Already at the age of 12 I was dreaming of making a machine which could make things! A machine which would give me the opportunity to create products for in and around the house. Two years later I stumbled ont the words 'Computer Numerical Control' or more specifically the CNC milling machine. After I found out people were able to build one themselves in their own shed, I knew it! I had to build one, I yearned to have it!!
For three months I tried to find the proper parts (A dremeltool, drawer slides, pieces of wood, etc.), but I didn't really know how to build a CNC. The idea fell into oblivion.

In August 2013 the idea to build a CNC milling machine captivated me again. I just finished the first year of my bachelor in Industrial Design, so I was confident enough to start a build. The real difference between now and 5 years ago was, I learned to work with metal on manual milling machines and lathes and above all I had the right tools to design a machine.

This Instructable will show you how I built my CNC milling machine. I know a lot of CNC dreamers do not have the knowledge or tools to build a full metal machine. I still think and hope this Instructable inspires you to make your own machine. I include all of the necessary steps I went through in designing and building this CNC milling machine. All of the drawings I used to build my machine will be available.

Step 1: The Design and CAD model

It all started with a proper design, in my case a few sketches to get a good feeling for the dimensions and shape. Quickly after the sketching phase came the CAD model. I created my model in SolidWorks. If you plan to design your own machine I recommend a parametric CAD-modeling tool. Your machine will most likely have a lot of parts which have to fit together neatly, sometimes with some strange dimensions (for example pre-ordered parts). After all the parts were modeled, technical drawings were made. I used these drawings to machine all of the custom parts on the manual lathe and milling machine.

Since I'm a lover of good designed tools, I tried to make maintenance and the possibility to adjust things on the machine as easy as possible. Bearings could have been integrated in the machine, but I chose to place them in separate bearing blocks (in case it needs to be replaced in the future). Keeping your machine clean is very important too, so guiderails are all accessible (in case of the x-axis by detaching some cover plates)

De drawing above gives an overview of the main mechanical parts I will cover in this Instructable. I will of course also cover the electrical part of the machine. A PDF with the main dimensions is also attached.


