I have a lowrider up and running, but I am thinking I might also build an mpcnc. First, how many of you have both and am i correct in thinking that it would be a lot easier to do smaller pieces with a primo? Second, I have a lot of 3/4 conduit laying around. I was thinking of making it a 24x24 work area. Is this too much for conduit? If so, what do you think the limits are for conduit vs other materials?
The advise that I was given looking at running both a LowRider and a Primo was that having 2 machines that do the same job is kind of a waste for anyone not running a production shop. (Thanks @jeffeb3)
Which basically means that when my LR is up and running, the Primo will get re-purposed to do something that the LR2 won’t do. In my case, that’s probably going to be milling aluminum, for which my Primo is much too large. As such, I’ll be cutting it down to either 18X18" work area, maybe even 12" by 18" to fit it on a 24" deep bench top. This will make the Primo relevant by having it do something that the LR2 might not be so good at, and fitting into a small work area. Even then, it may see much reduced usage.
My Primo’s current size is so that it’s big enough to do cabinetry, with pieces up to 24" by 36" with a little “wiggle room” left over. Once the LR2 is up and running, I won’t have need f that kind of working area. Most of my projects so far have been smaller.
As to your question:
I think that 24" square is doable with conduit, and seems to be kind of a default size. 18" square is probably as far as I’d go myself, in keeping with being able to do harder materials. Many of my small projects have been hardwood. Oak, maple, walnut, and cherry, and those would all have been doable on an 18" by 12" machine. Similarly I could manage my large aluminum heat sinks on that size machine, and many other things that I’d like to be able to use aluminum for, but don’t because I don’t have confidence with the size that my machine is now. For 18" or less, I think that conduit would be fine. I’ll still be using 1" DOM because that’s the Primo parts that I have, and the steel that I already have, too.
That’s some pretty solid advice right there. I run my primo faster than I ever ran my lowrider, so I think that’s the only reason to have both IF you intend to just do the same jobs the lowrider can do. And really, setup takes enough time that shaving a few minutes of runtime isn’t noticeable.
If you just want to play with a primo, though, i don’t think you’ll find anyone to discourage you. I’m curious, though; what do you expect to be easier?
Thank you guys for the advice. I was thinking that doing stuff like clamping down and changing bits out, etc would be easier with the primo. Maybe you can advise me on how I should hold stuff down effectively on the lowrider. For my last project, I was using 1/8 inch plywood for some walls in my camper van and that stuff bowed up everywhere. I just haven’t got a good system yet. I have been using painters tape and clamps on the edges where I know the gantry won’t hit, but I just can’t seem to get stuff to effectively hold down. I’ve only been running for a little over a week and am still trying to get a good system worked out.
Ive got a 72x48 lowrider and a 30x13 burly. For cutting wood I find the lowrider superior in almost all things.
Tool changes are definitely easier on the lowrider as you can simply unlock and remove the spindle. Holddowns area a bit easier as well not having to work around the rails. Dust collection is far superior.
The advantages for me on the mpcnc is bit visability and cut depth. It’s a lot easier to see what you are doing without the big plate in your way and you get maybe an extra 1/4" doc from the designs lower placement of the collet.
I don’t do metal or super fine detail work like pcbs which is where the mpcnc shines. I’m considering converting mine to a tiny 12x4 to cut vertical dovetails.
Thanks for the advice, Michael. It seems like I might have had it backwards when it refers to what is easier with each machine. I guess that is a great reason to be on here in order to get peoples advice who have been there done that. I have noticed that it is impossible to see in real time what is going on with the cut in an area until it has long since moved on from the area. I think I am going to go with what you guys say for now and see how I can do with just the lowrider. Another question, what hold downs do you use and how do you get around the gantry without hold downs hitting it? I have been dealing with some thin pieces of plywood and they pop up and down all over the place and I havent been able to figure a lot out.
For through cuts where depth isn’t important I use double sided tape on top of foam. If the material is warped I’ll drive a couple of screws in the high spots in addition to the tape. I keep saying I’m going to do something better but never do.
I have printed hold-downs that use 1/4" threaded rod.
Sometimes, I fail to get them enough out of the way, and the gantry DOES hit them, and I swear a little. Basically, most of the time I live with the fact that my material raw size needs to be several inches larger than my cut piece is going to be. I often move the clamps to be inside the previous cut piece too, which allows me to use my material fairly efficiently.
Because of the large router plate though, I’ll probably need to figure something else out for the LR2.
Ahhh, that 611 plate is tough on the clamps. I was using a t track system, and trying to keep those things out of the way while still securing the work piece and having enough endmill left IS a pain.
If you have a brad nailer, that would be fast and convenient, and not goof up the spoilboard as fast as screws. The brads are also usually really soft metal, and carbide mills don’t mind them too much. A couple guys have found plastic brads, which seems ideal.
Yeah they would be ideal I wish all the dealers weren’t such specialty shops that all want to sell in quantity.
Not sure if there is enough interest or profit to make it worth @vicious1 time but I’d love to try small quantity 500-1000 if he wanted to start selling them in the shop.
They might need a special nailer. I’m not sure.
I know there’s some claims that some standard nails will shoot them but it’s all ancidoral I’d love to give a few a try in my nailer and see what happens.
I’ve done some research, but no practical experiments, on the resin nails. What I’ve read is they may work for a while in the non-dedicated nailer s but it is hard to predict when they will stop. I expect some sort of residue gets left behind and eventually gums things up where the dedicated nailers are designed to deal with the issue.