Common Pre-Purchase Questions
What type of warranty does STEPCRAFT offer?
STEPCRAFT offers a full two-year warranty on all STEPCRAFT brand products and accessories.
The full outline of what is covered is available on the following link: https://stepcraft.us/warranty/
What is the total usable Z height on the D-Series CNC?
The D-Series 420, 600 and 840 all have a max Z height of 140mm (5.51″). However this does not represent the maximum height of material you can process. From this height you need to subtract the spindle collet nut stick out as well as the length of the cutting tool you are using.
The following represents the spindle and spindle nut stick out you get on a D-Series machine with the HF-500 and MM-1000 spindles
HF-500: 31mm (1.22″)
MM-1000: 38.6mm (1.52″)
MM-1000 (with single spacer): 32.56mm (1.28″)
MM-1000 (with dual spacers): 26.34mm (1.04″)
- NOTE: This is the case with just about every CNC machine on the market, not just STEPCRAFT CNC. Most all CNC machines will have spindle and spindle nut/tool holder stick out that takes away from the usable Z height.
So if you take into consideration the MM-1000 with dual spacers, you would have a total Z height of 140mm (5.51″) minus 26.34mm (1.04″) leaving you with a new max Z height of 113.66mm (4.47″).
Now depending on what you intend to do, you can use this new value to plan your project. If you want to cut all the way through material, you would need to have a tool that is long enough, which you would further subtract from the new Z height value.
Example 1: New Z Value is 113.66mm (4.47″), if you divide that number in half, that would mean you can use a piece of material that is 56.83mm (2.23″) thick and the tool would have to stick out 56.83mm (2.23″) as well.
- NOTE: This would also mean that the cutting height of the tool would have to be a min of 56.83mm (2.23″) or you run the risk of rubbing the shank of the tool on the material.
Example 2: If you intend to only engrave on top of a piece of material, then your tool stick out can be much less. If you use an engraving blank that sticks out say 12mm from the bottom of the collet nut, then that means you can have a max material height of 101.66mm (4″).
- NOTE: please keep in mind you should also allow for a couple 2-3mm of Z height clearance for rapid, non-cutting moves on the CNC as well. So you would subtract another 2-3mm from the above numbers in a practical application.
TWO SIDED MACHINING – For thicker material
One way that you can increase your max material thickness that you can cut through is using double sided machining.
Example: You can take your new Z value of 113.66mm (4.47″) and divide that into thirds. This would mean you can have a material thickness of 75.33mm (2.96″), or two-thirds and using a cutter with a length of 38mm (1.49″) you can cut one side of the project and then flip it over and cut the other side – so you are using a shorter cutter to cut through a thicker material by cutting each side.
STEPCRAFT CNC machines have two parameters in the specifications for their machines: Clamping Surface and Travel Distance
Clamping Surface is maximum size of work material that you can place onto the machines bed. Travel Distance is the maximum amount that the gantry and cutting bit will move.
As an example, the STEPCRAFT-2/300 has a clamping surface of 14.96″ x 8.74″ (380x222mm) but the travel distance is equal to 11.81″ x 8.27″ (300x210mm). This means that you can place a slightly larger workpiece onto the bed than you can actually cut.
The number that is most important when choosing which size STEPCRAFT machine to buy is the Travel Distance.
The following chart reflects these sizes as well as the overall dimension of the machines. Clamping Distance is the middle set of dimensions and Travel Distance is the Lower Set of Dimensions.
The maximum speed for all Stepcraft V2 machines is 50 mm/sec (107 inches/min)
Keep in mind that there are very few materials where you will cut at full speed. Many times you will run closer to half the speed but you will be able to take deeper passes. The actual speed that you will run at will largely depend on the material and the end mill (bit or cutter).
What is the maximum project height I can 3D print?
The maximum print height is as follows:
STEPCRAFT 420, 600 and 840 – 120mm (4.72″)
STEPCRAFT 300 – 92mm (3.62″)
If you are using the STEPCRAFT Heated Bed, then you need to subtract 17mm (.67″) from the total print height.
What is the maximum height of the work material that I can place on the work bed?
