Lowrider or MPCNC ?

I have a few projects I want to take on this winter but they vary widely in material and size.

I’m working on an F16 simulator and need to cut some 40 acrylic plates as part of the instrument controls .Many plates requires front cuts and then additional cuts to the rear (light pockets for backlighting). Most are in the 2" x 5" range but a couple get to around 8x8. I also need to cut backing plates from .063 6061 but those are mostly square cuts and corner holes .

I also have some 1/2 MDF and ABS work under a 2’ x 2’ size.

I figure the above could be done on a MPCNC .


My other tasks are larger though.

The F16 sim structure is laid out on 48x96 sheets of 0.75 MDF, though this would likely be the only time I would need a full sheet at this point and I could outsource that work to a local shop. I would like to try some cabinet work and could see needing a 4’x4’ for many runs.

MPCNC would seem to fit the majority of my near term work, but then I noticed the Lowrider v2. It would be great to have one machine do all but I’m concerned about accuracy on the small acrylic parts if I built a 48x96 machine as well as the ability to do thin aluminum.


Can a full sheet size lowrider do accurate plastic / acrylic cuts? .063 aluminum work? Any chance of getting good PCB cuts on it?

Well, PCB’s and full sheet cuts on the same router are basically unheard of. Will it work, of course, to what degree of accuracy, can’t say. The LowRider is not inherently less accurate in any way. All the parts are the same. The inaccuracy come from 4’ spans of tubing and how well you can build a table.

You can have it all, but a small machine will make 90% of that much more enjoyable to do.

So as usual, there is no “right” or easy answer.

Thanks Ryan


Might have to do two setups .

Maybe a 24x24 or 12x36 MPCNC to run acrylic and then use it for smaller projects and door and drawer fronts.


Then use it to cut the flat pieces for a Lowrider2 set up to handle the big stuff .


Would the 12x36 be stiffer setup?

Yes. Start small, have fun, learn the machine. It is simple to make it bigger, much more forgiving to learn on a small machine.

Most of the important switch panels are seperate pieces anyway. I lost track of how many times I had to remove armament switch panels and install blanking plates for foreign military “look and touches”. Worst one was for some Russian general that climbed up the stairs barely glanced in the cockpit then moved on. Took a half hour to removed all the panels, then three or four freaking hours to reinstall and test everything. I don’t know why we had to remove the panels, you see one master arm switch, you’ve seen them all.

What do you do? This all sounds exciting. Any chance you can make the Millineum Falcon cockpit? Just kidding but what a cool job you seem to have. Would love to see pics.

This would all be for a personal sim running F4 BMS software. I built a full scale 737 sim years ago but bought most of my panels from Flightdeck Solutions and just did the wiring.

Close connection though as I handle customer issues for GE military engines in several middle East and north African countries. So I do have access to Block 40 through Block 70 cockpits which help a bit ?

I was always amazed at how small the F-16 cockpit was. I worked on F-15E’s and upgraded(downgraded?) to KC-135R’s.

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Hate to age myself but I was a Navy Airframes mech. A6s and EA-6Bs

Cool! Friend of mine was an ECO on the E6.

It sounds like, if you want a realistic simulator, you need to get Barry to take it apart and put it back together again.


Screw that! I decided a long time ago that aircraft engineers have never actually worked on the things they design. Otherwise you wouldn’t have to install a bolt over your head, behind you, through an 8 inch diameter hole, by feel.