Mention a CNC machine to most woodworkers and they will envision a large machine with a sheet of plywood being cut with a router. For the most part, that is an accurate image of a CNC machine in the woodworking industry.
However, there are many unique and specialized CNC machines in the woodworking industry that are smaller in size and rarely, if ever, see a whole sheet of plywood. In addition, there are numerous accessories and options that can significantly extend the capabilities of any CNC router.
Some are a fourth axis (rotary) that acts like a lathe, while fifth and sixth axes can be attached to the Z-axis for it to cut horizontally in the X-Y plane, which is the plane of the table.
There are also CNC machines that are configured differently and approach the use of how to use fourth, fifth and sixth axes in a different manner. One such manufacturer is Legacy CNC Woodworking of Springville, Utah. And if that name rings a bell, Legacy is the inventor and manufacturer of the Legacy Ornamental Mill, which is one of the more unique methods of controlling and using a typical router for a wide variety of creative woodworking tasks.
Legacy has a wide variety of CNC machines that perform three-, four- and five-axis cutting operations. Its production models range from a 2’ x 2’, 3-axis benchtop model to a 4’ x 8’, five-axis floor model. Custom-sized models are also available.
The most recent addition to the Legacy CNC product line is the Maverick. It has a 2’ x 5’ table with an 8” Z-axis clearance and a rotary axis for four- and five-axis turning, carving and indexed flat machining up to 5’ in length. The table can be extended over the rotary axis, which will increase its width to 3’. The Maverick comes fully assembled and is equipped with a variable frequency drive, liquid-cooled spindle with an ER20 collet that accepts bits from 1mm to 1/2”.
Generally, the appearance of the table and the specifications are pretty normal. It is only when you start walking around the Maverick that you begin to notice things that are different from a typical CNC machine. Standing at the front of the machine, it is obvious that the variable frequency drive is built into the gantry. In addition, the controller is also built into the table base. Putting these two critical components out of harm’s way is a great idea.
The Maverick also features a Z-axis zeroing plate, the hardware end of Legacy’s Smart Tool technology that stores and automatically sets bit heights. This not only saves time in the cutting process, but in the design and G-code generation processes.
There’s an optional vertical fixturing plate that will allow for the cutting of straight and angled joinery such a finger joints, through dovetails and mortise-and-tenons. It doubles as a drill-press vise when drill bits are mounted in the spindle.
At the back of the Maverick is the tailstock of the rotary axis, which is mounted on a plate that can be raised and lowered with a hand screw. This, coupled with Legacy’s Conversational Computer-Aid Machining (CCAM) software, are what make this machine’s fourth- and fifth-axis capabilities relatively simple to use.
Maverick’s controller runs on Legacy’s proven Mach3 software. The Maverick can also be used with CAD programs such as SketchUp, TurboCAD and BobCAD, or CAD/CAM programs such as Vectric’s Aspire and VCarve Pro.
Legacy offers continuing education and customer support. It has a YouTube channel with eight years worth of instructional videos. It also hosts an online forum and webinars.
The Maverick sells for a base price of $17,000. For information, visit www.legacycncwoodworking.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue.