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CNC OX v C-Beam (Plate Maker).

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Foggy, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. Foggy

    Foggy New
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    Hi All,

    I am a first time builder and would like some advice.
    I am keen to try a build without spending too much to see if I am really going to get into it.

    I have tried reading through the various forum post, but have not really found an answer.
    My intention is mostly to work in wood, but it would be nice to know that if I chose to, I could mill Aluminium/Perspex etc..
    Inlaying has caught my imagination at the moment for box lids.

    A few questions:
    The decision would be between Ox 500*750 or Plate maker 500*500

    Is there a difference between the milling accuracy/repeatability of the two builds? Obviously with inlays this has to be considered.

    Am I likely to be able to machine / mill greater amounts in single pass with the Plate maker, or is this really down to the steppers / Router used?

    Many thanks for any thoughts.


    Best wishes.


    James.
     
  2. motopreserve

    motopreserve Veteran
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    Hey james. Just a couple weeks ago I was in the same position as you are - trying to decide between the Ox-based build and the C-Beam plate maker. The major difference (besides size) I found was in the hybrid moving bed of the plate machine vs stationary bed of the Ox. The plate maker will need to move the workpiece - which could become a factor based on the weight of the piece. The Ox only needs the motors/actuators to move spindle.

    I opted for the plate maker in the end. For me, the fact that it was small, easy to order, less expensive (1 less actuator/motor mechanism, and no custom plates) and it seemed capable for what I need at the moment. Also, given the nature of these builds - most of these machines can be adapted to fit your needs in the future, without much fuss, so that made pulling the trigger that much easier. Personally, the smaller, cheaper C-Beam plate maker made sense.

    I'm not sure that either of these choices would effect the single pass cutting you mention - unless your Ox design was far more rigid (but you could always add rigidity to either machine). The router/spindle, motors and tooling will all contribute to this equation too.

    In terms of accuracy, I think the care you put into the build (everything tight tolerance and square) will go a long way toward minimizing the limitations of these smaller CNC routers.

    Good luck with your choice and your build. I look forward to watching your progress.
     
  3. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    There are two main differences between these two systems, cutting area and resolution. The C-Beam Plate Maker has a cutting area of approximately 11"x13". An OX with the dimensions you mention should give you a cutting area of approximately 14"x22". As the bed of the OX is stationary with the cutter moving over the work, using pin registration you can functionally cut any length of material up to 14" wide by cutting a section, moving the material, cutting the next section, moving the material, and so on.

    The key difference between the two of them however is resolution. The OX uses a belted drive system and for each turn of the motor moves 60mm. The C-Beam system uses screw drive which for each turn of the motor moves the work only 8mm. The difference between 60mm and 8mm is rather significant when it comes to output resolution. Motors run based on steps and each step is 1/200th of a revolution. So 1 step on the C-Beam machine is 0.04 mm and 1 step on the OX is 0.3 mm. As you can see there is a rather substantial difference in the base resolution. Steps can be further divided into fractional resolutions by setting the machine to use 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, (etc.) steps which improves the resolution but in turn reduces the power of the machine. As the OX is already far less powerful than the C-Beam machine due to the mechanical disadvantage of moving 60 mm per revolution compared to the 8 mm of the C-Beam system, attempting to gain too fine of resolution can really zap its strength. This is not to say the OX is in any way a weak machine, just don't expect extremely fine resolution without realizing there is a price to pay.

    Ultimately it is up to you to determine your intended project mix. If you need larger items which are being cut from soft materials (wood, perspex, foam, etc) where extremely fine resolution is not key, the OX is the ideal machine. If you need extremely fine detail or want to cut large amounts of aluminum and can work with the smaller cutting area, the C-Beam system is your best bet. It should be noted the OX will work on aluminum it just does it very slowly so for occasional plate cutting the OX is still a viable candidate. The only real issue left is inlay work. If you're talking very fine, detailed inlays obviously the C-Beam system would be the better choice.

    If you're still stuck needing both size and resolution, the OX can readily be modified to a screw drive system (several discussion on this in the forum) or by using reduction gearing but both of these options will noticeably drive up the cost.
     
    crnrstndes and Joe Santarsiero like this.
  4. motopreserve

    motopreserve Veteran
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    That was a MUCH better explanation than mine :)

    I should add that I had always considered using the acme screw/C-Beam with the Ox build if that's the route I was going to take.

    While this adds to the overall cost, it seems like a mod that would be much appreciated down the line.
     
  5. Foggy

    Foggy New
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    Thank you both for your replies.

    @Rick 2.0 - That helped a lot.

    One more question. Is there any significant backlash differences between Ox-belt and Beam-screw?

    Best wishes.


    James.
     
  6. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Belted systems have more potential for backlash just due to belt stretch. This can easily be moderated using double belts. There are several examples here in the forum. The C-Beam uses a manually tightened nut block so you will need to do periodic tightening based on usage of the system. In both cases you should be able to get backlash to an acceptable level.
     
  7. crnrstndes

    crnrstndes Well-Known
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    Like James, I too am a woodworker. My primary focus is custom cutting boards. I was looking at building an Ox but you guys have convinced me for inlay work the C-Beam would be the logical choice. I have one concern though, as motopreserve stated above concerning weight of the milled object, some of my boards weigh 3 to 5 lbs. would this be an issue for this machine in your opinion(s)?? Also, couldI engrave with this machine??

    Thanks
    Stephen Buckle
    www.cuttingboardguy.com
     

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