I can not say if there are better options for a particular job (I have not been keeping up with what is currently available, as I am not currently looking to replace my machine), but what you describe is right in the envelope for the Nomad. After 3 (nearly 4) years, of moderate use, I have had no real issues with maintaining accuracy, precision, repeatability, or reliability.
There are times I would like more power/torque, but the price to be paid is either a lot more money or a loss of accuracy.
I own both machines (had the Nomad about 9 months before I bought my Shapeoko 3 XXL. Yes, the nomad has tighter tolerances and is more tuned to small items. I have made my fair share of wood and acrylic jewelry on it (sell in my Etsy shop) but I’m still a bit leery of metal. I did a small aluminum piece with some descent results though it turns out I had all my feeds and speeds wrong (according to forum) and I backed off awhile before trying metal again.
Though there are plenty of people that cut and engrave metal quite successfully on this machine. Check out Winston Moy videos on Youtube if you want to see the machines pushed to the limit and here is a video of him (a Carbide 3D Video since he works for them now) making 1mm high text in graphite that is super clean though you need a microscope to see it properly.
The Nomad or the Bantam OtherMill Pro would be a good choice.
Both have pros/cons, but they’re ideal for small work.
Nomad has the rigidity whereas Othermill has high RPM spindle. Etc Etc
Othermill is $$$ whereas the Nomad is $, and for me personally the difference wasn’t apparent to justify the extra funds. However, they do have different feature sets that may be more appealing one way or another.
All in all this would be a good direction as opposed to the Shapeoko style machine. Shapeoko can do this detail work, but usually requires more effort - whereas the others mentioned above handle out of the box.
Took the plunge and ordered last night. Will come tomorrow. Ordered the low profile vise and threaded table too for it as got a 5% discount so that paid for one of them.
Been looking for some er11 collets and nuts in the uk. Found some on cutwell, not the cheapest but need to make sure I’m ordering the right nut to go with it too. So I can use my amana tool bits that are 1/4" in it as I love the v-bit.
Feel like a kid at Christmas. Come on mr delivery guy
Please note that the Nomad is spindle-limited by available torque and that 1/4" tooling (officially) should only be used in softer materials (Renshape, machining wax) — some folks hold that the extra rotational mass makes up for this, but I haven’t seen any feeds and speeds or cuts which demonstrate that well enough for me to try on my machine.
Thank you for that. I just ordered a load of 1/8 bits, kyocero ones to be precise and a couple of Amana Toll ones in 1/8 and 1/16. Unfortunately the the carbide3d ones are nowhere to be seen in the uk and everytime I order stateside I get hammered with fees and taxes.
I used to order and sell from my shop high end american scissors for dog grooming but then started getting ridiculous charges from delivery companies and tax duties on top so stopped in the end.
I machining aluminum almost exclusively on the Nomad and have had great success. I’d recommend it especially if you are doing small parts. I’ve been impressed with how hassle free it has been so far, little to no fiddling or adjusting to make great parts.
I have used 1/4" ball ends for light finishing passes even on maple and oak with a little care in engagement and feed. THe larger radius, relative to a 1/8" bit, makes for more efficient smoothing of curved surfaces by allowing greater stepover for a given surface roughness (residual scalloping of the surface). I would not try to hog out material with a 1/4" bit on these. The torque and power are not there, so low engagement (axial and radial) is needed for the larger bits relative to a smaller bit to prevent stalling.
The 1/8" bit will be more efficient for heavy removal. The smaller radius allows for greater force at the cutting edge without stalling, so there can be a net benefit with greater feeds and/or greater tool engagement in the work…
As a rough guide, larger tools are more efficient at removing material until you run into spindle power and/or torque limits. Then, it can swing the other way. Larger tools can withstand greater cutting forces, are more rigid, have proportionally more support for the cutting edge, generally clear chips better, and so on. But if you need to back off hard on the feed and/or engagement to turn the tool, smaller may be better.
No 1/8” shank edge finder available (that I have found anyways).
I have also found some limited success using 1/4” end mills, particularly short stub endmills in some operations, with a careful eye/ear on whether the spindle is bogging down. I also use the 1/4” shank v-bit (mostly just because I have it on hand) but just the tip - no deep cuts allowed.