My machine arrives today and I could not possibly be more excited about it! I thought I’d kick off a thread to discuss some of the added costs beyond the machine that might help someone in the future decide on if the machine they are looking at really fits their budget or not.
Software: In the time since we ordered the machine (my shop partner ordered it because he has a new credit card that gets better points than mine so he paid for it and I paid him) I have been playing with a few different piece of software to see what will best suit our needs and I’ve arrived that VCarvePro is the right solution for the size of the machine and the in-lay capabilities that are lacking in Carbide Create. That is an almost $700 uplift in cost! I already pay for Fusion 360 at $60/month but it lacks the native tools to do inlays very well and I’d easily spend more time making the negative piece in the software than it would ultimately cost me for the other software.
Endmills: The machine comes with a #201 .25" flat endmill but as someone who has broken enough tools in his life to know that you should always have spares on hand I have more en-route at $45 each plus 60 degree bits, 30 degree, 15 degree, upcut/downcut etc…
Workholding: I’m fortunate that I have a pretty decent wood shop already because of my furniture side business and I standardized on Rockler t-track many years ago so I have a pretty good collection of hold downs and fixtures but if I had to buy them that is an added cost. I did buy a good bit of painters tape and CA glue for things that might go closer to the edge of the work piece than I feel comfortable with (we have a saying at our shop ‘I do like my friend Clearance!’). Having a 3d printer handy for making hold downs is probably going to come in real handy here soon. Easily a few hundred dollars worth of clamps for this.
Dust collection: Again I’m fortunate that I already have a big(ish) dust collector (Shop Fox makes decent stuff for a good price) but I did have to buy some adapters and a grounded hose to fit it for my machine. Dust collector is $405 plus hoses and clamps and adapters.
Material prep and finishing. Saw a thread a few days ago about someone asking about essential tools and I maintain that if you get a ‘decent’ table saw (read: not a Craftsman with some weird sized miter slots), a palm sander, and a good drill you can do just about anything you need (I will tell anybody who will listen that one of my favorite time saver tools is the Kreg Rip-Cut and a circular saw - holy crap it makes ripping down sheet goods to a workable size a breeze). This subject is entirely too subjective based on available space and needs. If you don’t have a table saw you will definitely rely on your big box store to cut down to your working sizes but it’s a workable solution.
I did buy my machine to augment the other tools we already have and for the customers we already make stuff for (and some personal projects of course) so your mileage may vary for your needs.
What other costs am I forgetting about?