CNC Gantry Using Drawer Slides


Introduction: CNC Gantry Using Drawer Slides

I have wanted to build a CNC machine for years.  I've finally gotten around to it but am keeping the cost and complexity as low as possible.  While using drawer slides is not the best method I wanted to play around with them and see how they would work.  

I've built the first part of this project using plywood from a local hardware store and the drawer slides from Lowes.  The drawer slides that I used were 18".  I will probably move up to 28" slides; they are around $20 a pair and will give a longer run.

This is just the first video of this project.

Thanks for taking a look.



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    I've noticed that most of the flex in a draw runner is from the second smaller stage. A much better idea would be to remove the second stage completely and remove the tab which stops the middle inner piece from moving out from the rear of the draw runner. Now your draw runner still has the same range, but is supported from the centre of the range and has far less wobble in it. This is what I have done for the CNC I am building.

    What are the measurements of gantry and table? I would like to make one.

    hi. I would like to ask about the accuracy, when its sliding from zero point, doesnt it drop down a little bit, because of whole weight that is sliding on these two slides?

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    Thanks for your question. I finished the project after several months and a lot of revisions along the way, but the drawer slides were used for the whole project. They worked extremely well - I've done a lot of videos on the build. I've been impressed with the signs and cuttings I've been able to do with it. Towards the extremes of the slides the accuracy does fall of a slight bit, but for wood working it has been fine.

    To address the play in the sliders, I wonder if using the external part (or shell) of a second slider would work. In other words, you would have 2 sliders side-by-side, but only one of the traveling arm assembly, gliding back and forth from one to the other.
    Great instructable! Will be tackling this at some point!

    Andsetinn - Thank you for your comments. I should transfer or redo some of these video Instructables into regular picture and text entries - I do agree that the regular old format is a nice way to see what folks have built.

    This drawer slide project has been a lot of fun. It was really cool to see it completed and work with the small rotary tool. My biggest problem with the rotary tool was the lack of a bearing and inconsistent results. The slides actually seemed to be okay for the time being. I've redesigned the gantry to hold a full power router with a regular 1/4" bit. I hope to have the revised build done in the next few weeks. I'll post a follow up to show it.
    Thanks again for taking a look.

    Nice build, though I prefer the "old style" pictures and text instructables. :)
    I've tried these exact slides on a vacuum machine and didn't like the results, too much flex. I ended up binning them and going to roller skate bearings on a heavy duty metal pipe, which was a different type of headache. Your gantry will be heavy with both Y and Z axis on it.

    Thank you sleeping.

    Nice build. Hope to see the rest.

    Very interesting, excellent work. Good idea to use these sliders.