A CNC also known as Computer Numerical Control is utilized by many hobby machines. A CNC router or mill functions using subtractive manufacturing. Simply put, it is similar to drilling except that it can cut various axes working horizontally and vertically. As such, it is capable of producing a range of shapes. Though it is easy to confuse this process with that of 3D printing, there are distinct differences in the quality and strength of the products created by each. The outputs of 3D printing tend to be structurally weaker than those made using a CNC engraver. The latter can also be used with softwood or aluminum depending on the strength of the machine and is used for the creation of a specific part.
The CNC 3018 is a generously sized engraver that is compatible with a range of different materials. If you would like to find out more about this machine, we have identified the features, assembly process, and performance capabilities below.
What is the CNC 3018 ( 3018 pro)?
The 3018 CNC and the 3018 Pro CNC are general engraving machines that are produced and sold under different manufacturing machines, with some of the most popular options being the Genmitsu, SainSmart, or CNC machine. For this reason, when browsing the market for this CNC engraver you aren’t going to find that it is manufactured by one specific brand but several.
The figures in the title refer to the machine’s dimensions, so the CNC 3018 measures 300 x 180mm and for a desktop engraver, this is a generous size. Though it is an engraving machine that can be used to cut a range of materials, it is going to struggle to cut through and engrave tougher metals. However, the versatility of this machine cannot be ignored as it can cut through materials as soft as wax and others that are as firm as wood.
Frame Dimensions: 15.7” x 13” x 9.4”
Frame Materials: Aluminium + PF
Engraving/ Working Area: 11.8” x 7.1” x 1.8”
Material Compatibility: plastic, soft aluminum, PVCs, woods, brass
Power Supply: 24V output, 5A
Motor: 775 Motor, 12V, 0-10,000 rpm
All CNC engraving machines feature the same main components which are detailed below.
- The Spindle Motor – The speed of this component will identify the toughness of the materials that the machine can be used to cut. With a 775 spindle motor, the CNC 3018 shouldn’t be used to engrave materials that are firmer than aluminum.
- The Power Supply – The Power is going to determine how effective the machine is in catering to your needs. If you feel as though the 775 spindle is insufficient you will likely need to upgrade to a more powerful alternative.
- The End Mills and Collets – The aforementioned is the element that cuts through the material and the type that is used will influence the shape that is created. It is important to choose an end mill that is suitable for your project. The collet is the component that is responsible for attaching the bits to the spindle and they are available in different sizes.
- The Control Board – This element ensures that the machine achieves consistent results when cutting through the material.
- The Coolant – Although this is only really necessary if the spindle has been upgraded, it can be a helpful addition for cutting through particular types of material.
- The Accessories – Along with the engraver you are also provided with a few additional accessories. This includes an SD card reader, drill bits, and an ER11 Collet with an extension rod.
This machine is praised for being easy to assemble and it also comes with a printed color manual that details all of the instructions in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Alongside this guidance manual, you will also be provided with all of the tools that you need to complete the process. Each step of assembly will be identified in the manual. First, you will need to construct the base, then you will need to add the sides and the X-axis. For the final step, you will need to add the controller board and wires and then your machine will be ready for use.
Although the CNC 3018 is an affordable machine, it displays a lot of potential in terms of performance. Knowledge of this type of machine and how it is intended to be used will help ensure that you get the most out of the machine’s functionality. Familiarity with the machine’s features will ensure that your time is dedicated to creating high-quality projects. On the whole, the CNC 3018 is praised as an ideal machine for those who are new to this craft, providing the versatility and freedom to experiment with different types of material. Of course, it is important that your machine is used correctly as this will help to eliminate the eventuality of any mistakes and problems which are going to consume your time.
The software for this machine is compatible with Windows and Mac interfaces. You will be provided with a USB flash drive that contains the machine’s software. The control software used is the GRBL 1.1f Version and the imported file format supports G Code. Those who do not receive the USB are advised to follow a link provided by the manufacturer.
One of the most prominent issues with this machine is that it is prone to vibrating, however, this tends to be a typical problem associated with these types of machines. The severity of this issue is likely to depend on the material that you are trying to cut through as it is likely to vibrate more with firmer materials. To reduce the level of vibrating and avoid this issue affecting the quality of the project that you are working on, it is important to ensure that you are using the correct-sized ball end cutter and components.
The CNC 3018 doesn’t utilize a huge number of components to operate and the majority of your efforts are likely to be dedicated to the correct assembly of the machine. For beginners, in particular, the CNC 3018 provides an easy way of familiarizing yourself with how machines of this kind function and the projects that can be created.