The total travel distance for the Z axis is 5.5″. However, you need to keep in mind that some of that height will be used up by the systemheld tool that you place on the machine. For example, the HF500 spindle and collet stick below the tool holder by about 1.2″ This would reduce the total material height to 4.3″ From that you need to account for the length of the tool as well.
The main difference is in the physical size, specifically in the X and Y dimensions. However, the model 300 does have a shorter Z axis dimension of 3.12″ versus 5.5″ on the 420, 600 and 840 models.
The speed, controller board, software and functionality of each machine is exactly the same.
The level of accuracy that you will achieve with a STEPCRAFT CNC is based a lot on how well the machine was assembled and how well it is maintained. If your machine is setup with a lot of movement in the gantry and lead screws, this will equate to less accuracy at the bit. However if you take the time to not only setup and maintain the machine properly, but also take the time to do the software backlash compensation, then you can see accuracies of .001″ or better. On average a customer can expect .0015″ – .003″ of accuracy in their machine.
What clamping system comes with the Stepcraft CNC system?
The Stepcraft CNC machines come with a White Formica hardboard table and a pair of cross clamps that fit into integrated slots in the inner frame of the machine. These cross clamps have bolts in them which will allow you to secure material up to about 1/2″ in thickness. Another alternative for fastening material is to use double sided tape and stick it to the white top. This will securely hold the material in place while you cut it. Another common practice is to cut a piece of 3/4″ MDF to the size of the word table and secure that to the white surface using double sided tape. This will also act as a waste board and it will allow you to screw material into the board to secure it.
Stepcraft also sells a T-slot table option for all of their machines except the 210. This will allow you to clamp the material using either Stepcraft Clamps or a variety of aftermarket T-slot clamps.
In most cases you will need some sort of waste board under your work material to prevent you from damaging the white table or T-slot table.
What are the differences between the 5 different STEPCRAFT Desktop CNC models?
The STEPCRAFT 210 is based on a version 1 of the STEPCRAFT CNC product line. It will have a very small work area as well as a max speed of around 30mm/sec and a lower Z height (around 3″). The STEPCRAFT-2/300 has the same specs in terms of speed and functionality as the 420, 600 and 840, but the Z height is slightly shorter (around 4″) as compared to the 5.5″ of the other machines. The STEPCRAFT-2/420, STEPCRAFT-2/600 and STEPCRAFT-2/840 all have the same basic specs with the exception of the total work area size in the X and Y dimensions. The following chart will help illustrate the differences between the different size STEPCRAFT desktop CNC machines.
It really depends on what you are using for a spindle, bit and what type of material that you are using. Statistically larger diameter bits will produce more noise. The same is true for using a router as a spindle instead of a CNC spindle like the HF500 from STEPCRAFT. It also depends on what you are using for attachments. For example, if you are using the 3D Printer, foam cutter, drag knife, engraving point or wood burning pen, then the only noise you will hear is the rhythmic whine of the stepper motors working in unison together. If you are using a Dewalt DW611 router with a 1/4″ end mill then the noise will be much greater; about the sound of an electric hand mixer but not as loud as a blender.
If noise is a concern for you, then you can consider getting a STEPCRAFT Enclosure which will reduce noice by as much as 50%.
How much of STEPCRAFT CNC machines are “Made In Germany”?
Quality standard of STEPCRAFT products
The machine series STEPCRAFT 210, 300, 420, 600 and 840 grant the designation “Made in Germany”. With respective to the objective of value and origin of the individual components nearly 90 % comes from German suppliers:
|Value percentage %||Germany||Switzerland, China|
|Electronics & Software||33 %||3 %|
|Mechanics||56 %||8 %|
|Total||89 %||11 %|
Most of the suppliers have their head office not far from Menden, the location of STEPCRAFT. The advantages are clear:
– Availability of replacement parts
– Quality assurance of the manufacturing process
– Short fabrication and delivery times
– Better transparency and value for money
– Optimization of logistical processes
– Quick response times
Does the machine need to be connected to a computer or can it access files directly from a thumb drive?
STEPCRAFT CNC systems require that they are connected to a computer via a USB cable. Having the machine connected to a computer may not be as convenient but the ability to make file changes and reset parameters of the CNC from the computer saves a lot of time.]