. Roger Taylor has put together solid platform that I think fits the smaller shop extremely well. Probably works well in big shops too, but running 50 guys is well outta my league and I'd be talking out my ass if I commented. Mozaik has a forum as well that is helpful.

The full CNC version costs $125 a month. Additional seats are another $25 a month. Another software company, on this planet... will rape you for each additional seat and charge you more per year than the annual Mozaik subscription just to maintain your status as current. And they'll charge you for the post processor. And want $25,000+ up front. I don't care for their way of doing things.

A cnc is a lot of money though. And it won't go real well at first. For me, it's been a godsend. We're small, and I was the only one doing cut out. It's freed up hundreds of hours a year for me personally, it has greatly simplified some odd ball tasks, and it has expanded what we are capable of. I can't say it's right or wrong for you, but it has been very right for me. I'm not selling my Streibig anytime soon either, it's too handy. I might have them tuck that thing in the coffin with me. When I went out on my own it was the one tool I desperately wanted and it took me seven years to get one.

A slider is a much less expensive option. Who knows what direction this little nightmare house of cards we call the economy is going to go. I have a Cantek dovetailer. It's not a great machine, but I think Cantek builds a product that is an excellent value. It does the job well, it's just not very refined.

5/27/19       #6: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Derrek

Iím a CNC guy. Never had a slider but I did have 2 different beam saws. I converted my pod and rail to flat table 8 years ago. Thought Iíd keep the bean saw, after the first week I had the beam saw saw and havenít looked back. I now have a biesse rovers with autoload/unload. You donít need that much. Those sheets you have above are a piece of cake. Drilled for line boring, hinge and dados for assembly then cut to size with no chipping, ready for banding and assembly you could easily run 25 sheets in a day with one guy. You would use a 1/2Ē compression bit. We get 35-70 sheets out of a new bit, we sharpen twice then dispose of them. We use cabinet vision and itís expensive to get set up, I hear good things about Mozaic. I sold my old rover B for 20k and it still had a lot of good life in it. I wanted to keep it but didnít have the space.

5/27/19       #7: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Snaglpuss

For what your doing - cutting melamine, get a slider. For your 15k budget you could get a nice used Altendorf. Better a 10 or 15 year old good used German saw than a new Asian one that you don't know if you can get parts for in 10 years from now.
That being said we had a cnc and no slider for about 18 or 19 years and then bought a used Altendorf. It has been very useful for cutting the weird and oddball stuff that runs through our shop.
We cut mostly plywood, MDF, and plastics.
We have done very little Melamine in the last 22 years so a slider as first choice for us didn't make sense, but for what you doing and your budget it probably does.

5/27/19       #8: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
james e mcgrew  Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

I have two sliders and half a dozen deltas and Sawstops, all have a reason and get used daily yet all of our casework is done on a CNC, MY first was a single head (Spindle) and I had to learn every work around to make cabinets with 250.00 programs like Cabinetpartspro and vectric, All of that was under 15k to start. now we have a 508 Automatic tool changer and are a larger shop as a result, two pieces of equipment solved far more problems than any others over the years,, 1) an edgebander 2) a CNC.

5/27/19       #9: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Karl E Brogger  Member

Website: http://www.sogncabinets.com

If I had it to do over again. I'd start with a cnc and an edge bander. You can pay for everything else with those two tools

5/27/19       #10: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Rob Young  Member

Website: nutekmachinery.com

Eventually you're going to want to get a reliable CNC. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't rush into that kind of purchase at this point. Your success with a CNC is going to be dependent on how prepared you are before you purchase one. The quality of the CNC is extremely important but so is properly integrating into your production. I say all that as someone that is currently setting up a showroom with the CNC as the center piece. I have a new slider under 15K that I was planning on listing in the classifieds next weekend. Feel free to contact me.

5/27/19       #11: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
rich c.

I'd get a vertical panel saw with scoring. Got to be a lot of them out there collecting dust.

5/27/19       #12: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Jim Herron

I do most of my cutting on an older Striebig. I like it. Built like a tank and cuts very quickly and quite accurate.
I also have a Weeke pod and rail machining center, bought from a high school, 15yrs old with 18hrs on it for 3250.00 and had Stiles setup and calibrate it.
I do all my line, hardware, and assembly boring on that. Easy to program at the machine so no extra software.
I can, but very seldom do, cut oversize and route the perimeter of panels. They mostly come off the Striebig ready for edgebanding.

