Advice and help for a newbie-PLEASE

Hi from another complete newbie from New Zealand. After researching various forums I decided on buying the V1 LowRider V2 CNC kit.

As I said in the intro I am a complete newbie with no experience of any kind on CNC machinery and very basic computer experience, so I will have to frequent the forum for help very regular.

To kick of: (For your input and advice please)

I am a enthusiastic RC hobbyist that builds both balsa and foam model planes and felt that the LR2 was the correct choice. (hope so)

I want to use the router option for cutting balsa and thin hobby plywood as well as foam(with needle cutter) parts from plans. Usually .PDF and .DXF files. I am unsure about the size of routers and had a look at what’s available:

  1. Makita M3700 Trim Router Specifications

|Collet capacity|6.35mm|
|No load speed|35,000rpm|
|Overall dimensions|199mm|
|Net weight|1.5kg|
|Continuous rating input|580W|
|Power supply cord|2.0m|
|Carbon brush|411|

  1. Ryobi RTR400-S 400W Trim Router
  2. Ozito 850W Router
  3. Makita 530W Laminate Trimmer 6.35mm

Only the Ozito has variable speed but limited options to fit to the LR2.

I wanted to get the Rambo Mini board but it is sold out and only the SKR Pro1.2, 5x 2209 drivers, TFT35 E3 V3 is still available. Should I wait till the Rambo Mini is back in stock or will the SKR PRO suit my requirements?

I will also use it to cut vinyl decals and coverings for the models and even draw paint insignia with paint pens.

Sorry for the long winded approach but I would appreciate all the input and advice I can get.


Chris van de Venter

The low rider is great. But what size balsa are you cutting? If I was just doing these things, I would probably build the MPCNC. Even a bit oversized, you aren’t doing anything that requires a lot of rigidity. The MPCNC is a bit more beginner friendly too.

A few thoughts:

  • I agree with Jeff, that unless you are trying to cut things bigger than 1M x 1M, the MPCNC is likely a better option. You are going to find mounts for your needle cutter and for a wider variety of other tools.
  • None of your materials even remotely push the router, so just about anything would accomplish the job…even a decent Dremel (assuming you could find a way to mount it on the machine of your choice).
  • Whatever router you pick need to have 1/8 or 3mm (depending on what bits are widely available in New Zealand) collet solution. I did a quick look, and none of the router you list come with a 3mm or 1/8" collet. If the Makita M3700 has the the same collet as the Makita RT0701, then the smaller collet are available from V1 and other places.
  • Being square can be important for cutting parts that need to fit together. This can be done with physical or electrical endstops. The SKR Pro supports electrical endstops, the Mini Rambo does not. If you think you will be doing electrical endstops (even at some point in the future), I’d go with the SKR Pro and the dual endstop wiring kit. You don’t have to install the endstops at first, but if in the future you want the electrical endstops, you will have less rework on the wiring. And the board will come with the dual endstop firmware. Physical endstops do work, so electrical endstops are not necessary.
  • I wonder if a laser would be a better solution than a router for some of the materials you are cutting. The SKR Pro board is a bit better for certain kinds of laser work.
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Lasering balsa should work. Although the edges don’t accept glue as well as cut edges.

Adding a laser is still a but if a guessing game on the electronics.

Thanks for the advice and comments @Jeffeb3 and @Robert Bunney

My reasoning for going with the lowRider is mainly because of a lack of floor and store space With the LowRider I can build a bigger table and utilize the table for a build/assembly surface.

By pushing the LR2 to one side I will have a larger space to work on and when I need to do CNC work I can still use the same table. The MPCNC unfortunately is fixed to the table which means that the table becomes dedicated to the machine rather than being dual/multi purpose bench.

By gaining confidence and experience I can easily extend the length of the LR2 and do other CNC projects than just building RC planes. So my table will be build to accommodate future extension.

At this moment the sizes of the models I build is from 60” to 110” but that will become bigger and might be large scale builds of 4 to 6 meter builds. Some of the ribs and supports for the wings can be very large, depending on the type of build you go for. So better to have a machine that can quick and easily be extended without taking space away. The foam board I work with is sheets of 30 * 20 inches and the balsa/plywood sheets is between 900 * 100 mm and the plywood 1200 * 300 mm. Thickness of the balsa .8 to 25mm and the plywood .4 to 12mm.

The CNC router will also be used to do milling of aluminum parts for the models. Although not very often but on the larger scale builds it become more necessary to do your own milling, hence my question about the router. Also thinking of more than just balsa and foam plane building I think to go with a router/spindle of somewhere in the capacity region of 800 to 1000W plus/minus.

Laser cutting balsa and/or plywood effectively you need a Co2 laser with 40 to 100W laser and is water and or air cooled to get descent and clean cuts. So I wont go for that at the moment.

There are some engineering suppliers that stock 4mm shank router bits although horrendously expensive. Might look at getting bits from your neck of the woods.

About the control board I will go with the SKR Pro.

