I just got my first Nomad and am going to put it in my garage. I live in the Windy City that is super cold during winter. Is it safe to put my nomad in low temperature? What should be the best temp range for the Nomad to be in?
A few weeks ago it was terribly cold around the country and people were reporting issues with their Shapeoko machines having homing issues and slow moving machines causing loss of steps on the belt driven machines. One person speculated that the grease in the ball bearings on his machine had frozen. The good news was once their shops were heated up or the cold wave was over the machines went back to normal.
I have been woodworking for 50 years and spent 50 winters in Texas working in the garage. Now the Texas cold winter is nothing compared to Chicago but for me it is miserable. I have been to Chicago in the winter and working in the deep freeze that Chicago can become would be unbearable for me. With the cost of energy going up it may not be feasible to heat a garage/workshop up to a comfortable temperature going forward so please consider that.
As far as the machine goes it can stand the cold weather just sitting there. Using the machine during the extreme cold is another thing. The Nomad is small enough that you could store it in the house if you wanted and maybe even run if you have dust collection. There are people around the world that run their CNC machines inside apartments. For health and safety that might be a bad idea but it is something that can be done with proper precautions and good dust extraction. A CNC makes a terrible mess when cutting wood or metal.
The Nomad can take the cold for storage but not so much for using it in freezing weather. Plus trying to sit and babysit your machine in those temperatures even if dressed properly would be brutal. The good news is spring is always just around the corner. We have to get through a couple of more months of cold but soon spring will be sprung.
Something you did not ask about and that is the opposite of the cold. I live in East Texas where we regularly get over 100 Degrees F for a month or more. It is quite hot but the Shapeoko just keeps going. I usually have a big fan pointed at me during that time but the C3D machines can handle the heat. Chicago get pretty hot in the summer so for at least 9 months of the year the Nomad should be usable in the garage. The other 3 might be intermittent depending on how cold it gets. Now you made me shiver just thinking about the frozen north and that cold wind coming off the lake in Chicago. Brrrrr
Temperatures below 40F can damage the electronics in the long run. The other environmental hazard is condensation. When spring time rolls around and you have warm air and cold tools, any condensation that forms on steel components can cause them to rust. This is less of a risk if you keep the linear motion components properly lubricated.
TLDR: General guideline is keep is above freezing, but ideally above 40F.
I’m in the Chicago burbs. My two machines are in the garage and I use them year round along with my other tools and machines. My garage is Unheated, but usually stays above 40F as long as the overhead door is closed. The temp has never kept me from using my CNC, but the extreme temps has at times, prevented me from going out in the garage at all.
I usually will work in the garage as long as it’s 45F or warmer (long sleeve shirt instead of a jacket) without any concern for the tools themselves. Maybe that’s hard on the machines? I don’t know, but I use them when I need them and they sit when I don’t. Never had an issue.
I personally, would not store a tool of this cost in non-temperature controlled space whose temperature fluctuates that much. (I live in new hampshire, so im no stranger to a very cold garage)
Obviously that’s my opinion and that might be the only space you have for it to live, in my opinion it requires a temperature-controlled (or at least less severe) place to live so that it can be useful & fun for many years to come.
(and for clarity my nomad lives in my office)
I put in a mini-split ac/heat system in my garage. The total investment was about 2300, including getting it wired.
Mr. Cool sells DIY systems that do not need a heating/ac guy to charge the line sets. My garage stays comfortable all year.
That is pretty cool for the mini split systems. I live in a hot climate, East Texas, and my shop ceiling is 16 feet high at the peek. So trying to air condition my shop would be cost prohibitive. I currently heat in the winter with a propane stove. That is quite expensive as each 20lb bottle of propane is about $22.00 and lasts for about 36 hours of continuous burning. Luckily we do not usually stay cold for more than a week at a time. I have been looking at getting an electric shop heater that hangs from the ceiling. That still costs but will be on my monthly electric bill. I am in an electric cooperative and our kilowatt hour rate is lower than for profit electric companies. I meant to buy one last spring/summer when they went on clearance but forgot. So for now it is propane. On our coldest days I can keep the shop about 50 degrees F. That is workable for me and eventually it warms up. Today was 75 degrees F but in a few days the cold will be back.
If I had a smaller shop I would invest in the mini split system. My last house I had a 2 car garage workshop with 8 foot ceiling and the mini split would have worked. This shop is 40’ X 60’ with the 16 foot ceiling.
Another solution for cold climates in a garage workshop is to buy 3/4" rigid foam and cut it to fit on the doors between the panels. I understand this really helps. The aluminum doors are great cold/heat sinks. Another thing to do is to replace the bottom seals with ones that seal better to keep the cold wind out. They also make side seals as well.
Brrrrr you are making me feel cold.