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  1. My lovely wife kindly bought me a Stepcraft 420 for Christmas and Birthday (probably for the next ten years!). It arrived as a kit of parts and an instruction manual, which took an out two and a half days to build up (carefully and conscientiously). The instructions were actually very accurate and good, and the manufacturing quality of the machine is superb throughout. I wanted the 420 instead of the bigger machines in order to mill loco frames etc.., rather than to carve large pieces of timber, so a smaller size equals more rigidity (they use the same extrusions) and also take up less space. The 420 works a nominal A3 work-piece, which is more than adequate for me. The assembly went together with no problems- and very little confusion - every piece fitting together extremely well. The profiles pieces are 10 and 12mm aluminium, and the extrusion are a heavy section aluminium, cut perfectly square. The End result is a very rigid, back-lash-free machine, which I'm hoping will produce accurate work reliably. Software however has been difficult to get going- insofar as the supplied disc corrupted and left me having to do work-arounds, which I did manage to do successfully eventually - but it has taken me three days from completion to getting things moving under control. Having said that, I have just pretend cut (without a tool) a loco frame successfully, with the machine doing absolutely everything it should. I am therefore extremely pleased with it, and looking forward to actually cutting metal. I will obviously break a few tools learning the best parameters, but that is par for the course (I need to use 1.2mm cutters for much of the work...) Stepcraft 420 by giles favell, on Flickr Stepcraft 420 by giles favell, on Flickr
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