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Building a CNC router

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Picture of Building a CNC router
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This instructable will show you how I built my CNC router. I hope you can draw some inspiration from my build and that this instructable will be helpful for your future projects. This instructable shows all the steps I went through in designing and building this CNC router.

The main thing I like about a CNC router, is that it is so versatile. You can use it as a drilling machine, a router, a saw, a mill and even as a lathe. Because my workshop is very small (it’s more like a shed), I didn’t have the  room for all of these tools, but I still wanted to be able to make very precise parts for different projects. That’s why I started to think about building a CNC router.

After doing some research I decided to design and build my own machine. It took me almost 6 months to build and design the machine from start to finish. Before starting the actual designing of the machine, I did a lot of research on the web. I recommend taking a look at the following websites: cncroutersource.com and cnczone.com. These websites will provide you with a ton of information and answer most of your questions on CNC related topics.

Please note:
I built this CNC router as final project for school (also called 'profielwerkstuk' in the Netherlands). When I started the build, I was 16 years old and I finished it when I was 17. Although I have done a couple of larger projects in the past and have been doing FTC robotics for the last few years, I didn’t have that much experience with building CNC machines. This machine actually is the second CNC machine I built.  The first one was a wooden test machine, which I built to gain some experience and learn more about CNC machines. I tried to build this machine as good as possible, with the tools, the knowledge and the budget I had at the time. I think the machine came out pretty nice and I hope you enjoy reading about it.
 
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kSaletta6 days ago

Wow this is such an amazing machine!!! Its so awesome how you made your own machine that you use to make parts! You did such a nice job on this!

Benne (author)  kSaletta6 days ago
Thank you!
jmacangus13 days ago

A fine piece of engineering.

skhawale3 months ago
Is there any substitute for the Leadshine M542 co troller because it is'nt available in India.

hey dude, i am salam siddique from mumbai

i have build a cnc mill myself and below are the pics you can see

i have to tell you that it is very tough to find cnc electronics here in india

i myself ordered tb6560 3-axis cnc driver from ebay

so it is good if you order from ebay or you can make one, there are lots of articles on the internet but if you are a beginner i recommend you to buy one

if you need anything just google it........

best of luck....

IMAG0116.jpgIMAG0113.jpgIMAG0112.jpg
Djidde1 month ago

Very, very impressive man. Any chance you could send me the drawings in sketchup and some additional information? Would live to design further upon your great execution!

goodwillnd2 months ago

Great instructable Benne. I am based in South Africa and I want to build a similar machine. Please can you e-mail me the plans to goodwillnd@gmail.com. I will greatly appreciate your assistance. Take care and thanks again for this insightful build.

Dr Soup 323 months ago
Holy cow my friend, nice work!
coldmow3 months ago

Gruwelijk vet van je dat je het op Instructables hebt gezet. Dit is echt vet.

lcsmbs4 months ago

I am also designing and building a CNC router but I am not to sure about the dimensions. I want it to be pretty similar to your as I think it is one of the best designs around. Could you please email me the sketchup plan. Email is: sales@chedworth.co.nz.

Much appreciated.

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GENIUS, I AM NOT SPEAK ENGLISH CUCUTA, COLOMBIA, I'M MAKING THE PLAN AND I WANT MY CNC ASK YOU PLEASE SEND ME THE ALL POSSIBLE INFORMATION, HANDLING THE SKETCHUP, COREL, PHOTOSHOP, ETC. TE appreciate it.

ALEXANDER WALDO

apdigitalprint@yahoo.es

todos4 months ago

Hi and from me very nice project and really understantable posting. I am thinking of making a cnc on my own and i want some help in selecting dimensions of linear rails,bearings etc. and cutting bed?how i will configure the area of cutting?

thanks

Benne (author)  todos4 months ago

What materials you should use depends on the size of the machine you want to make, your budget, the precision etc. You'll have to provide a bit more information, so that I can help you better. I used 16mm fully supported rails for the Y and Z axis. You definitely want supported rails, when your machine is larger than 500/500mm. The cutting area will be about 20cm smaller in each axis than the lenght of your rails, but this also depends on your design. A good website with more information is: http://www.cncroutersource.com/. There you'll find most answers to your questions. Good luck with building your CNC router!

todos Benne4 months ago

Generally i want to cut aluminium and wood as you did and for the frame i will use also aluminium.So your length of the rails in your project is x:1050mm,y:840,z:400 and the travel area almost 20cm smaller in every axis.

It is worth to make a bigger cnc?If i want a cutting area of 1100mmx925mm i will use 1300mm x 1150mm rails?

If i made a bigger from yours i will lose precision and where i should pay attention?It change anything in the z axis;

If it easy for you can you send me some sketch up or any other information for my first steps.I sent my email to you with pm.

Sorry if i am asking stupid things but i am trying to understand what is the best dimensioning for my project.

Thanks and keep going with nice projects!

Benne (author)  todos4 months ago

I just send you an email with the sketchup drawings and some more information that might help you. Hope this helps.

