Build a CNC Router from Scratch (Part 2): Complete Video Tutorial

If you haven't seen part 1, your CNC may look like a three legged dog. This is a multi-part instructable that demonstrates how to build a CNC Router (a computer controlled router) from scratch.

CNC Machines can come in many shapes and sizes. Just look at these cool instructables on building a CNC. This is a cool new instructable how to make a CNC using pipes, which blew me away. There is also this one that includes plans.

This instructable is based on a logical process of construction where measurements are made during certain steps to achieve any size CNC machine. Whether you want to build a mini mill for PCBs, or a large sign making device. It's up to you. With power tools, I believe that this machine can be made in one weekend. I built mine within two weeks with kids, wife and a job. I just wish I had a table saw to replace my miter box (you see me cranking away in the videos). The cool aspect of this build is that you can put the thing together as you create the pieces.

So, we left off with the z-axis assembly and now we can get started with the y-axis.
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Step 1: Make the Y-Axis Bearing Supports

Generally, the bearings, and supports are designed to hug the rail supports, using compression around two aluminum angles and a piece of MDF. This gives the machine it's rigidity.

First I will cut the y-axis rail support piece by taking a 7" wide piece and chamfering the four long edges to receive aluminum angles. The 7" measurement will dictate the z-axis travel. If you want more z-axis travel, use a wider piece. We will need this piece to make other measurements.

The two bearing supports for the y-axis will be cut about 5" to 6" in length using a 4" piece of MDF. These two pieces will slide along what I call the y-axis rail support. The bearing supports will hold the bearings with grooves cut out of the MDF.

sterrecnc3 years ago
hey phooddaniel, was following your tut, but it stops at the end of part 2... is there a follow up on this tutorial?

kind regards

cmh64736 years ago
I see you referring to the website quite a bit. Is that site yours? Just curious. If it is why the tutorials? IS it to help customers assemble the kits or make their own kits? By the way, I love the way you are putting this together. It makes it far easier to follow when you use very basic tools rather than professional tools that most of us may not have. You should host a show on TV because you make it very easy to follow and understand without actually speaking. You are very good at these tutorials. Look forward to following you through the whole process
phooddaniel (author)  cmh64735 years ago
Sorry for the WAY late response. Yes, this is my site. It get very deep into the detail with instructions on how to build the CNC machine and many more videos. Thanks for the Kudos.
you dont have to own a site to refer to it
Chadworkz5 years ago
It looks like a pressure fit, but maybe he used glue?
phooddaniel (author)  Chadworkz5 years ago
I have seen a few methods from various builders of this project. My favorite is mechanically securing the angle from each end. First, bore a hole from the inside corner of the aluminum angles on each end. Then, affix the angle on the table (or other pieces that will receive an angle) with long clamps, or the mechanism itself. Drill through the wood using the newly bored holes and then drill a transverse hold for the cross dowel. Glue can also be used; however, try to find a glue that woks well with these two materials. Epoxy will be too brittle. Wood glue may not bond to the aluminum over time. Maybe silicone would work, but I haven't tried it.
snowpenguin5 years ago
Hey phoodaniel, went to website, love your yz axes, do you have a picture of the z axis assembly and part of the y rails, not by the gantry sides? Want to incorporate the yz part into my cnc, just with slightly different x. Thanks!
dedetc5 years ago
How did u secure the alum angles, the bearings and support, to the MDF?
bdubu6 years ago
Thanks to the author for the great instructable. Nice work indeed! To the prior poster, "vaibhav", I believe that the remainder can be found at
what about sofware & PC intreface????
rich2003137 years ago
Will this guide also include a homebrew controller for the mill?
phooddaniel (author)  rich2003137 years ago
I do plan on adding one (a chopper board) in the near future. The videos will include the entire process of etching (the old fashioned way), soldering, testing, and running. At the website, I include videos on the hobbycnc chopper board assembly. The home brew board will be an additional resource. My intent is to provide as many alternatives as possible.
How about linistepper?
phooddaniel (author)  funlw657 years ago
I have looked at that controller many times. I can't anticipate a problem with using it, but I would like to see if I can design my own using an Allegro chip. Thoughts?
No, just want to build linisteppers. I am not expert on microchips but I learning fast. I have a chip programmer in construction. In Romania is easy to find Microchip components. Another choice is Atmel but in time ...