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Ive designed this mill so that most of the parts that are hard to get or make can be 3D printed. Its design to be modular so you can easily change the size of the machine by changing either the sides or the front and back plates. Its accurate enough to cut and drill circuit boards, and small enough to fit in the boot of your car.

Almost any good CNC software can be used, but for a beginner I would recommend Easel it is very easy to use and is plug in an play.

I used an UP printer using ABS plastic, and there is a common problem with most printers is that they print holes around 1-2% undersize, so the the holes for the bearings, bolts and nut has been drawn little oversize to compensate. I cant predict how they will fit with other types of printers or materials.

The first video is of AlexcPhoto mill he is now offering a kit so check it out on step 2

The sides and back are made with 2 layers of 3mm acrylic which can be laser cut if you have access to a laser cutter. Alternatively you could print the DXF files full size and cut and drill the material by hand.

  • The finished sizes of the machine are Z axis (up down) 50mm X axis (left right) 275mm Y axis (forward back) 170mm
  • Outside dimensions are 400mm wide, 400mm deep and 300mm high.
  • The DXF files, some browsers have a problem downloading the file I think it a bug. Right click on the DXFand save link as should work with most browsers

Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

I use core electronics for most of the electrical items as they provide a very quick service, but Ebay or your local jaycar or radioshack should also have most of these items. The fastens from core come in packs of 10 with nuts. Some of the parts, such as the threaded rod and bright steel rod is just easier and cheaper to go to local hardware or engineering supply than to find them on the internet.

Just a note on the rods, You could use "bright" "ground" "stainless" or "chrome" rod there is a big difference in price with bright begin the cheapest and the most likely to be delivered bent, rusty and damaged, so check before you hand over you cash. If your like me and pull things apart you may be able to scavenge some of the parts to keep the cost down, chrome rod is commonly used in printers and photo copiers, and old laptop charger and a cordless drill motor also found new life in this project. In addition you will need around 520 grams of abs filament to print all of the parts.

No laser cutter or 3D printer?

If you are in the US you can purchase a kit from AlexCphoto. He has redesigned the 3D printed parts so they look a little different but the fit on the laser cut sides without modification. So have a look at his work on step 30 and Look out for his helpful tips and advise in the comment section.

Alex now has an Ebay shop so 3D printed parts are available here.

Neon Green 3D parts

Black 3D parts

If you live in Australia PM me and I may be able to help you out

Links to the parts
10 Pcs 40 Pin Headers - Straight
40 Pin Break Away Male Header- Right Angle-10 Pcs
Breadboard-friendly 2.1mm DC barrel jack
Arduino Uno R3
Dupont Wire 20cm Female / Female 100pcs Pack
Stepper motor - 200 steps/rev, 12V 350mA
Stripboard - Large
10 sets M3 * 30 hexagonal standoffs mounting kit
10 sets M3x16 screw low profile hex head cap screw
10 sets M3x20 screw low profile hex head cap screw
10 sets M3x25 screw low profile hex head cap screw
10 sets M3x30 screw low profile hex head cap screw

10 sets M3 * 6 nylon screws

Fly nuts

Heat Shrink Pack

Mesh cable guide

DC motor You can also get these from a cordless drill or photo copier


This hardware was from ebay. Ive included images as the links can go dead after awhile
linear bearings 8mm
linear bearings 12m
Mini chuck
CNC-5mm-x-8mm-Stepper-Motor-Jaw-Shaft-Coupler

Easy driver board

608 bearings

5V 2-Channel Relay Module 10A

List of fastens. I’ve try to be as accurate as possible... I’m not that good at counting, But the list should be very close to the amount you need.

