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My brothers and I bought an RC airplane many years ago and found building it quite enjoyable! Through the many years we build quite a few airplanes together. One day I finally broke down after repeated attempts at making a good pitch slider for my LMH 110 conversion and thought it was time to start looking into these mysterious machines. I knew there were machines in the world that made parts but had never seen them. I had heard of Sherline, being in RC, and after much reading on the internet (there wasn’t much there back in 1999), I bought Sherline's "Tabletop Machining" book around mid 1999. I must of read that book 10 times over understanding about 10% of it. What the heck is a "chuck," an "endmill," a "gib," or "backlash?" Each time I read the book I would pick up something new. The book is excellent, especially for beginners, with great pictures. It was not until I actually purchased the machines (4-25-00) that I started realizing what was going on. Now I think I understand 99% of the book:)
I purchased a manual metric milling machine (model 5410) and manual lathe (4410). After learning the basics of machining, I went for my ultimate goal of CNC (computer numeric control). Beginners, take it from me, it is very possible and this site should prove it. I knew NOTHING about CAD, CAM, CNC, G-Code, or Machining (not to mention making a web page :) but have learned by reading and much experimenting. I credit most of my learning to the internet, mainly the CAD_CAM_EDM_DRO, Sherline Group, CNCZone and my brother Zaig. I did not even know what a "driver," "stepper motor," or "G-Code" was just 2 years ago (based on 2002). With MANY hours and MUCH patients I keep learning.
My list is mostly Sherline products, as I have these machines, but am not affiliated with Sherline. This site will hopefully give you true unbiased opinions and facts. This list should be good for the beginner regardless of what company you are buying from as most parts are "the same type" on most machines. I hope this list helps you get on your way! Remember, my skill level is of a beginner to intermediate and this page should be used as one of the steps to your decision. Also, this list is not for CNC, but for manual machining.
Please see "MY CNC SETUP" for that information.
Join CAD_CAM_EDM_DRO and CNCZone for excellent advice and years of experience from guys and gals that enjoy the same hobby as you! Join the Sherline Group or on Yahoo Groups if your planning to go the Sherline route. If not, search for your particular machine, it's there!
If you're thinking of getting into machining because you think it will be Cheaper, Faster or Easier then buying that "one part," DON'T! Please read that again. You will be very disappointed. Sadly, you will waste your money and valuable time. It will take many months and many mistakes to get that "one part" you could of just bought, that fits, that works. If you don't like to tinker, don't think you have the patience to figure out how something is made, and repeat that same process possibly 5 times over (because of mess-ups) reconsider machining.
It is said that "you might spend 10 hours to make a $2.00 part," take it from me- it's very true.
Precision machining is hard work, time consuming, and a continuous learning process. Get into it because of the
rewards not the immediate satisfaction. There are no two ways around this.
HOWEVER, if you love to tinker, love to modify, have the patients to plan out things and the DESIRE to learn, LETS GET GOING!! Welcome to Machining! There is nothing like fitting and using your custom made part! The part you envisioned, planned out, and then carved out of scrap material.
How I started - Knowing Nothing about Machining, CNC, metal or woodworking ..... To today.
Groups to Join
It will be Cheaper and Faster for me to make that cool part!
Just Starting Out in CNC... How Exciting !!