Help with picking the right CNC build - Newbie…

Greetings All,

I am new to the CNC world. I am looking to build a machine that can handle up to 4’ x 4’ for wood, aluminum parts, and plastic. I have seen YouTube videos where they looked slow, but on other videos from (I gather, name brands) they move pretty quick, even through aluminum. Of course these machines are pretty pricey and out of my reach.

Is there an MPCNC Machine build that can meet the requirements above? Can the base frame be aluminum extrusion? I’m not sure of what other questions to ask since I’m new to this.

I appreciate everyone’s time and any guidance.

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I’ve milled a good bit of aluminum with my LR3 recently and cut a bunch of wood. In the size specs you are looking for the LR3 would be the best option!


Perhaps consider what is the most exciting aspect of a CNC machine’s capabilities to you? Are you interested in carving signs? Making 3D reliefs and aesthetic pieces? Making functional pieces like drawer boxes or shop tools/furniture? Making home furniture pieces like flattening slabs, cutting leg profiles and so on? Making tech focused components like aluminium panels with switches and LEDs? Making tech focused components like alumunium parts out of chunks of billet? General modification stuff like cutting holes in die-cast enclosures for hobby electronics?

Are any of these things ‘this would be a cool project to do once’ type things? Are any of those ‘I would be doing this all the time’? Are any of those ‘I’d like to try making a small-scale business out of this’?

Can any of these things be accomplished by tools/skills that you already have or could some of them
be done in other ways? That might not be as fun to consider, but might help with identifying what the most important aspects are that would result in new capabilities vs simplifying existing processes.

What materials do you want to work in? Would it be 90% MDF/plywood with occasional exotics or hardwood for gifts? Would it be 50/50 wood and aluminium but always flat sheets? Would it be some wood but also some bigger things cut from larger aluminium pieces?

Is this something that will have a specific place that it can stay set up and ready to run, or does it need to share space or be able to be taken down and put away?

That approach has helped me become a little clearer in the past about what capabilities I would like to have vs what capabilities I actually need. I always find myself wanting something that can do everything but ultimately the reality is that I can already do a lot of this stuff by hand or at work and going overboard in one area makes it harder to make time/space for other hobbies.


The size you want, go with the LR3.

Yes it can, my MPCNC is built that way but there’s no reason (other than cost) you couldn’t do the same with a Low Rider

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Thank you!

Was the router a Makita type or one dedicated for CNC (spindle router?)? to do the aluminum in addition to wood?

Thank you, Jono.

These are great questions to consider. I am in the process of piecing together a small hobby shop. Most of the tools I currently have are for woodworking and would eventually like to see the things I will build evolve into a small business.

For the aluminum side, definitely doing the things you mentioned but also some custom car components. So, I would say it would be a split of 60% give or take various wood (soft to hardwood) and 40% metals for parts, components, panels etc. All of varying thickness.

I would want the machine stationary.

Eventually also put on a laser for possibly cutting and engraving wood pieces, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary if the router can handle doing the cutting and engraving.

Lots to learn on this journey.

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Thank you.

Thank you, Matt.

I run a 1.5kw air cooled spindle in mine but I have no doubt that the makita could do just as well


Makita for me. Works well with Aluminium: Cutting Aluminium on the MPCNC Primo - Trochoidal milling, 900mm/min, 10mm DOC. - YouTube

Video is not sped up. This is the Primo, but I am pretty sure my LowRider could do it, too.


Thank you.

Thank you, nice video.

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