10 Things You Should Know About YoraHome Mandrill CNC Router

The first CNC machine I got was a 3018-Pro CNC Router, not realizing that what was supposed to be a new hobby, would become an absolute obsession and more and more machines would find their way to my door! After engraving for a bit, I got a 5.5W Laser Module Kit to attach to it.

I then went onto a 15W – there weren’t any 40W available at that point, but I eventually got one, along with a 6550 Laser Engraver, YoraDraw and a 40W CO2 Laser Engraver Cutter.

Then…the big boy arrived, the SilverBack Benchtop CNC Router 6060. Huge! Fabulous!  See my previous blog 10 Things You Should Know About The YoraHome SilverBack.

So, when the Mandrill CNC Router 3036 arrived, I was a bit disturbed by the size of the box. I hadn’t expected it to be so big, I need not have worried though, it was just very thoroughly packaged.

For anyone that has a 3018-Pro already, imagine it on steroids, bigger – as if it has the extension, beefier – built with an aluminium body and a solid aluminium bed, more powerful – with a 300W Air Cooled Spindle motor, low noise and low heating, DM542 micro step drivers and all the extras, Z-probe, drag chains, clamps, tools, etc.

I could just write about how much I love the Mandrill, but I’ll try to stick to 10 things you should know. 

1. The Mandrill is very, very easy to build

Tony Paolillo, our instructor, has done YoraHome proud yet again with his fabulous assembly video. The only hiccup I had was aligning the 4 nut slots for the frame – tipping the machine and putting a bit of decorator’s tape to hold 2 solved this, so I could tip the frame back and retrieve the other 2 ready to tighten.

I swear it took no more than 2 hours for me to build it and I was running projects on my Silverback at the same time, so had to stop the build to switch bits etc on there.

Once built, this is a thing of beauty!

The-YoraHome-Mandrill-is-a-thing-of-beauty

2. It's Compact

The size of the Mandrill is perfect for the hobbyist or pro. With a working area of 30x36x5cm (approx. 12x14") and an overall footprint of 53x35x38cm (approx. 21x14x15"), this neat machine fits easily into your working space.

Have a look at the photograph below of the Mandrill sat inside the new YoraHome CNC Laser Engraving Machine 6550-Pro (All-In-One System)

Mandrill-sat-inside-6550

If that’s not enough to convince you of the dimensions, the next shows it sat inside the 6650-Pro with the YoraHome SilverBack Benchtop CNC Router 6060 stood up behind them.

Mandrill-sat-inside-6550-inside-SilverBack

3. It's Powerful

The Mandrill has a very powerful and stable 300W air cooled spindle motor with an ER11-style chuck, which is a massive step up from the 775 Spindle Motor of the original 3018-Pro but uses the same chuck so you can still use the same bits.

300w-air-cooled-spindle-on-Mandrill

4. You can use Free software to carve

In exactly the same way as with the other routers, YoraHome recommends using Easel from Inventables.

Easel is available as a free web-based software platform that will let you design and carve with ease, letting you also import designs and images. For V-Carving and advanced toolpaths you would need the Pro version of Easel (you don’t need the Pro version for the majority of things you’d want to do).

Easel-software-for-use-with-the-Mandrill

For more advanced carving of 2D and 3D projects you will want another programme that will generate the toolpaths to then import into Easel. There are a few options including Carveco.

Carveco-software-for-3D-carving-with-the-Mandrill

And Vectric AspireVectric-software-for-3D-carving-with-the-Mandrill

– both have free trials available, so you don’t need to commit to one before you’ve tried it.

5. Setting up to carve using the included clamps and Z probe is even easier than using the 3018-Pro CNC

The included clamps that come with the Mandrill are so easy to use to hold down your workpiece.

Workpiece-held-on-Mandrill-with-included-clamps

(I’m a fan of painters tape and glue as well, as you can see, but my spoil board is held with the clamps!)

Back to how easy the carving process is.

Open Easel and open a New Project.

Click Import then Image Trace.
Importing-an-image-into-Easel

Choose your design and import.

Using-edit-function-in-easel

At this point combine the elements of your design via Edit and Combine.

If you need to adjust the size, close the lock to maintain the same aspect ratio. Maintain-image-proportions-in-easel

Then adjust the depth on the Cut tab.

Set material type and dimensions.

Setting-material-type-&-dimensions

Attach the correct bit, I love the effect of the V Bits when I carve, so I chose the 5/16” V Bit from the YoraHome CNC V-Groove Bits (With ER11 Spring Collets).

