This instructable shows how to shape polystyrene foam, using a CNC machine. Starting with a brief introduction, design software necessary for creating an STL file is discussed. This is followed by a method for creating G-code, using an STL file as input. After this comes the introduction to GRBL, an arduino based system for using G-code to control stepper motors of a CNC mill. Stepper drivers are mentioned, after which the creation of large CNC hardware is described. The instructable finishes with next steps.
PS. I plan to expand/update this instructable as I gain experience and make improvements to my machine. Come back to check if you are interested! Also, if you would like more clarity on any of the steps, leave a comment and I will try to help out. I could potentially add more pictures as I took photos/videos of pretty much everything I did.
Step 1: Introduction
I became interested in CNC machines, shortly after being let down by a 3D printing firm in the UK. Intrigued with the reprap efforts, I decided that having a drill-like tool wizzing around in three directions would be an easy target to achieve. I did my research and ended up slapping together a small machine, using an old flatbed scanner, an ancient printer carriage and a defunct CD player. I learned from the experience and used it to come with the following objective: to create a large 3 axis CNC machine, capable of machining polystyrene foam. The machined foam can then be covered in a protective layer (eg. water based latex), before pulling a composite fibre mould(ing) from it.