Building a Drawer Slide CNC Machine for Under $200!





Introduction: Building a Drawer Slide CNC Machine for Under $200!

Drawer Slide CNC Machine for under $200


Like many of us interested in this hobby, I wanted my own machine. But I didn’t want to dive into it, spend $2k plus and have a large paperweight out in my shop. The idea was born for a simple, cheap, somewhat accurate CNC machine that I could modify as I gained knowledge (and funds).

The first step in the process was deciding what hardware I was going to use.

I decided on the TB6560-3 axis driver bought off eBay for $22.00/free shipping. I chose this driver because it was very affordable, and that is how I chose most of the components for this project. Next came the 12V 8.5A Switching Power Supply, also bought off eBay for $14.99/free shipping

For stepper motors, I found a lot of 5 on eBay for $10.00/free shipping. They are small, but they actually have plenty of power for this machine (I’m not milling aluminum and the x-y is quite small).

The spindle is probably the most important part of the machine. If you buy something that has too much run out (movement in the shaft/bearings which makes your cutting tools “wobble”) you will have difficulty achieving any sort of accuracy. This is the mistake I made, I chose a Dremel 100. This is a great tool, don’t get me wrong, but it is made with a plastic housing, and it turns at 35,000 RPM so it has quite a bit of run-out.

There are a lot of misc hardware pieces need to build this machine, but most of which can be found at your local Lowes, Home Depot or local hardware store. I will detail a list of materials needed here:

Also, you will need some sort of software(and obviously a computer) to run the machine and to do drawings. I use Mach3(free... for the controlling software, and I do most of my drawing in Turbo Cad for Mac. There are many choices out there, some more expensive than others.

****EDIT**** I forgot to mention what I would do with the laser cutter if I were to win! I would make a lot of crafts and projects to benefit a not for profit I'm involved with. It's a great organization that helps children increase their self esteem and self confidence.


(2) 2”x4”x8’

(2) Pairs of heavy duty drawer slides

(1) small linear slide rail (bought off eBay $5.00/free ship) for Z axis

(1) 2’x2’ 1/8” sheet of luan plywood (could also use Plexiglas)

(1) Sheet of Plexiglas or lexan ¼” to 3/8” 10" x 10"

(1) 3/8”x 3/8”x 36" aluminum angle 3

(1) 3/8” x 36"aluminum U channel

(1) ½” x 1/8”x 3’ aluminum flat stock

(1) ¼”-20 x 3’ Threaded rod (lead screw)

(3) ¼”-20 hex standoffs 2” long

(1) ¼” fuel line hose for coupling motor to threaded rod

(1) Tube of super glue

(4) Wood screws for securing drawer slides to frame

(16) Nuts and bolts 10-24 x 5/8”

(12) Nuts and bolts 8-32 x 3/8”

(2) drill bushings (for lead screw support)



-For stepper motor hook-up determined by stepper motors (how many wires) and how far your drivers are placed.

-Power cable for power supply (used 3 wire cord of old power tool)

-Small length of 12ga wire for driver power (from power supply) + and –

1. Start by building a 2x4 frame, as shown in the Illustrations.

2. Attach the drawer slides to the frame

3. Glue or weld a small piece of sheet metal (with holes), or plastic to the hex standoff for the lead screws and attach to bottom of both X and Y axis

4. Attach the X axis plywood, luan, or plexiglass

5. Attach the next set of drawer slides to the X axis

6. Attach the Y axis plexiglass (10" x 10") to the drawer slides on the X axis

7. Next, attach the small linear slide to the upper Z support

8. Attach a small piece of plexiglas, or any other rigid material for the Z axis, along with another hex standoff mounted to the back for the lead screw.

9. Depending on your spindle motor choice, you will have to figure out how to mount it. I used a 2" plastic pipe holder, found at Lowes in the plumbing section.

10. Also depending on which stepper motors you choose you will have different options on mounting them. I used aluminum angle to mount them.



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How is the Z axis supported when the slide isn't fully extended? If you have a pound or two with the slide, mount, and whatever you may use as the spindle (dremel, trim router, etc..) wouldn't that just put all the weight on the screw and motor, which would pull apart?

Thanks :)

The Z axis is supported. It is on a single linear slide, which is quite stout and flexes very little. The is not taking any side to side load.Look at the pictures againd and you will see it. Thanks.

Thanks for the reply :)
I wasn't asking about the side to side support though. I was concerned about the vertical - Yes it's on a slide, but what other than the motor and screw is keeping that slide from dropping to full extension? As an example, if I have two pounds of trim router, small mount to connect it to the slide, etc, wouldn't that two pounds be pulling down on the screw, trying to pull it off the motor? Since there is no spring to help alleviate the weight, wouldn't this stress and break the hold made by glue, etc with the coupling hose?

Ahh, I see what you are saying.

I have not had the tubing "coupler" break loose yet. I guess super glue, and a very tight hose connection is enough for the light weight dremel. I am in the process of rebuilding the machine and upgrading it. Stay tuned! Thanks.

I am using a Bosh Die grinder as my routing tool which weighs 1.6Kg (people of the world"especially Americans" please start using SI system).

Do you think the weight will be supported just using superglue and a tight hose.If not what suggestions can you give .

Thank you in advance

Wondering about the use of "Super Glue" as it tends to make rubber brittle..

If I were to build this again, I found an awesome, cheap solution to this problem. Check this out for helping "support" the load. you could buy one that matches the weight of your tool, or combine a few to equal the weight.

if you got answer for this question it would be nice if you can share it ,because i have the same problem with my project

I am making my first cnc :) it is a nice work , like :) , I use this map to make mine.tnx

please can you suggest me what outcome is possible after making this machine