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OX based CNC suitable for hobby/side business?

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Evan F, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Evan F

    Evan F Journeyman
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    I am about 90% complete on my 1000 x 1000 OX build. I have done a few mods after researching many of the builds on the forum, including: extreme wheels, dual GT3 belts on X & Y, Idler wheels to increase belt engagement on X pulley, bonding X v-slot and extra wheels on Z axis. I'll start out with a 400W spindle to get my feet wet.

    I am considering using this configuration to make V carvings, signs and other items as a side business. Is this a realistic idea? I would consider upgrading the spindle and increasing size to 1500 x 1000 down the road if necessary.

    Do any of you use your OX for commercial applications?
     
  2. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    Sure you can.
    There are a lot of variables, though. Such as the market where you live, your contacts, the materials you intend to use, etc.
    When I first finished mine, I was talking to the owner of the yarn shop where my wife shops. The woman sells small looms and wanted some stands to hold them. Long story short, I ended up designing and selling her a batch of parts to make some stands.

    My Ox is a little over 24" x 38". It ended up that the parts barely fit along the 24" dimension, but they did.
    I have also made several signs for people. I'm sure there is a rather large market for carved signs out there, especially in the motor home/retirement community.

    Make some samples and practice what you plan on doing.

    It's all up to you.
     
  3. Evan F

    Evan F Journeyman
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    Thanks Steve.
    My questions are more on the OX side rather than the business side. Does the standard OX (or modded as I listed above) have the durability and duty cycle to operate a small business? I am impressed with the linear rail and screw drive mods on the commercial machines on this forum, but is that necessary for smaller scale operations?
     
  4. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    There isn't a lot to go wrong.
    I thought the weakest link would be the belt drive system, but I can't say that has been the case with me.
    There are a lot of them out there and I haven't heard about any major weak points other than the slop in the Z-Axis.
    Based on everything I know now, I think my 611 router will wear out first.

    I guess some part of the electronics could go, but I have spares for all of that.
    Come to think of it, I have a spare router, too. It's a good idea to have spare wheels, bearings, screws, etc. on hand, but that's the same with all commercial operations. If you don't want down time, stock spare parts.

    At the beginning, I had some slight issues with pulleys slipping. I ground flats on the shafts to fix that. Others have replaced the set screws with larger ones.

    Absolutely make sure you keep the machine clean. The only operational issues I've had had to do with sawdust in the wrong places and hold down. My only major mistake was cutting out so many parts from the wood that there wasn't enough left for the clamps to work, so the wood came loose. I had to add tabs to keep the clamps pushing against the work.

    Have a good selection of different types of bits. To save time, use the largest bit you can for the job.
    The longest I have used my Ox for in one stretch was about six hours. I probably have a couple of hundred hours on it now.
     
  5. Evan F

    Evan F Journeyman
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    Thanks Steve!

    I hope to be running soon....
     
  6. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    think of it like a car. you use it, it wears out. if you use it for business, the business plan must include provision for a replacement, cost must come out of profits (and best to save it now rather than charge it later).
    so, if you use the OX every day for say 4 hours of cutting, at some point it will need either repair, or eventually, replacement. lets estimate that you will need a new machine after 3 years, allow for some inflation, divide the inflated cost by 36 and save that amount from profits every month. after 3 years you can buy a new machine cash, no worries.

    if you purchased a $200000 machine and did the same amount of work on it, it too would need replacing at some point, and refurbishment would cost a lot more than on an OX. in fact, for $200000 you could have a room full of OX's all working at the same time (-:
     
  7. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    LOL, and a very big room at that!!!
     
  8. Nates02gt

    Nates02gt Well-Known
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    Evan,
    I am in pretty much the same position you are in. My son and I built the C-Beam last year as kind of a trial, just to see if we could do it. I am at the point now where I need a larger machine. I am starting a side business that I hope will evolve into full time over the next 3 years. What did you use for electronics on your machine? My biggest concern with the OX is the rigidity. As David said, no matter what the machine and/or parts will wear out and that has to be budgeted for. From my research, it seems like it would be smart to invest in a water or air cooled spindle and some good electronics (Gecko drivers etc). The other aspect I have been contemplating is speed. What speeds can the OX frame handle? I am not sure. If it can handle 300+ ipm consistently, that would be great. Another possible issue is the wear on the wheels/drive system. I would think that a V wheel drive system would wear out much faster than a rack and pinion drive system. If that is the case, is the extra time required to replace the wheels and recalibrate the machine worth the money saved? I don't know the answers to any of these questions. I am relatively new to the CNC world but have been enjoying every minute since I started.

    Nate
     
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  9. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    If you'll built the OX solid and balanced, with the right components, there is no reason it will not be able to handle 300 ipm. The V wheel is not a 'drive system' and therefore not interchangeable with rack & pinion. If you worry about the wheels wear use a linear rail system. That will last as long as the rack & pinion, more or less.
     
  10. Nates02gt

    Nates02gt Well-Known
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    Justin,
    Thanks for the input. I got the computer for my laser off Craigslist for about $150 and it works great. It does make sense to have a computer for each system. I see what you are saying regarding the drive systems. I guess I got myself a little tangled up. Is the extra cost of the linear rails worth the extra cost? I know this is very subjective. I don't mind doing maintenance, I just don't want to spend a good bit of time replacing pieces due to wear and tear. I have read about issues with the wheels blowing out or wearing out with extended jobs.
     

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