In Part One, I introduced the Laguna IQ 24″ x 36″ CNC. Below is Part Two of the video review.
I’ve had a Laguna IQ in the shop for a few weeks and put it to use on a variety of projects from part cutting to 3D carving. Like all the machines in this the class, I expected that the design, choice of components and solid construction would give excellent results and it has. The machine is very precise and consistent.
The usable feed rate is predictably slower than my own custom CNC at 100 -120 IPM or so due to the size of the stepper motors and the pitch of the smaller ball screws. Still, it’s more than fast enough for practical CNC uses and totally in line with machines of this size.
The over-travel of the Laguna IQ is a real plus. With 4” of overhang you could build a clamping area so that you could do joinery on the edges or ends of parts adding to the versatility of the machine.
Unlike some CNCs, the Laguna doesn’t require a dedicated computer to run it. The pendant controller makes it simple for novices to load files and run jobs. Push a few buttons and you’re off and running. My only complaint is the RichAuto controller readout is metric only. This is the same controller used on the Axiom Precision and Powermatic CNCs. Metric only makes it extra challenging if you design your work in inches. Functionally, it’s not a limitation. The work gets done no matter what measuring system you prefer. But, in day-to-day use for say, moving the spindle to specific locations, it’s a real inconvenience. The controller should have the ability to go back and forth from metric to imperial measurements.
One thing that needs real improvement is the manual. It’s thin with a few technical details and not much else. Unfortunately, poor manuals are the norm with consumer CNCs of this class. Running and setting up a CNC like this will likely be a first time experience for many of the buyers. Dry technical information and nothing else is not the same as helping a new owner get off on the right foot. Face it: CNCs can be intimidating. A good manual can help. There’s just no reason why a good user-friendly manual can’t be developed that explains some of the basic processes, how to setup and tune a machine and take the new owner through a few common exercises like flattening the spoil board, basic part cutting and the CAD to CAM to CNC workflow. Despite the thin manual hats off to the many excellent online videos that Laguna has on their website.
Overall, it’s a great small CNC. Laguna’s components, engineering, and design have given small shop woodworkers an excellent option.
Final notes. Laguna has added to their IQ line of small CNCs. The Laguna IQ now has an optional Z height of 10″ over the standard 6″ clearance. And, a brand new model, the Laguna IQ LF4. It has options of a 3D printer head and 3D touch probe.
For more information on the IQ visit Laguna Tools.