General adds easier-to-use CNC machinery

General International has partnered with Gorilla CNC to offer a line of Canadian-made CNC machines. The line, which debuted at IWF 2008, includes two “Junior” models — available with a 20" x 20" or 20" x 36" table — and a “Pro Series” model with a 48" x 96" table.

The machines were primarily designed for simple turnkey solutions, and don’t require years of programming experience or hundreds of hours of training to operate, according to General’s Norm Frampton.

“The overwhelming reason for someone not moving forward into the world of CNC is the learning curve with traditional CNC software and support,” Frampton says. “The included Gorilla CNC software bundle is simple and easy to learn, backed up with online tutorials and a toll-free support hotline.”

The machines feature a rack and pinion transmission on the X and Y axis, and a ball screw transmission on the Z axis. They can be operated with a Windows XP computer, and offer a maximum cutting speed of 200 inches per minute and traversing speed of 400 inches per minute.

The Junior models are designed for smaller shops, decorative sign makers, and repetitive parts cutting for light industrial applications, according to Frampton.

“Being a bench top unit, the 20" x 20" model is certainly more portable than the 20" x 36", but both perform equally well,” he says. “The only other difference between the two Junior models is in the workpiece capacity.”

Frampton says the Gorilla partnership was born a while back, based on repeated customer requests for a CNC wood lathe.

“Not having any experience at building lathes, and being that we’re both Canadian companies, it made sense both geographically and economically to approach a manufacturer that understood the same market challenges, and who could supply a high quality, ready-made lathe,” says Frampton.

“Their software and support teamed with our manufacturing experience and marketing and distribution capabilities. From there, the discussions evolved and the venture turned into not only a lathe, but several sizes of traditional CNC machines.”

The Junior 20" x 20" model sells for $6,720, and the 20" x 36" sells for $8,990. The Pro Series model is priced at $32,700.

General plans to introduce a 24" x 24" and 48" x 48" model, and the CNC lathe, this fall.