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... http://www.machsupport.com/) 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) 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.