Some Instructable members have reported that the 3mm and 8mm brass nuts don't fit. You need to also have the correct spanner size nuts. The 3mm has a 6mm spanner size and the 8mm has a 13mm spanner size. (as measured across the flats)

  • M8x1.25 Brass Nuts X 6
  • M8x1.25 Steel Nuts X 62
  • M8 Flat Washes X 24
  • M8x1.25 Threaded rod 420mm long X6
  • M8x1.25 Stainless Threaded rod 420mm long X2
  • M8x1.25 Stainless Threaded rod 130mm long X1
  • M3 6mm nylon stand-offs X14
  • M3 10mm stand-offs X6
  • M3 30mm stand-offs X18
  • M3 Nuts X192
  • M3 Washes X85
  • M3 6mm bolts X8
  • M3 10mm bolts X24
  • M3 15mm bolts X44
  • M3 20mm bolts X38
  • M3 25mm bolts X20
  • M3 30mm bolts X20

You will also need

Some members have reported that the STL files are not working correctly, they seem to be corrupt form some servers. Try downloading the mill zip folder or getting the files from thingiverse

<p>will the arduino mega 2560 r3 work with this project?</p>
Ive not tried a mega, so I dont know
<p>I have noticed a small problem with the tools slide design that likely impacts both the original and my rework. After about 80 hours of machine time the Z linear bearings start to drift a bit in the channel they are pressed into. while this has not yet impacted routing/milling quality, I suspect its only a matter of time till it does.</p><p>I have found that a small amount of hot glue squirted into the access hole behind the linear bearing can keep the bearing from drifting without having to re-print, though this is semi permanent.</p><p>Alternatively, I have added small ridges within the bearing hole that line up with the ridges on a standard LM8UU linear bearing that should keep the bearing from drifting, though they make the bearing a little harder to insert, and a lot harder to remove. Thingiverse has been updated with the new 'ToolSlide' file.</p><p><a href="http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:826098" rel="nofollow">http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:826098</a></p>
<p>I'm trying to make a holder for a Dremel tool instead of the drive you suggested.</p>
<p>member Ivan d mad a mill with a dremel have a look in the comments for a photo, or contact him </p><p>https://www.instructables.com/member/Ivan_D/</p>
<p>he Dremel tool I'm using has a of 47mm</p>
<p>Hi Again forgot to ask about the nut under the 8mm linear bearing is that to lock it, with screw from other side, can't see for the coolerplate?</p>
<p>Hi AlexCphoto<br>Iam using the fine redesign, can you please tell where to find the hot brass nut inserts for the LilCNC_XCarriage_ACv3_x1.stl guess they are (M3, 4mm Deep, 5mm min OD)?<br>hard to find in Denmark!</p><p>And thanks to liguidhandwash for the overall design awesome...</p><p>I soon have all the parts printed i started with the biggest objects first.. and all parts ordered...<br></p><p>Frame i have to cut by hand :-( i gonna use MDF plate dont know what it is called in English :-)</p>
<p>I think it depends on your printer and the materiel that you use. With my up printer the bearings were all very tight, but when i got stuff printed at shapeway they were quite lose. super glue also works well.</p>
oh i could write a book on the troubles of the 3d printing industry and the inconsistencies across 3d printing machine calibration.... <br><br>There are thousands of people using machines that aren't very well calibrated and designing files that compensate for just there machines inaccuracies, only to find that when they try to re-print with a different machine nothing fits,.. and they wonder why. This takes me to the question, have you personally calibrated your machine or are you still trusting the factory defaults? my first printer, a printerBot was ~15% off in scale when i got it, after a bit of elbow grease and a bit of re-programming, that printerbot is still one of my favorite most accurate machines for small detailed parts, but it didn't arrive that way out of the box.<br><br>It took the conscientious decision to stop adjusting my design files to match my printer, and to start adjusting my printer to match a set of calibration parts. but I am going off on a bit of a tangent now,.......<br><br>The bearings where not wibbly wobbly moving around loose, but enough that one started to migrate slowly, I am not entirely sure how long it took to get to what is shown in the first photo.. it was probably migrating slowly over multiple etching/cutting jobs that day before I noticed it as i could not push it back in by hand.