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There are a bunch of questions you need to answer first:- how much money do you want to spend?- how large (X & Y) a piece of material do you want to cut?- how thick a piece of material do you want to cut?- what kind of metal are you talking about?I have a Sherline CNC mill, and it works well for cutting plastic, or thin aluminum (1/16"). You can cut thicker metal, but it takes longer.- Jon
I built Seeker 2 with a manual lathe/mill. All the body parts were cut out with a hacksaw, and filed to shape.http://www.huv.com/miniSumo/seeker2You're not going to have much luck getting anything CNC for $500... My Sherline CNC mill setup was about $2000, and I already had the computer, and used free software.- Jon
Well then, I think you need to evaluate how often you will be making custom parts, and if its not very often I would consider just having a company that specializes in that kind of stuff to make it for you.
I'd go with a Smithy before a shreline
I would strongly advise you look into getting a manual milling machine. You need to learn how to machine with a mill before you advance to CNC anyways. The computer control doesn't negate that fact that you really have to know how to machine material.This is what I consider about a minimal starting machine:http://www.sherlinedirect.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=34Unfortunately, its double your budget...- Jon
Manual milling will be annoying and not precise for what I want to do.
Max thickness will probably be 3/8". Aluminum, brass, or maybe other materials like HDPE and Lexan.
Sheet metal is typically 1/32" thick at most, and is (unless you specify otherwise) steel.Any kind of 1/2" thick metal will require a machine at least as rigid as a Sherline, and even with that you would have to do probably 2 passes on aluminum or brass to cut it, unless you are just shaping one edge.- Jon