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Pocket NC Desktop CNC Machines — What’s the Difference?

In 2011, desktop manufacturing was revolutionised. Pocket NC — the world’s first desktop-sized 5-axis CNC milling machine — arrived on the market, making CNC machining more accessible and affordable than ever before. Although the company has rebranded to Penta, it …

Ile Kauppila

January 4, 2023

In 2011, desktop manufacturing was revolutionised. Pocket NC — the world’s first desktop-sized 5-axis CNC milling machine — arrived on the market, making CNC machining more accessible and affordable than ever before.

Although the company has rebranded to Penta, it still manufactures the same Pocket NC machines. Only, the line-up has expanded. The Pocket NC range now features Pocket NC V2-10, V2-50 CHB, and V2-50 CHK.

But what is the difference between all these machines, and which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look and explore the differences, similarities, and benefits of the Pocket NC Desktop CNC Machines.

Pocket NC V2-10

Pocket NC V2-10 is the most affordable machine in the Pocket NC range. It’s a good bit cheaper than the V2-50 versions, and it also doesn’t require an air compressor, which can deliver more savings in initial and running costs.

The machine is compatible with tools up to ¼ inch (6.35 mm) in diameter and uses a low-cost, readily available ER-11 collet. Users have a wide range of options for tool length adjustments with standard and extended tool holders.

V2-10 can reach spindle speeds of up to 10,000 rpm. It also features the ability to pre-measure tools and a high clamping force, making tool pull-out less likely.

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Pocket NC V2-50 CHB

Pocket NC V2-50 CHB is the original version of the V2-50. This machine features an NRR-2651 spindle that can reach speeds up to 50,000 rpm, allowing for fast material removal.

Unlike the V2-10, V2-50 CHB ships with a CHB 1/8-inch collet that accepts tools up to 4 mm in diameter. Changing tools is very fast, thanks to a quick-release lever arm, but at the same time, the tools can be subject to pull-out. V2-50 CHB doesn’t have extended tool holders, but the spindle adjusts 20 mm in the negative direction.

The V2-50 CHB requires an air compressor that can deliver one cubic foot per minute of air at 25 psi.

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Pocket NC V2-50 CHK

As you might guess from the near-identical model name, Pocket NC V2-50 CHK is for the most part the same as the V2-50 CHB. But there are a few key differences.

This machine version ships with an NR-2551 NSK spindle and a 1/8-inch CHK collet. Consequently, it can take tools up to a ¼ inch in diameter — the same as the V2-10.

Additionally, V2-50HK has better grip strength than its sibling and allows spindle adjustments of 20 mm in the negative and 30 mm in the positive direction. It’s had to lose the quick-release lever, though, so tool swaps aren’t as quick.

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Pocket NC V2 Range Comparison

 Pocket NC V2-10Pocket NC V2-50 CHBPocket NC V2-50 CHK
Price££££££
Max Travel Dimensions115.55(X) x 128.3(Y) x 90.1(Z) mm115.55(X) x 128.3(Y) x 90.1(Z) mm115.55(X) x 128.3(Y) x 90.1(Z) mm
Max Travel Speed1,524 mm/min1,524 mm/min1,524 mm/min
XYZ Resolution6.10 microns (+/- 50.8 microns)6.10 microns (+/- 50.8 microns)6.10 microns (+/- 50.8 microns)
Spindle Speed2,000-10,000 rpm1,000-50,000 rpm1,000-50,000 rpm
Spindle Runout12.7 microns2.5 microns2.5 microns
Tool DiametersUp to 6.35 mmUp to 4 mmUp to 6.35 mm
ColletER-11CHBCHK
Tool Change TimeSlowest (3 screws)Quick-release leverSlow (2 screws)
Tool Pre-MeasurementYesNoNo
Tool Grip StrengthStrongSubject to pull-outStrong
Tool Length AdjustmentWide range with tool holders20 mm in negative direction20 mm in negative direction, 30 mm in positive direction
Air Compressor RequiredNoYesYes
Power Source90-264 VAC, 127-370 VDC, 47-63Hz90-264 VAC, 127-370 VDC, 47-63Hz90-264 VAC, 127-370 VDC, 47-63Hz
Accepts Standard G-CodeYesYesYes

Which Pocket NC Machine Should I Choose?

So, which Pocket NC machine is the right for your application? Fortunately, as you can see above, many of the most significant specs between the different variants are identical.

The V2 machines all share the same work envelope, travel speed, resolution, repeatability, and power source, and they all accept standard G-Code. They can also all mill the same materials, from wax to titanium. This means we can focus on the spindle and collet to make the decision easier.

In a nutshell, the recommended choices of Pocket NC machines are:

  • V2-10 is more versatile and affordable
  • V2-50 CHB offers speed and can mill small details
  • V2-50 CHK provides fast milling with industrial-grade tools

V2-10 is the more versatile choice and can make larger parts. Thanks to a smaller diameter spindle, it can work closer to the maximum envelope.

You can swap pre-measured tools easily with V2-10 without probing, which can improve productivity when working with multiple materials. It’s also cheaper and doesn’t need air, making it more accessible to small businesses or schools.

V2-50 machines are better when speed or small detail is important. Depending on the tool and material, the V2-50 CHB and CHK can remove material up to four times faster than V2-10. As such, they’re better for deeper machining.

Additionally, V2-50 CHB can achieve finer surface details, making it better for any industry manufacturing small parts. V2-50 CHK can take larger, more industrial tools and provides speed even with big parts.

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Why Choose Pocket NC?

In general, CNC machines are huge and expensive machines. Their gigantic sizes and price tags have traditionally put them out of reach of smaller businesses, forcing them to rely on economically unviable outsourcing.

Penta resolves this issue with the 5-axis desktop-sized Pocket NC machines. The original Pocket NC was the world’s first desktop CNC mill and it changed the landscape for small manufacturing businesses.

The Pocket NC machines are accurate and affordable. They can process a wide variety of materials, from soft wax to steel, aluminium, brass, and even titanium.

As a result, they’re a great choice for light manufacturing businesses, including those running 3D printers. Milling parts after 3D printing lets you produce smooth surfaces and tight tolerances for demanding applications such as:

  • Engineering
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Jewellery
  • Consumer Goods
  • Electronics

The Pocket NC CNC mills let you automate manual processes, increasing productivity and reducing lead times. As a result, you can prototype faster and get your parts to the marketplace in record time.

Not only that, the machines are great options for educators. Thanks to their affordability and capabilities, they can help future manufacturing professionals learn the ropes. Want to introduce affordable desktop CNC machining to your business? Contact the friendly Solid Print3D experts! Call us at 01926 333 777 or email us at info@solidprint3d.co.uk.

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