October 31, 2020

Furniture Makers

We Speak Furniture

What’s Really Important in Choosing a CNC Machine

https://www.popularwoodworking.com/sponsored-post/whats-really-important-in-choosing-a-cnc-machine/

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Sponsored by Inventables



Like many woodworkers, we can get bogged down in specs when we’re researching a new tool (or car or kitchen appliance). How many horsepower? What size bits can it use? What sort of steel is it made of? What’s the runtime on batteries? How fast does it go? Does it cook both breakfast and dinner?


Specs for CNC machines bring on a whole other level of complexity – feed rate, material removal rate, spindle power, torque, etc. Not to mention there’s a computer and software involved. That’s when we like to remind ourselves to take a step back and start at the beginning: What do you want to make? Why are you making it?  How many do you plan to make? Who will be doing the making? That’s what Inventables did when they were making their new pro-level CNC machine: they developed a machine for customers that want to focus on their business rather than tinkering with the machine.



The X-Carve Pro was designed from the ground up to be easy to use, powerful, and a complete system to run a business. Inventables takes the guesswork out of CNCs by providing the machine (that goes from delivery to carving in under 2 hours), 3 years of their easy-to-use Easel Pro software, and best-in-class customer support. With their Easel software, if you can move a mouse around, you can start making things. It’s a self-contained system, so you know all the parts and pieces work together out of the box. (Of course, if you’re a seasoned CNC user with a CAD or CAM software program that you prefer, the X-Carve Pro works with that, too).



The CNC machine itself comes in two sizes, 4×2 and 4×4. The gantry is the same on both machines (a full 4′ of working width), so you can feed a 4×8′ sheet of material into the machine. This was one of the first things Inventables learned about many business CNC users: We all want capacity for a 4×8′ sheet but spend most of our time working on only a small section of that sheet. When you think about a 4×8 machine’s footprint, not only do you need space for the machine, but space to load/unload sheets and space to maneuver around the machine. The 4×2 and 4×4 sizes mean you can fit an X-Carve Pro (or more than one if you want to double or quadruple productivity) in most workshop spaces.


Both machines share the same gantry (the mechanism that moves the router up and down and around the bed). It provides a full 4′ wide cutting area, as well as 4″ of travel up and down (and 2′ or 4′ front to back). When you’re dealing with CNCs, you’re also keeping in mind resolution/accuracy. As far as CNCs go, you need to look at the total system. The gantry, drive system, stepper motors, and spindle all work together to determine what volume of material you can remove per time. The X-Carve Pro can cut 3/4″ deep groove in wood with 1/4″ bit up to 25 times faster than the original X-Carve. And with an accuracy of .001″. That material removal rate is pretty impressive – faster than you’d be able to safely do by hand on a router table or even with a dado stack in a table saw.



The gantry and movement system uses larger and more robust components when compared to other CNCs in this class, because it was designed to deliver incredible detail when V-Carving. The gantry is made from extruded aluminum with precision ground hardened steel linear guides and uses 292 oz/inch NEMA-23 motors to drive the 25mm ball screws (which control the movement of the gantry).


The actual tool doing the cutting is a 2HP air-cooled spindle. That means no separate pumps or water tanks.  (some CNCs come with liquid cooled spindles that require extra gear). 


This return on investment-focused approach to CNC machining – making sure the user experience is fantastic whether you’re cutting small intricate parts or turning sheet goods into furniture – truly pays off. Your time is valuable, and you don’t need specialized training to use it. The machine does exactly what you want it to do and the Inventables support team is right there with you to minimize downtime if issues come up. It just works.


Learn more about the X-Carve Pro at XCarvePro.com.



Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.