Benne

Bog Trotter4 months ago

Benne Congratulations on an impressive piece of designing and construction. Is there any chance that you could edit the instructable to include some critical dimensions and a bill of materials and parts (BOMP). Bog Trotter

Benne (author)  Bog Trotter4 months ago

I haven't made a BOM, because most of the materials I ordered locally or from Dutch suppliers. In the instructable you can find the main components I used and the dimensions of the cutting area, rail lenght etc. I can send you the sketchup drawings, if you pm me your email address, but the drawings arent very detailed. If you want to make a copy/similar CNC router, I'm afraid that you will have to figure out a lot of dimensions yourself and see what materials you can use. But the sketchup drawings and all of the pictures probably can help.

Benne

benwade5 months ago

I can not tell you how much I admire the work you did here, and the quality of the instructable you have made. You will do well in whatever you undertake. I'd like to add that your English is fantastic.

Benne (author)  benwade4 months ago

Thank you very much for your comment, I really appreciate it!!!

Benne (author)  Nazir Naseer4 months ago

Nice, so you even made your own electronics, very cool!

mbrock134 months ago

First off great build! Your work has inspired me to build one as well. I had one question for you though. I am wondering what the dimensions of the side plates of the gantry were? thank you in advance for your help!

Benne (author)  mbrock134 months ago

Thanks! The side plates are: 200x530x15mm. I can send you the sketchup drawings, but I'll need your email address. The sketchup drawings are not extremely detailed nor fully complete, but they probably will be helpful if you want to build your own.

nice, how much did jtcost you to make
I meant 'it cost'
Benne (author)  TheMeltyBotBuilder4 months ago

Total cost was about 1400 euros

kbell144 months ago

how do you set the machine "0" position?

Benne (author)  kbell144 months ago

This is very easy. You should use the same 0 point as you used in your Cad/Cam program. For instance the bottom left corner of the material you want to cut. So you position the machine in the bottom left corner and make sure that the cutting tool is just touching the surface. I normally slip a piece of paper under it and lower my Z-axis until I can't move the piece of paper anymore. Then you go to Mach3 and click the Zero X/Y/Z buttons. You can find these next to the 'coordinates table' (see step 16). Your machine is now on 0 and you can start the program.

Hope this helps,

Benne

kbell14 Benne4 months ago

Thanks. figured it out after looking at the Mach3 Tutorial and confirmed by your comment above.

Tbus5 months ago

If anybody needs help with the CNC programming part I'm enrolled in a learn-at-home course in
CNC programming that is very informative:

http://www.ciebookstore.com/cnc-programming-course

orck6 months ago

Great build. I would like to see the other two motors. Their pulleys and belts.

Benne (author)  orck5 months ago

I added two more photo's to step 8, which show the Y-axis motor mount and belt in a bit more detail. Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of the X-axis and since the machine is standing in it's enclosure and the motor is under the table, I can't really take a good picture of it.

topgun3086 months ago

This is a great instructable and I will be using some of your ideas in my build.WELL DONE!!

When I was looking on ebay for cnc parts I came across someone in the uk who is using your photo to sell a cnc machining service!!! Unless you have sold him your machine he has stole your photo to sell his service.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CNC-Router-Cutting-Pocke...

pityukecske7 months ago
Very impressive. Being a CNC hobbyist myself, I know this is a tremendous amount of work here. I couldn't find time to make a simple limit switch circuit for mine (a lot smaller, than this machine) for quite a few months now, a task that takes a hundred times less, than yours. Great work, amazing build, thanks for sharing!

Istvan
stofke7 months ago
Enig idee hoeveel dit gekost heeft aan materiaal?
Benne (author)  stofke7 months ago
Ik denk dat ik rond de 1400 euro heb uitgegeven aan materiaal. De lineaire geleidingen en kogelomloop spindels voor de X en de Y as heb ik voor 150 euro van iemand over kunnen nemen, dus dat heeft wel gescheeld in de kosten. Waarschijnlijk had ik op andere dingen wel wat kunnen besparen, zoals op de elektronica, maar ik denk dat iedereen deze machine voor +/- 1500 euro moet kunnen bouwen.
SuperSVGA7 months ago
Just curious, what FTC team are you on?
Benne (author)  SuperSVGA7 months ago
Team 3761, Lords of the screws. But we aren't competing this year. Good luck with the rest of the season, if you are in an FTC team as well!
fahadshihab7 months ago
We do like it better when you did it with arduino.
have a try!
TP_inc7 months ago
Maybe just maybe I could ask my dad if I could do this with his plasma cutter
spamsucks7 months ago
Bah, I could have done this with a Popsicle stick and a bit of Gum. No seriously this project is fantastic, and is exactly what I have been looking for in terms of specifics in what I want to build. Its crazy you could work all this out, make it work and explain it well enough for people like me to use it :-) The fact that you are still young says we should expect great things of you, and the fact you wrote this in english for us is just really REALLY impressive. Keep up the good work! I wish you the best
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