5/28/19       #13: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Oggie Member

Thank you guys for all your inputs, they're invaluable.

I agree that CNC is most likely best thing for one/two man shop, or for small shops in general, if one can afford it, which is probably not my current situation. That's why I was talking about some "temporary" solution for like 2 years, expecting that by than I may be able to afford one without stressing myself to much, both financially and in all other ways that go with that.
Being one man shop does not leave much time for "fooling around" with new machines and software, because if I'm doing that that means there's nobody else bringing money to the table and nobody taking care of my customers, so it may be risky to make such jump at this time and in this situation.

After all your opinions I'm thinking about outsourcing cutting and edgebanding operations and see if that will work, in order to skip buying slider just as some short-time temporary fix, and try to save for CNC.

I'll give it some more thought in next few days and see what will come out of it.

Thank you all!

5/28/19       #14: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Oggie Member

Well, that being said, I would appreciate your opinion on what kind of CNC you would consider as acceptable solution for one-two man shop.
When I say "acceptable" I mean the cheapest one that would work for my - above mentioned - needs, and of course one that would satisfy your criteria, as experienced users of such equipment, because I can't think of much else but "to cut 60 sheets per week without major failures". I don't think speed would mean much to me at this moment, because I have other things to do in the shop while cnc is cutting parts, so basically if it could produce parts precise enough for cabinetry business without something braking down every month, that would be it.
Also, I do not have any super long term plans for that machine, 3-5 years of decent service is ok at this moment, I'll think of next better machine after that.

Thank you

5/28/19       #15: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Paul Miller

Website: http://MCCWOODWORKING.COM

For the immediate time, the learning curve for a sliding bed saw is nothing compared to a CNC. You can immediately increase your productivity with a sliding bed saw, probably cut your time on the saw in half. I have an Altendorf that I bought 30 years ago and I have never regretted it. We have had to make repairs, parts are not free, but they are available.

Having said that, the most important tool in my shop is my CNC, without a doubt. I have an AXYZ with a 144" x 80" table. That is a large table. I bought the AXYZ in 2000, so it is 19 years old. I have had to replace parts and the learning curve was really difficult. At the age of 50, I went to school to learn AutoCAD. I had a real fear of the CNC technology. Best decision I ever made in my shop.

You mentioned counter tops. My solid surface seams are perfect. Usually I can glue them up on my table, Cutting sink cut-outs is so simple. I can go to the sink manufacturers web site and usually they will provide a DXF file for the sink we are using. I can download it, place it on my drawing. If it is a laminate top, we cut at a speed of 350 IPM so, to cut a normal double bowel kitchen sink will take about 20 seconds. If it is a solid surface top, we cut solid surface at a speed of 60 IPM and that might take three minutes to cut.

A CNC will open up so many opportunities, some days, you will just look at it working and smile to yourself. Before I bought my AXYZ, I visited some manufacturers of CNC. While at one of the manufacturers, I told the Representative showing me around that I did not know AutoCAD and that I only had one person working for me that knew AutoCAD and this person didn't have any real cabinet experience. He said to me that it is a consensus opinion that it is easier to teach a Cabinetmaker AutoCAD than it is to teach someone who knew AutoCAD cabinetmaking. Once you get a CNC, you will learn to do a lot more than just cutting cabinet parts, but that is a good start.

If I were in your position, I would probably buy the slider, but I would definitely make plans for a CNC.

5/28/19       #16: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
james e mcgrew  Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

Since you asked, I have a CAMaster 508 ATC. it was not my first machine and I like you had no money to spend on such an animal in one day,

The most important thing you can do is due diligence your homework on this will be what makes this successful. NO salesman can do that for you, remember he makes car payments with your money just like you do.

if you want call me on Saturday My number is on contact page of my website.

I will be glad to tell you of the 6 months i spent before seeing machines and then buying one. I got to the right people and my first 15k machine paid it self off in two months, I have always been proud of that as in the mid 2000.s guys like me were not to have CNC machines, little and mid size affordability was a thing of the future, That has all changes now and there are 3-5 mid size you can trust and a whole lot of larger expensive machines. I did not have "on phone or visiting tech" money. I had to learn it for myself, be able to work on it myself I moderate a machine forum for guys like us feel free to check it out.


