price: $549 as tested (with the 500w spindle upgrade)
This machine from twotrees boasts a 460x460x80mm working area. It arrives partially assembled, including a wasteboard. Included in the kit are tools for assembly and a small assortment of endmills. This machine is intended for soft materials like plastics, foam, and wood. You can work in soft aluminum if you go slowly.
The cnc machine arrives as a kit that needs a ssembled. Luckily, the process is fairly simple and the included instructions are clear enough. I would say that the process probably took me an hour or two. Then again, I’ve built several similar systems now, so maybe you should aside an afternoon.
My kit came with everything you need to get started, aside from a computer. The machine has a built in SD card slot, but I couldn’t figure out what it was for. The onboard computer couldn’t read gcode files that were included on the card, so I don’t know what it does.
Connecting the system to the included software (candle), was easy enough, and the test files loaded fine there.
This machine is an interesting size and price point. It’s almost as big as an X-carve or shapeoko and less than half the cost of either of those machines. The cost savings comes from how barebones it is, it doesn’t have the fancy software of the others, and comes with a pretty tiny set of end mills.
I ran the included test file of this tiny flower, which took nearly 3 hours to complete. This is due both to the fine detail but also it just ran slow. I wonder if it is the same test file for their tiny machine.
To get a better feeling, I carved this spare piece of plywood that I use to hold a plant. This pattern took less than 30 minutes, which is closer to what I’d expect from this machine, with the 500w spindle upgrade.
Over all I think that this could be a pretty good option for someone under a very tight budget. If you’re wanting to do more woodworking, I’d consider upping your budget to get something a little more rigid, but if you’re just wanting to learn on a budget, this machine should work fine. You’ll be able to produce things like cutting boards without issue.
Join Make: Community Today