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CNC router for aluminium


Sep 7, 2023
I am looking for a 2x3 cnc router machine for prototype work at home. I have 220V available in my garage. I will be cutting aluminium 6061, 3/8 to 5/8 plates. Some of the desktop machines I looked at:





As for spindles, I heard HSD is a very good Italian brand. Something from 2-3 hp and 18000 rpm - should be good for aluminium.


Laguna is Chinese made, Cammaster and Shopsabre are US made and Iridium is Canadian.

Any comments, suggestions would be. much appreciated.
I suggest you run yout intended part idea past the PM guys because a router may not be the best choice.Perfaps a small cnc mill, Perhaps leasig a machine., perhaps a full size used cnc mill.
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None of those machines look like they have any coolant provision. You won't do well trying to cut aluminum without coolant. There are some that have figured out mist systems, but from what I have seen, nowhere near as good a result as using flood coolant.
We have a ShopSabre 23 with HSD spindle in the local school robotics shop. It’s not bad, and this coming from a guy who started on box way Deckel and Haas ball way CNCs with servos. The ShopSabre has steppers. We have an MQL system to handle the aluminum lube problem. Its WinCNC PC control is no Fanuc, but also vastly better than Mach3. There is no toolchanger and headroom ain’t much. It won’t do compensation on a contour (G41/42) out of the box. It’s fine for modest-precision cuts in sheet material, though the vacuum hold-down system is not strong enough for decent cuts in 1/8” plate. I imagine cutting 5/8” plate or profiling any 3D surface would test my patience.
If you're planning on cutting 5/8 plate with a desktop cnc router, I hope you aren't in any kind of hurry. There's not a 5/8 plate anywhere in the construction of any of those.

I have a 4x8 Laguna SmartShop 2 with a 12 horse HSD spindle. I bought it used and the price was right. It's... okay. Not the lightest duty or worst machine I have (That would be my POS plasma table, MURICAN built) but not quite production grade. Will I use it for plate aluminum? Sure, but only as a last resort.

If you're willing to drop the $15k to start on the Iridium and your primary goal is metal cutting, there are FAR better routes you can go.