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Chinese cutters




Now I want to put myself in the shoes of the willing hobbyist who wants to bring us closer to the CNC world of milling machines, trying to make you understand what are the situations that you will probably find in front of you:
Hear everyone talking about numerically controlled cutters, every time you go to a website where they talk about machining, very often you come across those who work with these cutters and do amazing jobs, you will find forums where we only talk about working with these prodigious machines , read everything and more and in the end you too ask the fateful question: "which cheap CNC milling machine do you recommend?" and at this point the answers you will receive lead you to total confusion.
All the answers will certainly be given in good faith and inherent to their experiences and needs, but you will find those who recommend the "Toni" machine and those who advise against the "Piero" machine, better if you take the "Caio" and not use the " Bortolo ”because“ Gino ”is fantastic and so on (Toni, Piero, Caio, Botolo and Gino are just personal names, don't look for them as CNC!).

So you begin to see the prices of what is ready to use, but surprisingly you find costs well above your expectations.
Discomfort !!

But here's an escape, CHINA.
The Chinese have seen the business on this type of machines and the offers on the internet are in the hundreds, the prices are very tempting, they even bring you the shipping costs included (NOT customs duties, eye !!), with 700 euros they give you everything, even a high frequency power tool with inverter, here in Italy with 700 euros you would get just that, let alone a complete cutter.
And then you go to the forums asking for opinions on the "Mao" cutter to find out if it is okay, and here open heaven: take it that I am fine, do not take it because it is bad.

Well, what do I do now?

The truth often lies somewhere in between

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I bring you a trivial example:

For my needs I needed an oscilloscope to see the signals arriving at the parallel port, nothing special, I just need to see if they are there and the waveform.

I asked my friend Daniele, an electronic expert, for advice on what to take, and he recommended a Tektronix for a few thousand euros, obviously an exaggerated price for me, I search on the internet and find a handheld oscilloscope for about 100 euros (DSO Nano , obviously Chinese).


I take it, it comes and I try it, it works, it turns on, I see the waveforms, I don't even tare it, I'm fine with it, I'm happy, I have an oscilloscope, if someone asks me for advice, I tell them I want to Well.

When Daniele saw it, he first insulted me, but then he told me that I took what was needed for my needs, if it breaks or is not adequate, I know what to take better.


Quality price


The same goes for CNC cutters made in China, they cost in relation to their quality, but maybe it is enough for your needs, if you use it a little it lasts a lot, if it breaks, then you know what to get.

When the Chinese see business opportunities, they throw themselves into it, copy the products between them, try to save as much as possible on materials and processes, send out continuous models to stimulate demand, sometimes I see Chinese sites where close to CNC cutters also sell clothes and shoes, I don't know the assistance as it can be, however it is, a Chinese cutter is cheap.

I had the opportunity to see two Chinese cutters, one had the guide bars crooked, the Chinese seller was advised who was willing to acknowledge the return of part of the money as long as positive feedback was issued on eBay, however the arrangement of this problem was complicated and required precision (and expensive) machining.

The second cutter had an "extravagant" mechanical problem, on the sliding bearings for shaft diameter 12 mm they had used bars diameter 11.8 mm, which is absurd considering also the difficulty of finding this strange diameter, obviously the axes of the cutter had too much play.
The electrospindle was then a simple 12 V motor which had also been connected with reverse rotation, I'm not kidding, but I use a similar motor to make the coffee cream.
A few months later, this "electrospindle" was replaced by a more functional Proxxon.

If you are looking for opinions on a specific model of cnc cutter, I suggest you also consult sites in English, normally the reviews are greater and also the considerations are more real and in-depth.



Pay attention to the costs of VAT, Duty and Customs, when you take something in China, anything, even if they put free shipping costs, this when it arrives at the Italian customs is subjected to control.
If the package is small, see envelope or a little more, it is generally let through and arrives at your home at no additional cost.
If the package is larger, such as a shoe box so to speak, it is very often opened and checked, if the customs officer finds the bill of materials contained with the price, he calculates Duty, VAT and customs charges that you have to pay when you receive it at home if you do not find anything in the documentation or if the cost is too low, stop the package and send you a registered letter asking you the contents of the package, the cost you have paid and possibly a receipt of the payment made, see bank transfer or PayPal.
The customs officer writes that a zero value of the content is not accepted or that it is given to you or other loopholes, if you declare a value too low, the customs officer, based on tables and experience, fixes the value and sends you home the package with the cost to pay.
Attention that it is not possible to negotiate with customs, you would only waste time, in principle and in my experience, the additional cost between VAT, Duty, customs duties, is about 30% of the declared value, keep this in mind when you do any purchase in China.

Sometimes you find the Chinese product present on a European warehouse and therefore exempt it has import taxes, if this is true, normally the cost of the object is at least 20% higher than the purchase in China, but it happens that the object you arrive anyway from China and we fall back on the additional costs of customs clearance, useless to protest, wasted time.


From this date things have changed a lot for all purchases at online stores, see Aliexpres and the like.

In a nutshell, you have to pay 22% VAT for all products with a value of less than 150 Euros, this amount is already calculated at the time of the order, in fact everything costs 22% more.

In addition to this, for purchases over 150 Euros, in addition to VAT, the duty is also paid, the value of which varies according to the type of goods, on average from 4 to 7%.

And finally, whatever the value of the goods, there is also the cost of customs clearance.

If the volume and weight of the package is significant, the shipping cost is greatly increased, the shipping costs between China and Europe have increased by 50%, due to intense volumes of goods shipped worldwide which increase costs.

There is always the loophole of buying from Chinese retailers in Europe, see Spain, Holland, the Czech Republic and others, but in fact the costs are still much increased.



Thinking of making a CNC milling machine yourself is not wrong, on the web there are now many homemade solutions, if you are not very equipped with a lathe and milling cutter, a wooden solution can be good, it allows you to understand many things and opens your eyes. for a possible new version.

Starting immediately with a super detailed project in metal, prismatic guides and recirculating screws, hoping to find someone who will make the pieces at low cost, just waste time and hopes.

Ultimately, if you want to get rid of the whim of having a CNC milling machine, saving you the time necessary to choose the components to build it and to use it occasionally for small projects, then I recommend that you take an already assembled cutter from the Chinese market.

Instead, if your intentions are to open a business or actively use the cutter for important projects or processes that require good precision and greater reliability, as well as technical support in case of doubts or malfunctions, then I recommend that you invest. more and buy some cutters from the European market, and why not, even one of mine.  

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