Confident? – Stepcraft CNC D840 D-series – An engineering review
Stepcraft D-Series / Stepcraft D-840 has been specifically developed for use by hobbyists, members of private and small business sectors, and numerous educational programs. In this article I will do an engineering review of the D840 and the stepcraft D-series of cnc machines.
Stepcraft CNC D-420 / D-600 / D-840 D-series work envelope
The Stepcraft D-series of cnc’s comes in several work envelopes.
|Stepcraft 420||Stepcraft 600||Stepcraft 840|
|Overall size (X,Y,Z)||450 x 550 x 510 mm||570 x 730 x 510 mm||750 x 970 x 510 mm|
|Work envelope (X,Y,Z)||300 x 420 x 140 mm||420 x 600 x 140 mm||600 x 840 x 140 mm|
|Clamping surface (X,Y)||312 x 500 mm||312 x 500 mm||615 x 920 mm|
|Stepcraft D-420||Stepcraft D-600||Stepcraft D-840|
|Overall size (X,Y,Z)||16.93 x 21.65 x 20.08 “||22.44 x 28.74 x 20.08 “||29.53 x 38.19 x 20.08 “|
|Work envelope (X,Y,Z)||11.81 x 16.54 x 5.51 “||16.54 x 23.62 x 5.51″||23.62 x 33.07 x 5.51 “|
|Clamping surface (X,Y)||12.28 x 16.69 “||17.01 x 26.77 “||24.09 x 36.22″|
These work envelopes are mostly suited for various wood and plastic projects.
Stepcraft CNC D-series target audience
As written in the introduction Stepcraft is primarily focussing on hobbyists and others who like to experience and experiment with cnc machines.
It is advertised to be used for the following materials:
- Wood: softwood, hardwood, plywood and artificial wood
- Plastics: thermoplastics, ABS, PE, PP, soft/hard PVC, Lexan®, polyamide, Plexiglas®
- CFRP / carbon
- Non-ferrous metals
- Elastomers, duroplastics
- Mixed materials
Based on the construction, low cost linear system etc I doubt it can do non-ferrous metals at a reasonable speed. If this is your goal I would advice to look further.
Stepcraft CNC D-series spindle
By default the Stepcraft D-series does not come with a spindle. This needs to be purchased separately in the Stepcraft shop.
The machine is designed for low power, low torque, high rpm spindle that is compatible with this platform.
Stepcraft CNC D-series mechanics
The Stepcraft D-series of CNC are constructed out of extruded aluminum profiles. The advantage of this is a relatively light but decently sturdy body. For light wood and plastics use is sufficient. However if you are aiming for a bit more than that you will notice that this machine is built to cost and a specific purpose. In those situation I would advice to look further.
Stepcraft CNC D-series linear guides
For the linear guides it uses roller wheels and steel guides. This is a low cost method of implementing a guide for linear motion. This is mostly associated with very low cost builds. If one was to compare it to DIY builds it would most likely be comparable with the IndyMill.
Stepcraft CNC D-series motors
For the linear actuation the Stepcraft D-series use 2A stepper motors from Sanyo Denki. These are quality stepper motors and a good fit for a hobbyist machine. No worries there.
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Should you buy the Stepcraft D840 / D-series ?
If you are looking for a ready to go CNC machine to introduce you to CNC machining with materials such as wood and plastics the Stepcraft D840 and others in the series might be a good option for you. If you are looking to go a bit further and want to explore (light) milling in materials such as aluminium I would personally advice to look at other options such as the PrintNC.
Stepcraft D840 / D-series alternatives
If you are willing to DIY there are quite a few options out there which would allow you a much better performing machine for about a 50% discount versus the Stepcraft D series CNC.
Options such as the PrintNC (mini) come to mind: