Just wondering if the 12 x 30 machine is more ridged than the 30 x 30 machine? I plan to do some light cutting and engraving of aluminum and brass. Also will I find the smaller machine too restrictive as my ability’s increase? Right now I plan on making tap handles, boxes, signs, and CBG guitars and components.
@plepper I only have experience with the 30 x 30, but I have milled aluminum, brass and corian with a great deal of precision. There are others on here using the 30 x 30 to mill stainless steel successfully.
If you have the money and the space, I would strongly recommend that you get the 30 x 30 at the outset. I would bet that you will find projects that will need the capacity and to upgrade the smaller one to the larger one will cost more than starting with the larger one now.
The difference isn’t significant, if there is one at all. The question of rigidity is primarily in relation to the strength of the X-axis beam, which is the same for both the 12x30 and 30x30.
The Y-axis rails are longer in the 30x30, but since they have extra mounting points to a (presumably) rigid table, I wouldn’t think you’d be able to measure a difference between the two.