I need as much help as I can get on this subject as i can get!!! I
am looking at getting either the Roland JWX-10 or the Minitech MINI
MILL/1 M205 both have the 4th axis. Has anyone used either of
these machines? Im looking at spending around 10k on the machine. I
need as big of a work space as possible.
You might take a look at the Roland MDX-40 as well, then. It has a
nice working envelope size; 12" x 12" x 4" with the rotary table
pulled off, or about a 3" diameter x 5" cylinder in rotary mode. I've
got one and I think it's a pretty nice machine. I especially like the
automatic tool-setter - that's a very handy feature. The JWX-10 is
similar, but smaller, although the spindle runs faster and it lists
for $1000 less. See http://www.rolanddga.com/products/3D/modelers/
for more details. I don't have any personal experience with the
MiniTechs, but they look like good machines (see:
http://www.minitech.com/hardware/mills/cnc_mills_index.htm ), and
I've heard positive things about them from users. I'm not sure that
putting a chuck directly onto a stepper motor, as they seem to do,
is as good as using a real gear-driven rotary table (like Roland
provides), but it's probably okay for light-duty applications like
wax milling. The 4th axis attachments are optional extras on the
Minitech machines, as are the enclosures; they are standard on the
Roland. The frame of the MiniMill 1 doesn't look as rigid as the ones
used on the MiniMill 3 or 4, but it doesn't cost as much either. You
might ask if 4-axis CAM software is included with them, as it is with
the Roland machines.
My application would be making items as large as belt buckles to as
small as pendants. Also I would like any on different
programs.....can I use just Rhino or do i need to get Matrix? I
would like to keep the total cost as low as possible!!!!
Many jewelers use Rhino without Matrix. As was pointed out, it's
quicker to make modifications on standard jewelry items with Matrix,
so if that's what you want to do it would probably pay for itself
sooner or later. But Matrix is fairly expensive, so it could take a
while if you're not doing a lot of volume.
Also how hard is it to learn to use any of these programs....how
are the classes at GIA on CAD/CAM??? Please any help would be great
thanks a million!!!!!
Rhino isn't too hard to learn; it's easy to get started but you can
keep learning more commands and ways to do things. I'm not a Matrix
user, so I can't say what the learning curve is like. And I've never
taken a GIA class either; someone else on Orchid can probably tell
you about their CAD-CAM offerings.