Torn on a new to me CNC machine

Some of ya’ll may remember I did a bunch of work on a friend’s Platform CNC a year or two ago. It’s a 30"x48" cut-size machine. All-metal. Uses a full-size router for the spindle or you can mount CNC spindles to the Z axis. I’ve seen the thing operate and it chews through wood like you’d expect an all-metal commercial machine to.

My friend is upgrading to a 5’x12’ CNC router. He’s just now setting it up. Once he has it up and running, he’ll be selling the smaller machine.

The price he’s asking is reasonable for the machine and is for a fully running machine. I trust the electronics… I installed them :slight_smile: It’s not a small amount ~$2500. The Platform CNC is about $4k to buy/build new.

I guess my problem is, I wasn’t looking at getting/building another CNC. I wish my MPCNC was a bit larger, but I’ve learned to live with it. I could also use the money on a Mill or metal Lathe.

First world problems… right?


After sleeping on this and thinking about it quite a bit…

I think I’ll continue to focus my efforts on saving up for a Mill/Lathe.

The heavier duty CNC would be nice, but it would be replacing what I have and not adding new features. Just the ability to go faster/bigger.

I think I would certainly do a decent lathe before I upgraded the CNC, but totally depends on your projects. There all lots of thing only a lathe can do well though.

I have the wood lathe that I’ve forced to do things it shouldn’t. I’ve turned minor things in brass. I have carbide lathe tools that did an ‘ok’ job of turning the brass. Not going to do precision machining with it, but it works.

If I go down the metal path, I’d want to jump to a lathe and mill both. I think they really go hand in hand.

We’ll see what happens. Gotta get the funds out of the wife first :slight_smile:

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If you get a good sized lathe, can’t you swap the tool and the workpiece and basically make a mill? :slight_smile:

Maybe he could give you a discount and you can give him future access to it if he needs something from it. It sounds like you could definitely negotiate hard, since you don’t really need it. And you won’t be making money on it, so that sounds like a hard sell.

I think Ryan should do an MPCNC Lathe… Not a big precision thing like the full sized metal lathe, but something to automate turning wood into fantastic designs. :slight_smile: It’d be like replacing one axis of the MPCNC with a rotor and chuck.

hint, hint


Zen first…Then maybe possibly have a look at it…if there is easily compatible software.

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Don’t tempt me. I have enough projects rn.


You must have missed the part where he’s replacing the old CNC with a 5’ x 12’ CNC router. The new one is MASSIVE. He had to borrow my 14’ trailer to get it because it wouldn’t fit inside his enclosed trailer.

It’s for his business and his livelihood, so I don’t see where he’ll be able to negotiate much. He does owe me some metal work on a smoker, so I might be able to knock some off and waive the work. But that wouldn’t amount to much.

I’m looking at bench-top mills and lathes. The Grizzly G0704 mill and G0602 lathe. Both of those units seem to get pretty good reviews and should be able to do just about everything I need from one. Most of what I want to do are custom motorcycle parts, some stuff to go along with the woodworking, and replacement parts for things that I break.

The G0704 has almost a cult following with people converting it to CNC. That’d be nice to do one day.

Depending on your location, I wouldn’t overlook the used market. When I lived in the NYC area 9" X 36" South Bends popped up on Craigslist with regularity, they were apparently a staple of trade schools back in the day. I had one for years that proved very useful that I regrettably sold before moving. Now in coastal NC, I haven’t seen one on Craigslist in years. :frowning_face:

I caught that. I just assume it won’t have 100% uptime and it may be double booked. Just a thought.

Nah. He’s a one man shop, so he sets his own pace.

The used market around here is OK at best. A lot of people really proud of their machines. I did see a bridgeport mill for 2500 the other day. It went within an hour of the ad being posted. The people selling smaller machines are asking almost what a new one costs.There are a few larger lathes at a good cost, but most of them are 3 phase. The ones that are the best deal price wise are also the largest and hardest to move or find a place for.

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Yeah, it was just a thought. IIRC I paid $650 for my South Bend, had it for ~8-10 years(or likely longer, hard to remember) and sold it for $800. Just have to be right place/right time.

It’s weird what all can happen in a year.

Since my last update in this post, I’ve since bought a mill… From the same guy actually…

Today he texted me. He still has this CNC. He’s not looking to sell it anymore, but still needs to make room in his shop. He’s bringing it over this afternoon for me to put/keep in my shop. I’ll have full access to use it however much I want (providing my own spindle). Of course, anything i break, I have to fix. At some point in the future, he’ll want it back.

Sad thing is, I’ll probably have to take down the MPCNC as I’ll need to put this one where it is sitting.

I’ll still be on this forum and help where I can. I’ll be having to learn Mach3 and I still want to build one of the new printers Ryan is working on. This should be fun/interesting.


This should be interesting.


Ohhhhhhh, I can’t wait to hear about it when you get some use!

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I’m camping this weekend, but I hope to have it running next week. I don’t know if I need to buy a spindle for it yet, or if I the owner has the one he took off available.

Once I get it running, I have to build a new enclosure for it.

I got the machine hooked up yesterday. Unfortunately it’s not running.

The steppers are buzzing and the Gecko G540 is getting the charge pump signal from mach3, but giving it G commands in Mach3 isn’t moving the machine.

The ribbon cable between the smooth stepper and the Gecko looks to be ok, but the connector on it is really really loose. I went ahead and ordered a new one as it’s pretty cheap.

If it still fails to work after that, then I’ll have to start troubleshooting the Gecko board…

My friend ‘says’ it worked when it stopped using it a year ago, but I assume it’s the same type of ‘work’ as a car that’s been sitting in a barn.


Woohoo! it’s alive!

No video as all I had time to do was barely move it around, but it moves. It was a bad ribbon cable going from the ESS (ethernet smooth stepper) to the Gecko G540.

Now I need to take some time to put the control box back together.