"...I'd rather cough up a bit more and know that I could do something with it!.."
When buying, people need to understand the important features of a product
, and with new technology it is easy for the advertisers to conceal these.
For a CNC cutter, stiffness is very important, particularly if you are going to cut metal. The machine
must not deform appreciably when it puts a strong force on the workpiece.
It also needs adequately powerful stepper motors to put that force on. and, of course, it needs to move the cutting head to all parts of the workpiece. I was interested to see that the spec states 'max travel distance' - I would have expected it to say 'max cutting dimensions', and wonder if these are less than the figures quoted.
At least we can specify a cutting area ambiguously, so that modellers can understand what they are getting. I would guess that 1ftx1ft cutting area would be fine for most aeromodellers, while 1ftx1yd is more what boat modellers want. But it is easy for an individual to chose.
Motor power requirement is harder to define - it depends so much on the leverage designed into the mechanics. Screws have more advantage than belts, for instance. And if you are only count to cut softwoods
you can get away with much less power than cutting steel! Usually I would like to see the steppers having between 5000 and 10,000 gf·cm of torque - though that is a 'piece of string'.
Rigidity is even harder to estimate. You can get some feel when the seller says that this machine
will not cut metals, or 'is an engraving machine
'. The other indicator is weight - rigid machines
are going to be much more massive. If the frame is light it will bend under stress. Though if you are using a laser...