Picture of Arduino Controlled CNC / 3D Printer Hybrid

Mother Nature Makes ... We Build.

BuildersBot Fuses 3D Printing & CNC Milling Into One Builder’s Dream ""

The BuilderBot is an Open Design machine, that uses Open
Software and Open Hardware. It is a product of open projects such as the RepRap, Arduino and Repetier .

The objective of this instructable is to guide your way throw the entire making process of building a BuildersBot machine. An open design Arduino Controlled CNC Router that can also perform 3D printing.

The instructions will cover all areas such as design, mechanics, electronics and software.

But before you go any further take a look at machine's concept design:

And also the machine build photos and the machine in action:

Finally check out the insane effects of the RGB led's on BuildersBot:

Warning Viewer Discretion Advised (Strong Language)

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Step 1: The BuildersBot OpenDesign (Sketchup)

Picture of The BuildersBot OpenDesign (Sketchup)

To view the the machine in 3D just Download the attached sketch file and access the BuildersBot OpenSource Design (in metric system and is in 1 by 1 scale).

Use this design as much as possible for guidance during this instructable.

NOTE: Use trimble/google sketchup to open the file.

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Abosho3la5 days ago

it is really awesome project .. but i want to convert the file of building from skp format to stl or any format that can work on solidworks ... can u help me please ???

were can I find the repetier.ino file?

Hi Nicholas,

You can download the repetier firmware by clicking on the following link:

The last version is 0.91, just change the lines i mentioned in step 16 and you are good to go.

I can upload the entire firmware if you need it?

JM19998 days ago


aldricnegrier (author)  JM19997 days ago

Thank you :)

Malthe27 days ago

I see, you have used 2 36v power supplies. I am going to build one with a 24v 15A power supply (3x3A motors - 3x 5A drivers). Will it be enough, with 24v and 15A?

aldricnegrier (author)  Malthe26 days ago

Hi Malthe,

I used two 36V power supplies because i run 4 powerful Steppers Motors and Drivers.

You can use the 24V 15A power supply if it is enough to power your motors and drivers.

Keep in mind that the RAMPS 1.4 Board runs on 12V, you can not connect 24V, or you will fry the capacitors. You will also need an 12V 15A power supply.


My concerns were, if i should take a 36V instead of 24V, to 3x 3A steppers?

I know i need a 12v power supply, but i can just take them from an old computer :)

aldricnegrier (author)  Malthe26 days ago

If your stepper driver supports 24VDC, 15A should be enough, to drive 3x3A stepper motors.

Keep in mind the BuildersBot uses 4 stepper motors instead of 3, so you are probaly going to need one more motor/driver/powersupply?

Is it necessary to have 2 motors on X-axis? Mine are also 425 oz.

aldricnegrier (author)  Malthe24 days ago

Yes, because of the BuildersBot design you need 2 X-Axis motors. Other CNC with different designs you only need one motor per axis.

well, i am not using your design, though it looks good. So i think i'll start with 1, and upgrade if necessary. Thank you for your help, and thank you for uploading such a cool project.

hi aldric, i am trying to build this amazing project, but i have some doubts about the electronic conections, because you just have a picture describing it, could you please explain a little bit better that part? and a specific question, there are diferent types of RAMPS 1.4? thank you so much

aldricnegrier (author)  sortiz palacio1 month ago

Hi Sortiz,

As someone once said, "an image is worth a thousand words", all the wire connections are present in the compact diagram. Anyway i will rewite the step in order to explain the sequence of wiring.

There is only one RAMPS 1.4, you cant go wrong.


Hello Aldric, I am trying to gather the materials to star this project, but i am having difficulty finding the rectangular metal piping of the correct sizes (60mm x 20mm). Is it possible to use different sizes and still have this design work properly? Thanks!

Hi Alex, yes of course, you can alter all the sizes to suit your needs. As long as they fit one onother.

mkoloff1 month ago

Hi Aldirc

First of all, congratulations on this brilliant project. I have a few questions still.

- Do you have the plans for the plexiglass case? A file?

- Could you mill the casing simultaneously with the CNC itself?

- You know already more about the accuracy of the milling machine?

- How to secure the timing belt of the individual axes on the machine?

- Is there already a forum or website where you can exchange ideas in more detail to your project?We just clarify on whether we can rebuild your project. As a forum would be interesting not only for us. :-)

- Can you also mill metal with the router?

aldricnegrier (author)  mkoloff1 month ago

Hello mkoloff,

Thank you for your message.

- I just uploaded the CAD file for the electronics enclosure (thanks for reminding).

- You can easily mill acrylic (electronic enclosure) using the Buildersbot

- I will upload a closeup photo of a 10mm acrylic Prusa i3 frame cut using the Buildersbot so you can see the precision. I haven't had time and instruments to measured it yet.

- I just now noticed that i do not mention how to secure the timming belt to the aluminum structures of the machine. I will take some photos and make one more step in the instructuble to explain how it is done.