If my reasoning is not realistic please advice.



Chris, I’m in Aus so have similar suppliers to you.

I haven’t made a decision yet, and you are likely to be using yours before I get mine running, however from the routers listed above:

I have recently had the “interesting” experience of using the Ozito. As a router it’s ergonomically awful but probably OK for this situation, particularly until you start needing it for metal.

It is 3.3kg though much of that is probably in the plunge base, and you will probably have to rig up a better mount - there are quite a few users in Aus who have used them so they must be OK.

I own a Ryobi, and will probably press it into service in the first instance, until I make up my mind to do something else. Like the others it only has a 1/4" collett and I haven’t yet enquired about getting a 1/8" to suit - surely they are a standar size? :rofl: :rofl:

The Makita has a lot more grunt for similar weight, and is probably my pick of the three if I didn’t already own the Ryobi.

I gather that fitting an electronic speed controller is not difficult, although I have no idea how to go about that (yet) it is definitely on my list of things to learn about.

All the best


Sounds good to me. I think you may need to get creative to make sure you can mount the needle cutter on a low rider. And aluminum is going to be harder. But you should be fine.

I gather that fitting an electronic speed controller is not difficult, although I have no idea how to go about that (yet) it is definitely on my list of things to learn about.

Something like this:

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A PID speed control provides a feedback loop so that the router maintains a constant RPM under load. That is nice, but not really necessary for must cutting. It is rare for MPCNC users to have an external PID controller. The higher quality routers with built-in speed controllers have PID, but the cheaper variable speed routers do not.

There are a variety of speed controllers that are plug-and-play. Search for “router speed controller” or “motor speed controller,” or even “fan speed controller.” I’ve even read on the forum of people putting a cheap dimmer switch in a box with a plug and making it work (has to be the right kind of dimmer switch). You can find speed controllers down to about $15 USD. I’ve read that you lose more torque with the cheaper controllers, but I also know some people on the forum use them.

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Your arguments for the LR2 are pretty good, but I still think the MPCNC might be better suited for your tasks.

To help with floor space, I built my MPCNC into an enclosure that’s near ground level. This made a workbench that is the size of the enclosure that’s a good height for a taller chair.

Just a thought.


Your thoughts mirror my own. I’ve not seen hard data of the LR2 vs the MPCNC in terms of accuracy, but the handwavy comments by Ryan and Jeff indicate that for things under about 1M, the MPCNC is more accurate. My concern is that if he is making smaller parts that need to fit together, he might not get the accuracy he wants out of the LR2. And there are other ways like yours to reclaim the bench space.

Its not really a linear thing like that. You can definitely do fine work on a LR. Exhibit A:

If you can get away with an MPCNC, it is a bit easier to set up. It is also maybe 10x more popular, so there are a lot of common solutions and custom parts, etc.

The LR is strong. Very accurate and has a big benefit of being more rigid the closer it gets to the bottom. But it 1. Requires some cut parts (Y plates and 611 plate). And 2. Is more dependent on the quality of the table and 3. Sometimes tracks to the side, so many builds need to build constraints into the table.

But a medium or small sized LR is a beast. I don’t think we get many reports, but I think a machine like that would crush most aluminum jobs.


I can agree with that too. I still kick around the idea of replacing the MPCNC with a 2’x4’ LR2. There’s times that I’d really like to be able to throw up a 1/4" of plywood onto the machine.

Thanks Chris, working on mains power (240v nominal) in Aus is illegal, and not much less restricted in NZ, so I’ll watch progress on that from afar, but with interest!

Just (@ 11.05 am) received my “LR2 bundle” parcel. Order placed on 16/03/2021 received 25/03/2021.
Amazing took only 6 working days from the US.
Thank you V1 Engineering.
Order for the rest will be placed tonight. Can not wait to start the build.

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In time, I think the OP will end up with both. Especially for small aluminum parts.

Which controller board will be the better choice for the LR2 for a newbie builder.

Will the Mini-Rambo and a Full Graphic Smart Controller work or should I wait for the SKR Pro1.2, 5x 2209 drivers, TFT35 E3 V3 to come back into stock?


The mini rambo works great with the LR2. It doesn’t do dual endstops, but that makes it simpler and squaring a huge gantry on a LR is actually easier, so it isn’t needed.

Thanks @jeffeb3 I will order the mini rambo.

Hi, I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to check in and see if you were happy with your decision on the LR. I too am a rc plane builder and I have been looking at these forums trying to determine which machine best fits my needs. Initially I thought MPCNC for sure when it came to wing ribs, fuselage bulk heads, etc. But then I started thinking about wing spars, stringers, etc and I thought have a machine that can cut 5-6ft long material would be huge for those types of things, so I was leaning LR as well. I’m just trying to determine if there is any type of noticeable accuracy/precision issues with the LR that most people say the MPCNC excels at. Have you been happy with your LR, even when just cutting smaller pieces like wing ribs, etc?