I am currently buying my first cnc machine and I am torn between the I2R and the Pro series and would like some advise from you all.
I'm just starting my business , I have some knowledge of CNC and how it works and I have been using the Vectric free software to try it out.
What I plan on concentrating on is custom signs, cutting boards and plaques in wood. I also want to be able and expand into other areas plastic, glass , metal and possibly lazer and 3D as I get more experienced.
Because there is such a price difference I am trying to decide if I should go with the PRO series right off the bat or start with the I2R ?
Also can you tell me how well these units retain their value if I want to sell and trade up in a couple of years?
The first law of CNC is "buy your second machine first". I was, not too long ago, pondering the same things that you are and spent months in "analysis paralysis". I ended up buying the Axiom Elite AR-16 for several reasons (none of which I regret). 1) The bigger (4x4) work area will enable me to "make bigger stuff" when the time arises and allows me to work on wide & narrow pieces without "turning everything sideways". 2) The spindle is far superior to a router. This ruled out the "baby" machines. The bigger spindle is far superior to the smaller ones. 3) It moves (and cuts) much faster. 4) The gantry clearance is 8" versus 6.5". Surprisingly, this has already proved useful for me when working on a "box". If you plan on 3D, plan on more clearance. 5) The laser was immediately available (it's not "there yet" for the I2R) 6) The tool box is included (whereas it is optional at extra cost on the other lines that Axiom produces). This pares the price differential down by $500 7) The stand is included (in fact, the machine comes already mounted on the stand). This is another $500 you won't need to spend 8) The AR-16 is "fully skirted" and the "computer works" are mounted in a slide out drawer (on the end opposite the toolbox) rather than in a "tower" 9) Servo motors "Know where they are" and provide constant interactive feedback without "lost steps" that can ruin your work. Stepper motors only "Know where you told them to go" and assume that they got there (which is never the case when steps are lost.)
The Axiom AR-16 Elite is truly a "different" machine. It's not like the automotive industry where spending (a lot) more money still gets you the same engine, drivetrain & chassis with a little bit different sheet metal, rims & tires, and softer seats. There's a market for the I2R, but I don't think it has a place in a shop where you are planning your business around it. Sure, you could "pay it off faster" (with what you're producing), but...in the long run, you'll be happier with "more machine". Don't look at it from the standpoint of "what could I get when I trade up"...look at it from the standpoint of "what can I do with something that I wouldn't NEED to trade in."
The laser is a "fun option", but It would not be suitable for high production. I have no idea what the life of the diode is (or what it costs to replace), but I do know that it takes a LOT longer than you might think to burn things.
I did suggest that the OP start with a different brand of CNC mill (lower end) if he also needed to buy his other tools as well (like I did). However, it wasn't a "sales post" by any means and I immediately followed it up with a suggestion he move straight to your Axiom Elite Series 48"x48" as an upgrade after he was established.
As a sign-maker, the limited cut area in the AR Pro+ 8 is the only thing that I'm not happy with, but I'm inferring that the Elite series is out of his budget to start with. My suggestion was just a realistic attempt at ensuring the success of his business and was actually a plug for Axiom after he became established - I own a sign-making business that I started from scratch, too.
If you'd like to cultivate your customer base into a group of thriving, supportive businesses, I'd like to suggest you be a bit less authoritarian in your moderation of posts. If your members can't even mention a different brand of machine without that post being removed, they might be more hesitant to provide honest feedback and become less engaged with the community.
Post by Gary Campbell on Sept 7, 2019 6:51:04 GMT -5
I disagree with the use of "authoritarian" for a few reasons.
1) It is prudent, polite and good business not to allow mention of other brands on a forum that is provided to promote a singular brand and offer its owners a method to connect and possibly assist each other with minor problems and methodology.
2) If one has something important to say about another brand, positive or negative, that private conversation is only a PM away.
3) Eliminating both good and bad comments aimed at other brands keeps the decorum high and the trash talk low.
4) The golden rule: "He that provides the gold to keep a forum running, makes the rules"