- There is a topic on the buildersbot on RepRap forum search for "reprap forum buildersbot"

- I have milled aluminum (soft metal) with the machine with no problems.

When i update the instructable i will give you a "heads up" so you can read the answers you are looking for.

"See" you soon.

Silenzio762 months ago


sorry but I don't undestand the length of the support can't be 800mm if the base is 750mm...

aldricnegrier (author)  Silenzio762 months ago


The long supported rails measure 700mm not 800mm as i mentioned, and the short 600mm instead of 700mm i mentioned. It is all in the shechup file. I will make the corrections to step 5 and 6.

Thanks for the heads up.

TY for your kindness...But I cannot see the measurements on the sketchup
file(opened via 3 or 4 different softwares) ..maybe I'm too new to those
kind of things!.

aldricnegrier (author)  Silenzio762 months ago

Download and install "Trimble Sketchup" free version using the following link:

Than download the BuildersbotV8.skp file.

The final step is to open sketchup and select open file, navigate to the skp file and you will see the 3D design.

Sketchup has a ruler on the menu, use it to measure all necessary distances.

I hope you can get it, if not tell me, i can upload a ".3ds" file type.

ty, problem solved for me!


hmockupman2 months ago

Hi,How can i choose the "save toolpaths" box on Art cam pro for export G code to Repetier host?

Screenshot 2014-07-06 18.04.06.png

Machine output file formatt.

aldricnegrier (author)  hmockupman2 months ago

Repetier uses G-Code, just open you G-Code in Repetier.

File -> open (select G-Code File)

Silenzio762 months ago

The other holes maked(on the and of the bases) are for what?

aldricnegrier (author)  Silenzio762 months ago

The 3 holes marked on the end of the tubes are for the idler pulley.

ntriaes2 months ago

Tutorial espectacular, estou a pensar em meter-me a fazer um projecto deste género, mas para aplicar a algo que não plano, há alguma possibilidade de se conseguir escavar digamos 3mm em madeira, numa superficie cilindrica? Pelo menos com este modelo?

aldricnegrier (author)  ntriaes2 months ago

Boas :) não sei se percebi bem a pergunta, a maquina BuildersBot não tem função de torno, e essa função tambem não é suportado pelo software. Seria necessario mais um grau de liberdade.

obrigado, era mesmo isso que pretendia saber, se era possivel rodar ao longo de um cilindro, obrigado.

Queria dar-lhe os parabéns, pois parece-me uma máquina excelente.

Não tendo eu conhecimentos especificos de electrónica e programação, acha que serei capaz de montar uma máquina deste género? pelo que vejo o tutorial que apresenta é super detalhado e tem montes de sitios onde recorrer para software e tudo, mas acha possivel alguém sem conhecimentos especificos desta área fazer um projecto a ponto de funcionar, como o seu? é que gostava muito de montar algo assim.

aldricnegrier (author)  ntriaes2 months ago

Sem bases de eletrónica e programação vai ser difícil.

O meu conselho é começar com uma impressora 3D por exemplo a Prusa i3, depois de montar uma Prusa i3 ai vai estar mais preparado para montar a BuildersBot.

I really like it. I like that it is so small and that it is arduino controlled. My only problem I have with it would be the video resolution and video song that is really annoying. I hope to build a 3d printer like it.

aldricnegrier (author)  nschreiber08132 months ago

Sorry about the video resolution, i did it on the fly. More resolution would have been better.

As for the music part, i agree with you, it is the best annoying music out there :) just joking, i respect your opinion.

Not all tastes in music are the same, it could have been worse, i could have put "Brutal German Underground Dark Death Metal" or something in that genera :)


znjofl2 months ago

Is it possible to use Nema 17 stepper's instead of Nema 23 ?

aldricnegrier (author)  znjofl2 months ago

I don't know if it would work with Nema 17, this machine is massive, it weighs in at 60Kg - 70Kg, only the 4 motors weight in at 6Kg :) Maybe if you scale it down a bit some powerful Nema 17 would work, i don't know, just speculating.

xarlock6672 months ago

Let me ask a stupid question. I have been watching 3-d printers for a bit now and no one seems able to make what I would consider to be a "Big" printer. Are dimensions of more than 1.5x1.5x1.5 meters not possible? Why are all the "Big" printers less than a meter in all axies?

I think it's only a question of printing time. Actual plastic printer take like 10 hours for a small piece of 15*15*15 centimeters.

aldricnegrier (author)  RoyJackson2 months ago

I agree, most commercial extruder's normal have 0.35 to 0.5 mm nozzle diameter, this automatically implies long printing times. In my opinion if you what to print big object you need a extruder with a wider nozzle, the quality will suffer but you get a big part printed out in less time.

I wonder if you could use a dual-extruder model, using a larger extruder for in-fill, and a smaller one for detail.
Any thoughts on that?

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