Drawer slides. Drawer slides. Why didn't I ever think of drawer slides. That machine looks absolutely mean. Compared to flimsy looking three d printers your CNC machine could beat them up all day. I'm probably going to incorporate your drawer slide design into my ultimate CNC system. I've been cooking it up for a while and experimenting on little machines, I've decided to go with over 2 foot of vertical axis so this would make it look so nice in my opinion. Last couple months I've been sourcing ideas for the frame and I gotta say, the streamlined gantry design is beautiful. A-plus material. Instruct on!
<p>Good job mr. Thank you for share this. This will help me alot building my first cnc :) how do you program it?</p>
<p>2 questions. no1 will this work for milling tracks, pads and holes on a circuit board, and will this work with circuit wizard?</p>
<p>This instructable is very helpful, I would like to build my own cnc machine but I find it difficult to understand everything about it, I just want to build a machine that can mill 1 inch thick plywood. I have to order the electronics from ebay because they are very expensive in my country! what electronics should I buy specifically? I hope to get your help :) </p>
<p>search for cnc kit nema. 2A is more than enough ffor you. it'll depend on speed you'll be working too. </p>
<p>Hello, thanks for sharing your hard work. Please on what basis did you assume the inclination angle of the gantry ? </p>
<p>Balance and posicioning.</p>
<p>This is a really clean and concise article. Nice build, and nice authoring. As a new hobbyist, I would have really liked to learn more about the software side of running these machines. I have googled much about it, but there seems to be a ton of different options. Regardless, nice work on this build.</p>
<p>Hi, Thanks for sharing the story of your great machine. I plan to buy a similar kit with 3x NEMA23 3.5A 3Nm steppers + drivers+ breakout board + 36V source; is this stepper powerful enough for harder materials? not steel but aluminum or copper; especially for X axis , which is the carrier of the other 2 axis + the tool head ... what speed do you use mostly ?( soft wood , hard wood, alu ?)</p><p>GREAT to hear that you managed to build it under 1000E. this is also my target . :D</p>
<p>i like this one. can you please tell me what is the accuracy?</p>
<p>Hey! your project looks pretty impressive :) Can I have its CAD model? Its really important :/</p>
<p>he already said he doesnt share :.(</p>
<p>Please let me know what is the hardness of the steel, machine parts</p>
<p>all steel parts are from the mentioned manufacturers, I don't know why you would be interested....but have a look on the websites.</p>
Please upload your BOM and all 3d models as well as cad drawings. I want to build this
<p>As mentioned earlier in the comment and in the article, I cannot share them</p>
<p>I do not recall seeing the thickness of the Gantry Plates in the Drawing or in the text of the article. Did I miss it? If it was not in either spot, can you provide it?</p><p>Thanks,</p><p>Dean</p>
<p>They have a thickness of 15 mm :)</p>
<p>milled from 6082 aluminium</p>
could you please include the Parts list to buy?thanks
<p>Sorry, no I can't</p>
<p>Would a rotary cutter such as a Rotozip tool work as well as a Dremel for this project? My Rotozip has more lateral cutting bits available than I can find for the Dremel and the motor is bigger and seems to have more speed and power.</p>
<p>If you can find a fixation method for your Rotozip it would work I think. I recently changed my spindle for a High frequency spindle from china</p>
<p>Guys is better to use steel and welding then aluminium? </p>
<p>From my point of view, welded steel is always harder to deal with on the tweaking and after fabrication stages. i prefer using aluminium with screws so my final product will be more flexible to work with like if i need to cut an oversized piece or anything else. so I vote for aluminium but you can always use the method you prefer.</p>
<p>I agree with you :)</p>
<p>Please tell me what kind of Guiderails? Hiwin <b><a href="http://www.mooreinternational.co.uk/category-134/MGNR12M-25.html" rel="nofollow">MGNR 12 GUIDE RAIL - PITCH 25</a> of </b><b><a href="http://www.mooreinternational.co.uk/category-134/MGNR9M-20.html" rel="nofollow">MGNR 9 GUIDE RAIL - PITCH 20</a>.</b></p>
<p>It doesn't really matter, as long as you take the measurements into account </p>
<p>It also can be work with open source program code?</p>
<p>Off course! Have a look at &quot;GRBL CNC&quot;</p>
<p>nice project, no doubt. Looks a little bit very much like this one: http://hackaday.com/2014/06/01/building-a-cnc-milling-machine-for-less-than-1300/</p>
<p>It's the same one</p>
<p>If you read the article it states that it was created by the authors friend (Trochilidesign), whom is the author of this post</p>
<p>The Hackaday article was initiated by one of my friends, he follows the lackaday channel quite extensively ;) I didn't now anything about Hackaday before they posted something</p>
The Hackaday article you mention is about this instructable.....;-)<br><br>
<p>Ii want to use 3d file instead of 2d cad file like pro e or any other software. Any instruction?</p>
<p>The most elegant design, I would like to build a similar one with some small variations, since few materials are difficult to get. Hats off for your efforts. Sir, what is the maximum build/ work area?</p>
<p>That was the most nice project that I've seen online. Nice finish work, the attentions to hide the motors. Congrats, thanks for all these ideas</p>
<p>Awesome Work... Thanks for sharing... My next Project </p>
great job!
<p>wow, josh, that is excellent work on what you did. At 12 years old, I was taking electronics apart and made it better.</p>
<p>salute...., ..... you are shared that can inspire me and my college...</p>
It's amazing. I love the design is simple and clear. I was looking for something like that. Thank you for publishing it.
<p>By far one of the easiest to follow with plenty of drawings already done for you.</p>
<p>this is my final year project 5axes cnc vertical milling and i need your help .</p>
<p>i wanna get one</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Industrial Designer
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