The 3018 CNC is a great CNC machine for hobbyists.

How to start with your CNC (part 1)

How to start your CNC hobby? (part 1)

If you have never worked with a CNC machine, it may all seem quite complicated, but if you are a little further and you have seen a number of videos on YouTube, you will get to know the machine better and you will also enjoy it more and more. making whatever you want. 

You may (like me) make a lot of mistakes in the beginning but you will learn a lot from it. What helped me a lot (and still does) is keeping a kind of CNC diary. Which material, which settings and which result did it produce? This is very useful to look back, how was this or that again and what settings did I use last time? That way you don't have to make the same mistakes again.

How to start, what do you need?

Well, that depends on your budget. If you want to start small, it doesn't have to cost that much. A 3018 PRO  you can get for just under €180 at the Laserhobbyshop and that will get you there. On the internet you can find a lot of information and videos about the 3018 PRO, so relatively affordable and a lot of expansion options such as a faster spindle or a larger worktop. The 3018 was (and is) a very popular CNC, for that reason there is also a lot to be found on the internet. if you have a little more to spend, you can also think of the TTC-450 an absolute good middle class among the CNCs.

Okay, you bought a CNC, what software are you going to use?

There are quite a lot of possibilities for CNC software, simply put you can divide them into 2 categories, the design software and the control software of your CNC. Actually 3 categories because you also have all-in programs with which you can both design and control the machine. An example of this is Easel , simple yet versatile, a very useful free version that allows you to draw your design and send it to your CNC.

Besides Easel, there are many other free and (sometimes expensive) paid versions. If you are good at designing in a CAD program, you can also use that and convert your design into GRBL code (the code that converts your design into a language your CNC understands). Another great program (also free) to send the GRBL code to your CNC is UGS

James Dean has made a fantastic series about the 3018 PRO.You can find it here

As a final tip, the 3018 PRO is also easy to expand with a laser module, more about that in the next part of this blog.. 

If you have any further questions about how to get started with a CNC, please leave a message or check out the links provided in this blog. Have fun!