V-bit-set-from-YoraHome

Use Z probe - One of the best things about the Mandrill is that it comes with a Z Probe for setting your Z point. When you click Carve in Easel and follow the instructions, you will be given the choice of using a Z Probe or Manual setting.  Choosing-the-Z-Probe-&-setting-Zero-Point

Just follow the steps and you’ll have the perfect start point for all of your carves.

Using-the-Z-Probe-on-the-Mandrill

Start the carve.

The-Mandrill-carving-with-the-V-Bit

Once started, you can gradually adjust the speed with the Speed knob on the Controller box.

Speed-Controller-Button-on-the-Mandrill

First carve completed.

Completed carve on the Mandrill

 

That took 11 minutes, even I have enough patience for that kind of carve.

6. It's easy to switch to the optional laser

Turn off the machine completely.

Detach the spindle motor wires and put out of the way. Undo the 2 screws on the spindle mount to free the spindle, taking care not to drop it as it loosens.

Spindle-with-wires-detached-from-machine-on-Mandrill

Put the provided laser adapter ring into the spindle mount and place your laser into the slot, tighten the screws on the spindle mount. I placed mine approx.. ½ inch, 1 cm above the mount.

Position-of-the-laser-in-the-mount-on-the-Mandrill

Connect the laser wires & attach to the control box – remember to switch to laser on the back of the control box as well. 

Laser-wiring-connection-and-laser-switch

Turn the machine back on, turn on the laser and you are almost ready to burn.

7. You can use Free software to operate the Laser as well

You can use LaserGRBL to run the Mandrill, it is completely free and more than capable of most things you might want to do.

LaserGRBL-software-free-to-use-with-the-Mandrill

If you want more options, you can buy LightBurn (after a 30 day free trial).

30-Day-Trial-of-Lightburn-Software-to-use-with-Mandrill

In the GRBL settings for both software packages, you need to set the Smax value to 10000 ($30= 10000) and Laser On ($32=1), in LaserGRBL open GRBL Configuration and make the changes there.

LaserGRBL-configuration-smax-and-laser-use

8. Setting up to use the Laser is so easy

Using LaserGRBL, open the workspace.

Opening-LaserGRBL-workspace

Click File & Open File to chose the design you want to burn.

Opening-a-file-to-use-in-LaserGRBL

To make it easy I tried the same design that I’d carved earlier.

Adjust the image as needed.

Adjusting-the-image-in-LaserGRBL

Set the power, speed & size on the next screen.

Setting-speed-power-and-size-in-LaserGRBL

Place your material and using the jog buttons move to your zero point, including for the z axis.

With the 15 and 40 w lasers, use the aluminium spacer to set the focus, adjusting the height of the laser as required via the software.

Check the image will be where you are expecting it on your material, by using the Frame button.

Using-the-frame-button-to-confirm-position

Then press the Green Arrow to start.

Start-button-in-LaserGRBL

First burn with the Mandrill. 

Laser-Engrave-with-the-Mandrill

That took approx. 12 minutes.

9. Does the Mandrill need any additional Accessories?

No, once you have the machine and the software you are set, as it comes with corn milling bits and engraving bits to start carving with, you just need something to carve.

The question should be, is there anything else I can get? Yes, our new Dust shoe and Bigger 1/4" bits.

CNC Dust shoe
1/4" CNC Router Bits

10. Is the Mandrill the best compact CNC on the market?

It is hard not to say so. The Mandrill is perfect for beginners and professionals willing to take their CNC craft to the next level.

It can cut various materials such as wood, plastic, resin, PVC, acrylic, soft aluminium, and more.

It has been optimized for accuracy and heavy-duty milling. This CNC carving machine has an open working area of approximately 30x36cm (12x14in) which makes it easy to lay down even bigger pieces of material.

The Mandrill has an aluminium body combined with a solid aluminium bed spoil board, giving it a premium look and feel, while providing a strong and stable base for carving.

Besides coming with a powerful 300W spindle motor, it is compatible with the YoraHome Laser Module Kit.

YoraHome-Laser-Kit

Conclusion

The machine is so unbelievably good and compact and quiet and powerful and and and I LOVE IT. ❤️

I’ll be honest and tell you I’ve packed up my YoraHome CNC Router 3018-Pro and my YoraHome CNC Laser Engraving Machine 6550, both of which are brilliant machines, but I’ll only be using the Mandrill from now on. (Shhhhhh, the  YoraHome SilverBack Benchtop CNC Router 6060 needs to be counting its days as well).

Is the Mandrill CNC Router worth the investment? As a small business user or for a hobby, yes without any doubt.