Desktop class, light industrial CNC mills like the Skyfire and Syil all cost between R100k and R200k. If you add to much non standard options, it easy shoots up top R300k.
The objective is to have a worthy competitor for these machines, but at a cost of R50k.
This is NOT one of these little aluminium extrusion routers:
Or any variation of this.
Extruded aluminium frames, small spindles, or bigger spindles with non supported bearing can NOT do steel. Even if the makers claim that it can cut softer metals (non-ferrous), the final finishing in these metals are “furry”, non professional, and very small cuts, with small router bits must be used.
The target machine we are speaking about, is light commercial, can cut steel (ferrous metals as well), can accommodate face mills, most likely have a cast icon or epoxy granite structure, and has a real milling machine spindle, and not a wood router as spindle. The machine weight is definitively over 100kg, and although called a “desktop” mill, your office desk, will not hold it 🙂
A Tormach CNC Mill is a good example of a light commercial type of Desktop mill.
Elsewhere in the world (EMEA, USA, etc) examples of retrofitted CNC Desktop mills is all over the show. If they can do it, we can do it. If you in USA, you just buy a Grizzly mill, a electronics retrofit kit for under $1000 and a hardware retrofit kit for under $1000, and you almost there. The cost of the Grizzly (also from China, just white labeled in USA as Grizzly), already include all the mark-up and cost swollen by the middleman, same for the entrepreneurs making up the conversion kits.
The non technical high level process for achieving the objective of an affordable light industrial cnc mill is:
- Get the components from the source (cutting out middleman)
This does involve logistics, import export permits, quality control, ordering in bulk for discount and maybe not ordering a full working machine, but just the specific components you need (no wastage)
- R&D and creating prototypes.
- Cost of local components vs importing
Once a prototype is created, a more accurate estimation of producing machines on a larger scale can be made. The R&D to get here, may involve paying school fees again (mistakes / taking different route, etc)