Picture of $20 CNC Machine
I got inspired for this instructable when I viewed the Easy To Build Stepper Controller

instructable .When I read the instructable I knew I could make a decent looking and functioning cnc machine for under 20 dollars with a recycled twist, Not to mention I did this in under a week.

I expect you to have basic knowledge on power tools and hand tools
and of course this instructable requires you to have a rotary tool such as a dremel.
Even if you don't have knowledge on power tools or hand tools I advise you to try this instructable because you will learn a lot about hand and power tools and you can build this for less then 20 dollars
so if you mess up it's no biggie and it would not cost to much to replace a part.

Let's Build!

Update 02/01/10

{Hi everyone just thought I would give you an update on this instructable since Ive been getting
a lot of emails and messages and such.

I'm getting really close to completing the electronics for the CNC,
as stated in a comment the steppers I found in the printer were bi-polar stepper motors which the circuit
would cost quite a bit more if you went this route. If you were lucky to find some Unipolar stepper motors
then you could build the electronics for under 3 bucks however unipolar motors have less torque. I will be selling CNC kits soon and they will be of better build quality as well as a cheap price tag because I know how it is to be on a budget and not have the tools I need to create simple things and even complex things and this world needs more DIY builders.

The CNC kits will be available roughly 1 to 2 weeks after the electronics Instructable has been released
their will actually be a video showing this CNC working when the electronics Instructable is completed} 

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doa10133 seconds ago
Did you ever get the kits started?
Can we use this information to build a 3d printer?
Zakattacks10 days ago

Great tutorial! Just wish the electronics section was finished...

I found a cheap controller on a Chinese site: http://www.banggood.com/5-Axis-CNC-Breakout-Interf...

I have no idea how to make it work though...

You don't want that. You want something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Arduino-CNC-Shield-V3-03-G...

You can order all the individual parts and save about $10 if you want, or just buy that kit-type-thing with all the parts. I have one I use on a laser engraver, and it works great.

JohanN511 days ago


I would also be interested in a kit. I am disabled so even the small DIY things can be difficult to accomplish. Always wanted a small cnc for woodwork. LOve your work :)

profharris12 days ago

You mentioned using unipolar stepper motors, does this include the 5-wire stepper motors found in old PC floppy and hard drives? I have a whole box of these. Most other projects require 4-wire bipolar steppers.

mgrssmow13 days ago
Hi you mentioned earlier kits, did that ever come to fruition? If so how much


Nice. How big is the area you can actually move in the x-y-axis?

roeland.dirks2 months ago

electronics soon to come?

volkvanmyn254 months ago
the mechanical parts of a cnc machine like this is the most difficult part. its easy building stepper motor drivers and a microprocessor controller. you can even find software on the internet driving it.
KyleM87 months ago

would a printer with a built in flat bed work?

Pramithus9 months ago


Thanks for posting such a wonderful project. But I am confused that how to wire the electronic components and computer to this machine. Could you please make it clear?



Cool. I might try this one.

can not

OK I have taken my share of scanners and printers apart, and I know that the stepper motor pictured in step 5 did not come from a printer or a scanner. Where did you get it?
Techbuilder (author)  Electronics Man4 years ago
I got it from an old epson printer sorry to disappoint you but it was from a printer
WOW thats a huge motor to come out of a printer! I need to find one of those...
Techbuilder (author)  Electronics Man4 years ago
1 1/2" x 1 1/2"is big to you?
Well apparently the images are misleading. Even if they are small, they are definately bigger than the ones I pulled out of my printers.
Techbuilder (author)  Electronics Man4 years ago
Never assume by a picture unless you have a reference point
like a ruler or a quarter so fourth.
You could also check the dimensions in step 3


Alright...but are those steppers strong enough to work properly? Could you provide the brand and the ratings for them please???
Techbuilder (author)  Electronics Man4 years ago
They were minimal at best probably enough to cut through some foam and light plastic. you can only get so much torque out of a little printer motor without sacrificing tremendous speed.

I no longer have the cnc machine anymore I sold it
so I can't really provide those specs
zack2474 years ago
i have 3 cd drive lens assemblies (EG: the lens shell holder, the rods, the stepper motor and the base)

could i use those to make this?


you just have to check if the stepper motors are uni polar or bipolar. both will work, but they require different circuit boards. other than that I'd be worried if they are strong enough, but hey, worst you can do is try and they break

so good

Moab1 year ago

Good idea trying with this material. I think it would work best for small machines as it is flexible.
With this in mind, the drill stand frame is poor design. First its poles are way too high. The link between the drill stand and the frame of the machine should be as short, strong and direct as possible.
The other axis seem to be less fragile but could be improved.
Gluing : Not good for precision and stops you from dissassembling if you need to transport or repair the machine.
Lastly, nothing is said on how things are aligned perpendicular and parallel.

naught1012 years ago
$20 for anyone who has hundreds of dollars worth of scrap perspex lying around...

I don't know where you are buying your acrylic from but I have loads, about 6 kilos in weight and its cost me little over £10!......... ebay, just look for off cuts

haha! I thought the same. One man's trash is another man's $300 project. Still a nice simple build.


dmhoke1 year ago

is this a dead project. I see no link to the electronic portion, and the author said he was going to post those 4 years ago.

What gives???

nice and green!
robispurple2 years ago
where is ghe electronics instructable?
hotcheezy2 years ago
When is the electronics part ever going to come out?
my wookie2 years ago
nice anvil in the background there
BpHunter22 years ago
How big of an object can it cut?
stevfuri2 years ago
Where can I go to find scrap materials? Is this a junk yard or a specialty store kind of thing?
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