View higher quality, full size image (2320 X 1305)


View higher quality, full size image (2320 X 1305)

http://camheads.org

5/28/19       #17: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Ryan

We cut on a slider for 15 years and then got a CNC and never looked back. We are using Mozaik and once setup correctly all of your shelf holes are drilled, blind dados, holes for hinges and drawer runner, and all parts are cut perfect and square. When we were looking we knew it would speed up cutout time but its the rest other stuff you don't realize that really saves you. With blind dados your boxes go together twice as fast. Having holes for runners and hinges allows you to put these in while the parts are flat on your table. If I had 15k in cash to spend I would keep it in the business for cash flow and finance a CNC. Spending about 60K on a Camaster or something like that the payments would be way less than what you can pay your part time help. If you spend the time learning the software you can probably double your production without hiring anyone to help. Make sure you get a good vacuum pump, have good dust collection, and clean compressed air. If I were starting a new shop today I would buy a CNC and an edgebander and maybe a saw stop.

Also this will allow you to get rid of your line bore.

5/28/19       #18: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Pat Gilbert

As an alternative to buying Iron, you could but some software (cheaper kind without the CNC link)

The most important thing in the cabinet business is sales. Focus on sales.

Cabinet parts are easily purchased. Or even stock cabinets or the heresy of Chinese cabinets

This way you will develop a more remunerative skill without the risk/expense of buying iron.

As to the other IMO a router is the easy choice

5/28/19       #19: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Harold morantz

Website: http://morantz cabinets.com

If you get a slider, there are plenty of good used ones and get a tiger rip fence. It will pay for itself very quickly. We have two sliders, both with the tiger fence. We also have a forklift to feed sheets so one man can work safely. Change your cut list planning to rip and crosscut. It will use more material, but at 22.00/sheet for white melamine, it does not pay to keep turning that sheet. Harold

5/29/19       #20: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Pat Gilbert

Unless you can book cut or stack cut sheets a cnc is faster because all the holes are drilled without further processing needed.

5/29/19       #21: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Oggie Member

So many good advises, so many different experiences :)

Thank you all for your valuable inputs, it's always interesting to have a peak into someone's else shop :)

Anyway, from your posts (and pictures) I've tried to deduce the answer to my main question: the price tag for entry-level cnc capable of cutting cabinet parts for one-man shop. It looks like it may be somewhere in the range $30-60K if I'm not mistaken, but that's still big span.
Any special recommendations regarding model/manufacturer?

James E McGrew:

1. From your photo, it looks like you have some DIY vacum pump system on your cnc. On a quote I got from some cnc manufacturers those were like $10K, can one save some money by improvising?

2. You said you started with a CNC under $15K... That is very interesting, since it looks like nobody today consider machines with that price tag to be suitable for cabinetry (unless maybe used). Could you please say few more words about your experience with that one? Do you think if there's any decent machine today under $30K that could cut cabinet parts in a production environment?

5/29/19       #22: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
james e mcgrew  Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

My 25 HP FPZ vacuum is on the other side of the CMU wall...

I started with a single spindle used CAMaster, if i knew then what I know now I would have waited for an ATC, that said I ordered machine # 2, 8 weeks later, that said "Buy your second machine first"

5/30/19       #23: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Pat Gilbert

An ATC is a must, the cool thing is that you or an employee can run the machine while doing another task like edgebanding

Axyz also makes a good machine at a value price i.e. around 20k or so for a used one

Be careful if you go this route as older machines inevitably require considerable repair. This is way too much to contend with considering everything else you have to learn with CNC

The thing that sold me on my first machine was the question "what would you rather have a CNC router or a minimum wage worker"

IOW don't consider the total cost of the machine but consider the monthly payment. This is counterintuitive to conventional wisdom but it is useful to think this way regarding a lease.

My advice is to decide on some software (that can later be connected to a router) and learn it 1st.

