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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>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> 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>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>
<p>I've sold mine to a fellow local maker. He got it up and running a few days later.</p>
Is it possible to mill a metal like aluminum with this?
<p>This design doesn't have any cooling mechanism, so milling metal in any quantity more than just the copper surface of a PCB is not really an option.</p>
<p>could you please send the design file? in autocad? or the design software you used? then i can make some change's to the design, because my electronics are different.</p><p>is that possibly? also thank you so much for your feedback &lt;3</p><p>gr,</p><p>Jasper</p>
<p>Hi Jasper, the mill was drawn on prodesktop, which im guessing you wont have, but the DXF will be able to be imported into auto cad with out a problem.</p>
<p>j.vdbogaard@icloud.com</p>
<p>Great Design! I am going to start this project in the near future and am stoked to have a working CNC. Thanks for the share :) </p>
<p>I wonder if you have to send the plant by email </p><p>gabrivi10@hotmail.com</p>
<p>I dont know what you mean?</p>
<p>Hi, I am a quite a bit further now with my CNC school project. the wiring part is a bit difficult though. i am using a cnc controller that plugs directly in to the arduino. is the relais still needed? and why can't i just put the laptop adapter in the dc input of the arduino self? </p><p>thanks for helping!! :D </p>
<p>The relay switches the spindle motor on, so you will still need it. Im not sure what shield you are using But i would think it would need to be powered directly from the laptop adapter. </p>
<p>What program can I use to open the dxf file?</p>
<p>Any CAD program will open a DXF. just watch the scale, the drawing is in mm some CAD programs default to inches which would make it 25.4 times to big.</p>
<p>Hi. Very beautiful work and ingenious projects. Please tell me the weight of plastic parts produced on a 3D printer.</p>
<p>520 grams</p>
<p>Liquidhandwash, I have been wanting to build a hobby cnc machine for sometime and your project was well documented that i jumped in. I have been assembling the machine but i am ready to purchase the electronics and i wanted to see if you still recommend the Arduino Uno R3 and the A3967 Stepper Motor Drivers for the project?</p>
<p>hi Daryl. I have had a few reports that the easy drivers and some stepper motors don't play nice together. So I would recommend the TB6560 stepper drivers.They are cheap and work much better with a wider range of stepper motors I am planing a new instructable on this upgrade. Arudino uno is fine</p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CNC-Router-1-Axis-Controller-Stepper-Motor-Drivers-TB6560-3A-driver-board-GO-/371474309278?hash=item567d98209e:g:C-EAAOSw5ZBWMJqz">http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CNC-Router-1-Axis-Controller-Stepper-Motor-Drivers-TB6560-3A-driver-board-GO-/371474309278?hash=item567d98209e:g:C-EAAOSw5ZBWMJqz</a></p>
<p>This is my version of this nice cnc machine. some of the parts I made from aluminium.</p><p>Greetings from Zagreb, Croatia</p>
<p>That looks pretty sweet, PM me if you would like a pro mebership.</p><p>Also Im planing an instructable on how to upgrade the electronics, those easy drivers can be problematic, Ive found a better driver system </p>
hi ich hab ein problem mit dem spindel motor sobald ich einen fr&auml;ser nutze vibriert der fr&auml;ser
<p>Not sure what your asking, google translate wasnt much help.</p>
<p>tanks very good</p>
hi I'm building a one for myself. i wont to know how to calculate the current. im using the 1.5A stepper motors and a normal dc motor 18000rpm. and im using the cnc shield. <br>ah another problem is i cant upload the grbl to my arduino uno. when i click upload in xloader it gets stuck. why is that? <br>thanks
To calculate the total current you would have to also know the current rating of the the spindle motor, in any case I found a good size old fashion laptop power supply works well. With X loader i found that some arduino clones will not flash, but it could be a simple as having the wrong com port selected.
spindel motor current is also about 1.5A 12v. so can i use a 12v 10A power supply
<p>Are there technical drawing (sketches) of all parts available ? I`d like to do all parts via milling machine in aluminum. ?sory for my english :)</p>
<p>Hello, thanks for this nice instructables page. i am making one on my high school in the netherlands! it is a very nice project! only the grbl part is a bit strange... im still waiting for my stepper motor controller's i have the relais and arduino. </p><p>thank you very much!</p><p>greetings,</p><p>Jasper (15)</p>
your welcome, ive had a few students make the mill and some more will make one next year.
<p>the 3d printed parts are a bit on the small side, i had to make the hole's bigger with a 3mm drill bit, that works fine!</p><p>gr,</p><p>Jasper</p>
<p>It depends on your printer, the holes were all drawn 2 percent oversize, some makers have said the holes are a little loose.</p>
hi i started building this project. still collecting the parts. ?
<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>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>Are you still able to give premium accounts for completed builds?</p>
<p>ill pm you the code</p>

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