Sain Smart Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router: A Budget-Friendly Entry into the World of CNC
The Sain Smart Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router is popular for hobbyists and small-scale creators looking to step into CNC routing without breaking the bank. With its affordable price point and reliable performance, this machine offers an excellent entry-level solution for those interested in bringing their designs to life with precision and efficiency. This review will delve into the features, construction quality, and overall performance of the Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router.
|Effective Engraving Area
|300 x 180 x 45 mm(11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8”)
|400 x 330 x 240 mm(15.7 x 13.0 x 9.4″)
|Z-Axis Component Material
|775 motor, 24V, 10000 RPM
|60W; Maximum power: 120W
|1.3 A, 12V, 0.25 Nm torque (2.2 in lb)
|Tip 0.1 mm, 20 degree, Diameter 3.175 mm
|Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, MAC OS
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Features to Consider When Purchasing a CNC Machine
Before diving into the review, let’s take a moment to discuss the key features to consider when purchasing a CNC machine. These factors can significantly influence your overall experience and the machine’s capabilities. Here are some essential aspects to keep in mind:
- Workspace: Determine the size and dimensions of the machine’s workspace, as it will determine the maximum size of projects you can undertake.
- Motor Power: The motor power directly affects the machine’s cutting capabilities and speed. Consider the material thickness and hardness you plan to work with to ensure the motor suits your needs.
- Construction Quality: Look for machines constructed with sturdy and durable materials, such as aluminum or steel, to ensure stability and precision during operation.
- Ease of Use: Consider the user interface and software compatibility. Look for machines that offer intuitive controls and are compatible with popular design software.
- Upgrade Potential: Determine if the machine allows for future upgrades or enhancements. This flexibility can be valuable as your skills and needs evolve.
Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router Review
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of this CNC router.
Affordability and Reliability
The Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router shines in this department. It provides an accessible entry point into CNC routing for hobbyists and small-scale creators. The machine has undergone several generations of improvements since its launch, contributing to its reliability and performance. As it stands now, this is the go-to kit that I recommend to anyone who wants to get into CNC without spending a large amount of money or time on research. As long as it is used reasonably well, it should last a few years and produce many enjoyable projects. Best of all, it can be programmed to engrave soft metals like aluminum, copper, and brass and upgraded further, details of which you will find later in this article.
Plastic is the plague of CNC routers, especially the small ones. Therefore, it is heartening to see that the Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router is constructed from milled aluminum, providing a sturdy structure while maintaining a relatively lightweight profile. This is excepting the Z-Axis, which is nylon and tends to flex even with the metal parts in place. This is a bit of an Achille’s heel for the machine. Due to its lack of mass, clamping or bolting it securely to the worksurface during operation is necessary to prevent unwanted movement or vibrations. At the very least, try to weigh down the frame carefully without affecting the moving parts.
Assembly and Setup
The machine does not come assembled. So the initial task is assembling it. The included manual is in English and provides clear instructions that are easy to follow. Depending on your experience level with IKEA, you should do well! Careful alignment is essential before running the machine for the first time, ensuring accurate and precise operation with minimal stress on the moving parts.
One nice little upgrade made to the design is the clear ABS cover for the brains of the machine. The controller board used to be all naked and exposed. So it is nice that we do not need to purchase a separate enclosure like previous models. I wish they would also mount the power supply brick somehow, but that’s just me being finicky.
One of the notable advantages of the Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router is its software compatibility because it just takes G-Code if necessary and ships with GRBL on a USB stick. You can easily create your G-code with free or paid software using Windows and Mac operating systems.
You will encounter various software options on your quest, including popular programs like the previously mentioned GRBL, Candle, and Universal G-code Sender (UGS). These software solutions provide intuitive interfaces and offer various features and capabilities to control and program the CNC machine.
For Windows users, you can use software such as Carbide Create, Easel, and Mach3. These programs provide a user-friendly experience and offer a range of design and toolpath generation features.
Mac users can also use Carbide Create and Easel, along with Fusion 360. These programs offer design tools of varying complexity and usually allow for tight integration with the Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router.
Additionally, the Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router supports G-code from open-source software options, providing users with flexibility and the opportunity to explore different software solutions based on their specific needs and preferences.
It is worth noting that regardless of the operating system or software chosen, a basic understanding of CNC routing and G-code programming is beneficial to utilize the machine’s capabilities fully. However, with the variety of software options available and the growing community support, you can find ample resources, tutorials, and forums to initiate and enhance your CNC routing knowledge. Go on Youtube, and you will be well cared for for all the basics and tips. Then hop over to Reddit and start digging around the threads on r/CNC.
For all beginners, Easel is a great free option to start with, which will give you basic tools that are great for common design tasks like lettering and shapes.
For a compact desktop CNC router, the Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router performs admirably. It offers a solid introduction to CNC routing, allowing users to experiment with their designs within the given size and power limitations. While it may not be suitable for serious, large-scale production operations, it excels as a beginner-level machine for hobbyists and small-scale projects. It can struggle with deeper cuts because the motor is not strong, so only program shallow passes of 1/16th for more challenging materials and perhaps 1/8th for soft materials. This will increase your total time, but it will prevent burns and wobbles.
Otherwise, it is stable and hardly ever crashes or seizes up. It only comes with several v-groove bits for its ER-11 collet, so you must get some other bits if you want to cut more than just v-grooves. Here’s a good ER11 ¼” CNC router bit set from SPE tools to consider if you are looking for diversity.
The Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router also provides an upgrade option to the Pro-Max version, albeit at a higher price point that is almost double. The Pro-Max version features a more powerful motor, benefiting users working with harder or thicker materials. This upgrade option allows for greater versatility and expands the machine’s capabilities. Additionally, you can swap out the motor on the Genmitsu 3018 Pro
The Genmitsu CNC 3018 Pro Router is affordable and reliable for those venturing into CNC routing. While it will not compete with high-end professional machines, it offers a solid foundation for hobbyists and small-scale creators. Its sturdy construction, decent performance, and upgrade potential provide an accessible entry point to CNC routing. It allows you to get started and may be even make some money using your creativity and skill.If you are in the market for the Genmitsu CNC 3018-Pro and this review has helped you decide to buy it, our links above will give you the best prices online while also helping us pay some of our bills through the affiliate system. It helps us create more free content just like this one.
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