This gives you the option of buying parts out and honing your skills at selling and designing jobs in 3d

5/30/19       #24: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Derrek

Couple of things regarding costs.
Financing 50k is about $1,000 a month.
People look at this as I canít afford $1000 a month. While I get that you have to actually be able to make the payment, itís not an expense itís an investment that pays a return. If you buy a slider and the main thing you are looking for is a cleaner cut, you will get that and you might get some time savings. If you buy a CNC, while there is an initial learning curve and set up, the payback on your investment is your time. And as was pointed out, when the CNC is running your doing other things like banding and assembling. The time savings is two fold. Itís a whole different way of producing a product. You will go home less tired both physically and mentally, your not pushing material through a saw, you donít have to plan your rips. Additionally you can put a lesser skilled guy on the CNC than you can on a saw and have him run programs and unload parts. (I put a new guy on mine last 2 weeks ago, I have step by step manual for the things we do regularly and heís running parts and Iím at Jamba Juice typing this)
You have to step back and l at big picture. What could you do with extra time, can you sell more? Can you improve other processes within your business, what can you do that you donít do now etc?
Spend 15k cash for a slider or put $2k down on a CNC and make a payment and improve your business?

5/30/19       #25: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Ryan

Along with everything that has been said a slider was a great investment for a cabinet shop 15-20 years ago when they first started getting popular. At that time stock cabinets were crap and people were more willing to pay for custom. Now there are very nice stock cabinets going in million dollar plus homes. To be able to compete with large cabinet companies us smaller guys have to be as efficient as possible and a cnc is the way too do this.

When buying a cnc a tool changer and a good vacuum pump are a must!!! Do not skip out on these areas. A 4x8 10hp vacuum will do anything bigger I would get 2. A drill bank is also nice option to have. When we priced out camaster I think you could get a 5x10 with 2 pumps and a drill bank for around $60,000. That will process way more than you want and will give you plenty of room to grow. Do not buy the machine you think you need now, buy the one you think you might need in 5 years. You can get to that point a lot faster than you think.

5/30/19       #26: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Oggie Member

I agree with all of you that CNC is the best way to go. I also agree with all of you who think that slider would also help a lot. What seems to remain the dilemma is whether buying the slider would be useful or rather unnecessary step towards CNC. But that just seems like a real dilemma.

What lays beneath is something different.
As you probably figured from my messages above - I am one man shop. Beside all work related stresses it comes with it also has some other concerns we, one-man shops, have, that you people who work in multi-men shops do not have, or have forgotten many years ago when you had grown into something bigger.
If I slip just once while I carry 100-lb cabinet up the stairs - not just me and the cabinet will fell down the stairs but many other things will follow. Same goes if i cut my finger on a saw, twist my ankle or develop a chronic pain back. If I alone am out of work - there is no work.

And if I get to deep into credits and loans, the loose around my neck may get too tight, and any minor disturbance may be able to cause a lot of problems.
If I was alone - who cares, you fell, you rest down on rice and beans until you get better, get up, shake the dust and you go on.
But with two small kids, and most of my earnings already reinvested back in business, it is not an easy decision to put whole family into risk.

That's why I bought almost everything I have for cash, once I had it saved for that, and not before.

Well, that being said, it would be far from truth to say how I do it now is more "safe". I've had a back pain around new year that lasted few weeks, I've head 6 weeks of tormenting pain in March and April that started in my groin area and than spread as pain and stiffness all over my right leg with no obvious reason (I suspect the cause for it was the way I was twisting myself to push the 3/4" 4'x8' particle boards against tablesaw fence while making countertops). But I had to work all that time despite the pain and my productivity reduced to almost stupidly low levels.
If my monthly bills during that time were just a few hundred dollars more than they actually were, I probably wouldn't be here today with you.

So, jumping into debt is risky, continuing with how I currently do is also risky (maybe even more than the alternative, but I may just be used to that risk and not see clearly how big it is), what am I to do is something no one else but me can answer, but I really appreciate all your insights regarding the shop and business and finance related details of the cnc and other machines.

I've got few quotes from few cnc manufacturers. They converge towards $60K for plug and play, and their financing partners seem more than happy to help with financing. It also looks like that number may be close to the price which most of you that have cnc experience suggest as necessary to enter that arena without later regrets.

I really hopped (don't know really why) it would be somewhere in $30-$40K range, but...

When I started this thread I was thinking of buying something for the cash I saved (whatever I might bought for that amount) and stay clear of debt, but now I'm glancing at the "dark side" too.

