Hulk discussion

I don’t think its fair to retire the big guy just because the learning curve is arduous, the learning curve for any new machine that has the same functionality is going to be pretty steep. Given that a replacement CNC machine hasn’t been purchased or sourced yet wouldn’t it be worth keeping it until such time a replacement has been found?

I don’t believe there is anything set in motion to get rid of Hulk just yet, @reatek is simply doing investigation into replacing it, finding out what to replace Hulk with, how to fund it and how to then move Hulk on so that this can be presented to the space and voted on.

No-one has made decisions on this yet, it is just information gathering at this stage.

I’m all for retiring the hulk. In the 2 years i have been a member it has been useless, rarely worked on and inopperable to all except one person, that i am aware off.

I don’t normaly get involved in these things. But it makes sense to me that it be retired and replaced with something all members can use (with an induction).

I am not interested in equipment being there for a select and exclusive few. It is a work shop for all members, not an elite.

I would like to clarify zac that noones been keeping hulk for some ‘elite’. Its a super complex machine that noone bar one person has put the time into learning. Theres no gatekeeping happening.

A new machine will lower that education bar but it definitely will not remove it. Cnc machines will always have a minimum education requirement.


Fair call. Poor choice of words. I did not mean it in that regards. Simply that no one except a few know how to operate it. And in that regard it is exclusive, unlike a table saw or thicknesser/Plaines.

Even if the problem is people haven’t shown interest or energy to learn how to use it. I think to some degree that implies its necessity to the space.

Hulk should be retired. It requires special training and skills and is limited as to what it can do. We would like to replace it with a machine that is more modern.

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Hulk is an uncomfortable topic for me, because on the one hand it’s a tool with amazing potential that has had an amazing amount of work done to it by some very dedcated members like @Svenska.

Unfortunately at the same time even for someone familiar with CNC like myself the workflow and outcomes are daunting. It takes an almost blood-pact dedication to the machine to understand it well enough to run jobs safely and effectively which is why operating these older/industrial machines are significant careers and skillsets.

Sven has done a lot of work above and beyond what I’d reasonably expect of the average member to make the machine useable, but the time and knowledge investment required to use such a large and powerful platform as Hulk just isn’t on the cards for most people.

I really like the concept and possibility of Hulk, but I don’t see the critical mass for it being able to be built in a way that means it will be useful for us organisationally.

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I was made aware of what was happening with the Hulk, and while I know I am no longer an active member, if no one objects to me voicing an opinion…

For those who are new, this machine was donated by my Father, and I myself am a professional CNC Machinist with around 15 years of experience, having cut my teeth on this particular machine at the age of 14, before moving on up to more modern machines.

I personally have no issues with the Hulk being retired or not, I see merit to both sides of that discussion. What I would like to address is the idea being thrown around of removing it with the idea of replacing it with a more modern machine (such as a Haas or Tormach).

It has been suggested that it be replaced with equipment that is available for use by more than a select few, if that’s the goal, don’t get a new CNC Mill any bigger than a desktop hobby mill.

In my opinion, a new machine will not lower the educational requirements, only give the illusion of doing so because of a slicker user interface, and better integration with CAM packages. At its core though, these machines, old or modern, are complex pieces of equipment requiring a solid grasp of metalworking, an understanding of safe practices, and knowledge of the code they run on. This necessitates an induction and training program before any member can be approved to operate, and that is a something most people will simply find to daunting a task. It is my fear that if you purchase a newer machine, that it may generate a false idea that it can be approached like any other tool there, and before you know it Joe Blow, after a few lessons, believing this to be the “easy” machine causes serious harm to himself, or damage to the machine.

And if you think the back end of the hulk is complicated, the insides of anything made this century far exceed it in complexity, hardware, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, firmware and software. The Hulk, the Hackerspace I believe has the combined skillset to generally fix most problems with some work. A modern machine… Well, there is a reason service techs charge $150-$200 per hour, plus travel time, plus parts, even the independent ones with no overhead and all their own equipment.

An example, you buy a Haas, and someone forgets to turn rapid off 100%, misjudged safety clearance on the job and presses start. In the time it takes you to say the “oh” out of “oh fuck”, you had written off the spindle, but you can’t just replace a bearing, because the whole unit is a sealed cartridge, your only choice is to purchase a new cartridge, at however many thousands that turns out to be.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is, the Hulk is a machine that is able to be maintained, is not significantly steeper on the learning curve than a modern machine, and instills a healthy amount of respect from anyone who wishes to use it. All things a newer machine lacks. So my two cents is if you remove the Hulk, don’t replace it with a comparable piece of equipment, utilise the space on something more accessible to the broader 'space. Hell, buy an X3 and do a CNC conversion on it as an idea.

Peace out,
Andrew “caffeine_addict” van Werkhoven


The advantage a modern tool has is easy integration with modern CAM software. To get reasonable throughput on the hulk you need to have a human [assist] programming it.

I agree that any modern tool is going to also have a big learning curve. No matter how modern or fancy the tool is if it is in the category you would call it a “Mill” or VMC rather than a “Router” then it should not be allowed to be used by just anyone.

Only people with demonstrated experience using similar machines or people with considerable experience using manual machines should be allowed to touch something like that.

There is no way to make a 1 day long “induction” that could allow someone with no metalwork experience safely operate a serious milling machine.

It would by its nature be a tool for “The Elite” and have to stay fairly restricted in who could use it.


I’d like to see a dual approach -
A CNC mill in the metalwork shop for those with the time and interest to invest in using it safety, and to give the 'space the ability to do quality machining.
A tabletop CNC router for the CNC-curious rest of us who want a tool to compliment those already available in digifab or craft-punk.
One accessible to a broad base of users, one for those with a specific interest.
…or is that the worst of both worlds?

What I am looking for a metal CNC at the space would be maybe 100mm x 100mm x 100mm volume in at least aluminum.