<br><br>Originally mine where so tight that i needed to use an arbor press to get them in. But since the cylindrical hole that holds them is perfectly smooth there is nothing holding them from moving in the Z direction. And when trying to push them back in, I still needed to dissemble and use a hammer, so they had not really loosened that much. (don't recommend a hammer, easy way to loose those little metal bearing balls)<br><br>Both PLA and ABS stretch a bit under pressure (while ABS is considered more flexible, PLA actually stretches under pressure just as much, though if you try to stretch it to fast its more likely to crack), I suspect that's the culprit here. ill try the next one in ABS, but I suspect the notches will make it so either plastic will do the job as the bearings have multiple 'snap in' ledges to hold them in place now.<br><br>But in truth, so far, the quick fix of hot glue in that hole works.
<p>Thanks Alex, my up printer seems pretty accurate straight out of the box except for the holes, it makes them about 1-2% undersized. So all the drawings are compensated for it. </p><p>Some of the bearing mounts I got from shape-ways were perfect others too lose so I guess they have the same problem. So it is interesting that your spent a lot of time calibrating your machine and they are still tight, My guess is the plastic shrinks a little when it cools, maybe the heat from the motor is loosening yours up?</p><p>Ive got a few students who have nearly finished their mills Ill post some photos in a couple of weeks, have you any new projects on the go?</p><p>Also FaanP wanted some feed back on estlcam I had a quick look, but im not in the right head space to use it at the moment, Is it something you have looked at?</p>
<p>In your slicing program reduce speed on &quot;small perimeters&quot; to help increase the accuracy of small holes. Though 1-2% should not cause to much of a problem..</p><p>ABS does shrink during cooling, pure PLA shrinks by a hair, but usually not by enough to ever matter which is why I tend to prefer it wherever possible.</p><p>Heat really does not reach that area of the part, I think its simply vibration + a little bit of plastic stretch factor + no ledge to hold the bearing in place.</p><p>oh yah, my entire print farm is home re-worked / built / calibrated Prusa i3's and Taz's, and they are very accurate =) The printrBot LCv2 was just my first, and the one that still sits on my desk at home.</p><p>Mostly working on my wife's medical problems right now, a lot is on the back-burner unfortunately.</p><p>I'll try to take a look at it, I generally find something that works, and just keep using it. makercam has its issues, but it works. and v carve handles anything makercam cant, so far....</p>
Super glue and baking soda. Old trick from my RC racing days.
<p>Не именно конечно такой собрал, но из этих деталей </p>
<p> I can only find the STL files? Can you link the DXF files for download</p>
<p>follow all the steps an you will find it.</p>
<p>I didn't find z axis , pls link..</p>
<p>Its on step 9</p>
<p>Greetings Masters</p><p>Thank you for the hard work and for sharing this cool design. I want to make some modifications so that one can reuse junk from old printers, for that you need a easy way for people to mod the sizes based on their own parts.</p><p>I want to rebuild the machine on fusion 360 or maybe on Onshape as a assembly, with the main variables for axels and dimensions exposed, so that anyone can fork the file and edit variable values to costumize the machin footprint to their needs without having to redraw the cad or to know that much about modelling.</p><p>Who can help me out by sharing the Step files for these models so that I don't have to rebuild the models from the STLs?</p><p>---</p><p>here is an example of what i want to do</p><p>https://cad.onshape.com/documents/b481653f60cce42cba80c25f/w/6a450412bf93a0e36918da4c/e/228274885400662188158022</p><p> this here for example is a box that has the material and 3 axis size exposed, by changing the size the design updates based on your inputs</p>
<p>Well, it took me almost two years to make it, but it was an incredible journey filled with a lot of experiences. This has been by far the most complicated (and most expensive) project I have ever done, but no regrets! :) All the plywood parts were cut by hand since no access to laser cutter and the 3D printed parts were done by a friend over 1000 km away! :D Still, it was worth the trip. <br>I want to thank the author of this instructable for this incredible device and hist advice on building it.<br>Everything seems to be running, still waiting to the drill bits to arrive to test it with materials.</p>
We need to change drawing of backlash nut, solidworks is not change stl files. What program are you used to draw? Thanks!
