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Thread: Which machine would be right?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default Which machine would be right?

    All,

    I have worked with the full sizes Alpha shopbot at a maker space.
    I would like to get a CNC if my own and Shopbot seems to be where I want to spend my money. A few questions.

    Other than work space / project size; what limitations will I have with a Shopbot desktop ? Can the spindle handle all the same materials and thickness that the full size alpha does? I do not foresee anything beyond 12/4 in a hardwood, t6061 at “1.00”, or polycarbonate “1.25”.
    Next:
    I am thinking used is my best route - this is for hobbies, not business.

    What pitfalls and problems do I need to look out for when buying a used Shopbot desktop?

    Thanks,
    Clint

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kennebunkport, Maine
    Posts
    4,380

    Default

    Older shopbot Desktops had a max travel of 4.5" (about '2015 that changed to 5.5 Z) be aware that a Z- retrofit kit may or may not be available/ and and cost may vary depending on Z-rail manufacturer. Our Z-Rtetrofit kits were 250 to $275 depending on Z-rail configuration.
    @005 April seems when they all changed to 5.5Z max
    Changeover from pre 5.5 is minimal if bolts all loosen is easy
    (ask for compete bolt replacement) and pay if bolts have galled !
    Use Never -Seize when reinstalling!

    IF 2015 spring or later ....you should be all set! (look for spindle shroud bolts which indicate 4.5 Z which are earlier)

    IF your Desktop has a spindle-interlock key...you are generally set for the newer 5.5Z

    Look for what the previous owner was cutting...and how aggressively and if they used ramping into cuts.
    Many Desktop owners act as if it it's an industrial machine..... I baby mine and she's sill perfect after 5+ yrs

    ONLY hardwoods here...and very conservative on detailed Small 3D'ds nowadays.
    MANY uses for an accurate cut with a Desktop!It don't get much better than a tight Desktop...check other's spec's
    scott
    Last edited by scottp55; 07-01-2020 at 02:03 PM.
    scott P.
    2013 Desktop/spindle/VCP 10
    Maine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kennebunkport, Maine
    Posts
    4,380

    Default

    IF others were cutting abrasive material with insufficient DC, or abrasive materials with sub standard DC...possible all bets are off!!
    My unibody is good, but if I started cutting more than Soapstone/ Marble....I'd worry about Y axis contamination...same as any machine!!
    scott P.
    2013 Desktop/spindle/VCP 10
    Maine

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kennebunkport, Maine
    Posts
    4,380

    Default

    IF others were cutting abrasive material with insufficient DC, or abrasive materials with sub standard DC...possible all bets are off!!
    My unibody is good, but if I started cutting more than Soapstone/ Marble....I'd worry about Y axis contamination...same as any machine!!
    hardwoods/exotic...no problem.
    scott P.
    2013 Desktop/spindle/VCP 10
    Maine

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