I finally have the funds to enter the CNC realm of woodworking. I have been waiting a while to investigate what machine to buy. What I see is an awesome machine with usable software in the form of the Pro 5. But over several years I have seen folks here asking about rotary cnc and laser capability. Despite this, historically, it seems the C3D focus has been on improving the base machine, upgrading software and adding a spindle option as well as bitsetter etc, without much in the way of developing accessories to enhance the CNC experience: Rotary cnc, capability, native laser support, ATC et al. Apparently GRBL is the blame. So, as I sit here wavering, as I hover over the submit button for the order, I find something else to ponder. it is always something else of course.
Longmill MK2, made by seinci labs in Canada, has a machine that appears to be a 4 pro and pro 5 hybrid, kind of. Enough of the stuff I really don’t want in a machine since it seems old tech to make me waver but enough new stuff to make it interesting. For example, They still use V wheels but do not use belts. It apears to be a more flimsy frame and drive despite the lack of belts. It sits on a table that I would need to make, backlash blocks that seem kinda smallish on the drives etc. But, it boasts a rotary cnc and laser that are plug and play to the machine which are available now, can support a spindle but that is not offered by the company, with a published eye towards the future for ATC and perhaps 5th axis. (no date on when these will be available but they are on the radar).
It is a grbl machine but they have re-enginerred the board, or so the propaganda says, to make the additions reality in HAL/grbl. It is a machine that will function but, again, appears inferior in some aspects. the cost is much less than a pro 5 by about half. for the base model. $1800 or so. the Rotary drive is $400 and change. the laser is $300 and change. The upgraded board is about $180 with a resident computer to drive the system $100 bucks if you already have a computer. Still much less than the pro 5 but admittedly a lesser stout machine, I think. It is the featured mchine on the IDC woodcraft youtube channel.
I am new to the game. So I am asking for input from some who are not so new. In your opinion, will C3D be addressing their lack of expanding the offerings for hardware, or will they be “resting on their laurels” of having great customer service and stout machines with the limitations of the current machines, but not keeping an eye on the up and coming competition. I am not trying to being critical, I admit my desire for a pro 5 and a rotary device and a laser etc may be “having my cake and eating it too”. But, I have been saving a long time. making the right purchase is important. Expandability is important if I wish to make a retirement business out of this endevor.
So, for the more experienced that I, what do you think?