<p>I've been making one of this nice CNC, made out of 3mm sheet metal laser cut.</p><p>Do you have any premium code for sharing? </p>
I've put everything together and I'm ready to start testing. I ran into a faulty USB cable but already sourced a new one and will start with setup tonight.
<p>Very nice design. How much did you spend on this? I am debating whether I should build this DIY mill or just buy a kit for $190.</p>
<p>Man that thing looks the goods, upgrades everywhere!</p>
<p>Hello,</p><p>Love the plans! I'm trying to put together a BOM for building this, and was wondering how much Acrylic is needed. I.E. can everything be cut from a 24&quot;x48&quot; (600mmx1200mm) sheet of 6mm acrylic, or would a bigger piece be needed? Thanks! -A</p>
<p>I was thinking of making a BOM too. If you have it could you please send it to me?</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>The 2 sides and the front and back are each designed to fit on an A3 sheet of paper, so 3 sheets in total The electronic box on the back will need to be cut out of 3mm but also will fit on an A3 sheet.</p><p>Ive no longer use the easy drivers, as they can be a pain with some types of stepper motors. I now go for these, </p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Using-a-Single-Axis-TB6560-Stepper-Driver-With-GRB/">https://www.instructables.com/id/Using-a-Single-Axis-TB6560-Stepper-Driver-With-GRB/</a></p><p>but I need to write another instructable on upgrading the mill to fit them.</p>
<p>THANKS!</p>
<p>Is there a way to modify the z axis to make it bigger?? I use solidworks.<br><br>Thank you</p>
You could, but that is as big as my printer would take
<p>how do you modify it? I can't do it with a stl. Could you pass me the piece?</p>
<p>do this..</p><p><a href="http://www.javelin-tech.com/blog/2015/12/importing-stl-files-into-solidworks-solid-surface-model/">http://www.javelin-tech.com/blog/2015/12/importing-stl-files-into-solidworks-solid-surface-model/</a></p>
<p>This is my version, with modification, add rc-joy, opto-Isolation and </p><p>changed the spindle</p>
<p>thats cool, you have got the mother of all spindle motors</p>
<p>Getting used to my new machine.</p>
<p>excellent project</p>
<p>The best project I have ever seen...well done and thanks for this 3D printer CNC mill project...Great regards from Serbia</p>
your welcome.
<p>hello</p><p>Can someone please help me and tell me how to switch endstops to arduino ?</p>
<p>Awesome machine! Didn't have access to a 3d printer so I redesigned parts to be made by hand with acrylic and plywood. Also added a rotary tool and modded a 3d printing pen so I can 3d print basic objects. ?</p>
<p>thats cool Ill send you a pro membership if you want one</p>
<p>Yes please!</p>
<p>Hey, I am still in the process of building this incredible device. Still waiting for the final parts to arrive from ebay... I have a question about the EasyDrivers. In the description you mention microsteping (Step 24) but I do not see that being mentioned anywhere else. I was wondering should I connect the MS1 and MS2 to +5 or not? As far as I understand that enables microsteping? Or am I wrong? </p>
connecting MS1 or MS2 will disable the micro stepping
<p>Ah. I see. Thank you for the clarification. I thought it was the other way around. </p>
<p>the power supply can support this motor: http://www.ebay.com/itm/252399718312?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&amp;ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT</p>
<p>Hi!</p><p>Nice, small machine with great design! </p><p>The next step will be to make z-axis of the of metal, to reduce play.</p>
<p>Does anyone have a ruff estimate on the total cost of this project?</p>
<p>$300 and lots of hours of work. If you can skimp on things and already have both a laser cutter and a 3D printer, you can maybe cut that down to $200.</p><p>I have mine built to about 90% done, but I don't have time to work on it any more and it's just taking up space. I'd rather be rid of it. If you live in the US (or are willing to pay $$$ for international shipping), I'd love to sell it as-is for $120.</p><p>The main problem I'm facing is getting the z axis to move, because the 3D printed part is slightly off-shape and thus applying too much friction to let the z axis move freely. A weekend of focused work could probably get it running nicely. After that, you just need to wire up the spindle motor. I just don't have the time any more.</p><p>If any one is interested or wants more details, email me at mouseasw+instructables at gmail.</p>

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