I'll let the idea acclimatize in my head for a few days.

In the meantime, if anyone want's to add any more details and opinions about their setup like the model they have, the size of vacuum pump, cnc software, cabinet software.... is more than welcomed.

Thank you all and stay safe,
O.

5/30/19       #27: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Hen Bob Member

I would say find a decent slider for 5-8K. I paid 3k for ours and it cuts dead square, the cost of getting that in and running is minimal. Even one with a manual fence will be a vast improvement from a regular tablesaw.
Then spend some time doing your homework on the CNC. Once you get a plan in place start with the other necessities- Electrical,air, dust collection,software- so when the time comes your ready.

Getting a CNC in place will be the best investment you can make. It will make your life much easier and make you more money with less labor as everyone keeps telling you.

5/31/19       #28: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Pdub

Exactly what Hen Bob said. We cut on a slider for 15 years and it worked fine. Then I bought software and took a year or 2 to learn it well while still using the slider. I finally made the CNC purchase 5 years ago and it's been a game changer. All of this spread out the cost as well as the learning curve(s) so you're not completely overwhelmed with all of them at once.
If you find a nice used Altendorf or Martin it will make you money. Even after the CNC, we still use our Altendorf multiple times daily. I'll never get rid of it.

5/31/19       #29: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
MarkB Member

My $0.02 is about the same as the last two. The slider is pretty much invaluable in a lot of different ways. CNC makes total sense (other than the financial pain) but the slider in my opinion is almost necessary along side the slider anyway.

Given the kind of work you sound like youve been doing even with a CNC while you'll enjoy getting to sit back and relax, you'd see that if you were really swamped you could outrun the CNC for parts that dont need secondary machining (backs, stretchers, decks, lids). So if your accustomed to man-handling melamine on a TS running it on the slider will be cake in comparison. The CNC would shine for the dados, rebates, shelf/construction holes and part cutout for those.

We put in CNC 3-4 years ago and the production and accuracy with regards to the sheets is beyond compare but it will put a giant ant-frying magnifying glass on the rest of your processes when you blast out all your sheets in a fraction of the time and still have the remainder of the work to do. Less of an issue with straight plam.

You quickly find yourself trying to take on more work to keep the CNC running (which you cant do with cabs if you have downstream bottlenecks) and you cant do if your a small shop and handling that extra work takes you away from the bottlenecks.

6/10/19       #30: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Kevin Jenness

Website: http://kevinjenness.com

I have room for only one dimension saw in my shop and because I need the flexibility of doing odd angles, miterfolds and processing solid wood it is a slider. If I were only turning sheet goods into small rectangles and didn't want to borrow for a CNC I would have a Streibig. CNC is really the way to go long term but it does have a steep learning curve. If you go in that direction get a tool changer and plenty of vacuum .

The best investment I have made of late is a Crazy Horse dolly. https://www.thecrazyhorsedolly.com/
If you are having back problems, check it out.

6/11/19       #31: Sliding table saw vs CNC ...
Allen Chalifoux

Have you considered a bander with premill ?

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • notify me of responses to this topic
  • To receive email notification of additions to this forum thread,
    enter your name and email address, and then click the
    "Keep Me Posted" button below.

    Please Note: If you have posted a message or response,
    do not submit this request ... you are already signed up
    to receive notification!

    Your Name:
    E-Mail Address:
    Enter the correct numbers into the field below:
     

    Date of your Birth:



    Return to top of page

    Buy & Sell Exchanges | Forums | Galleries | Site Map

    FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards (return to top)

  • WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
  • Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
  • A valid email return address must be included with each message.
  • Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
  • Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
  • "Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
  • Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
  • Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
  • Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
  • Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
  • Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
  • Comments, questions, or criticisms regarding Forum policies should be directed to WOODWEB's Systems Administrator
    (return to top).

    Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.

    You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.

    WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.

    Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).

    Libel:   Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.

    Improper Decorum:   Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).

    Advertising:   The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).

    Repeated Forum Abuse: Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.

    There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).

    The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)


  • Forum Posting Help
    Your Name The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
    Your Website Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    E-Mail Address Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
    Subject Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
    Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Thread Related File Uploads Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .MP4 (Image Upload Tips)   If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)