Instructables
Picture of Cheap DIY dremel-compatible router
DSCN2219.JPG
DSCN2224.JPG
 I am currently working on building myself a small CNC router, to be able to manufacture my own solid parts designed on my PC. Well, looking around online, there are lots of projects that are great inspiration, but many of these rely on expensive components.

One of the most commonly incorporated parts to be found in these designs are Dremel-brand handheld tools, using router bits, attached to the Z-Axis. Well, I took a look at Dremel tools, at my local hardware store, Wal-Mart store, Target store, and a few other places, but I've found that they're all very expensive, for use in my upcoming project.

Well, I tackled this problem today. I built my "router" on an arm that will be attached to the Z-Axis on my CNC machine. Hopefully, others could use a similar tool, and will find this interesting.

Step 1: Tools Required

Picture of Tools Required
Handheld Drill, 3/8" or larger chuck.
1/8" Steel-Cutting Drill Bit
3/32" Steel-Cutting Drill Bit
#4-40 SAE Tap
#1 Philips Screwdriver
#2 Philips Screwdriver
Needle-Nose Pliers
Pipe Cutter
Tin Snips

Step 2: Parts List

Picture of Parts List
2 Timing Pulleys, and 1 Timing Belt of the same tooth pitch. (I found my set in a PC Printer from a dumpster)
1 Solid Metal Rod, 3/8" diameter (or 1/4", if 3/8" is not available).
1 #4-40 SAE Screw, to act as a Chuck
1 Dremel-Brand 1/8" or smaller Router bit
2 flanged bearings, with I/D the same as the diameter of the solid metal rod.
1 pipe, with I/D the same as the O/D of the bearing.
1 electric motor, AC or DC, high RPM, medium Torque. (I got mine from a broken cordless drill)
Brass hobby tubing, with I/D the same as the diameter of the solid metal rod.
Scrap wood.
Scrap sheet metal.
A handful of Wood Screws.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
odalcet2 years ago
Thanks psymansays. Just now I'm making a cnc router but just now my project is only a nice Blender drawing and assorted plumbing material from my junk box. I'm waiting for more details on your router. Have a nice 2012!
odalcet2 years ago
May I ask you a question? Where is the router? What you have here is only a drill...
psymansays (author)  odalcet2 years ago
Well... it has a router bit in it, and it can cut sideways, not just straight in and out. You're right, though, that nothing makes this more of a router than a drill.
twighahn3 years ago
enter the dremel contest
andreblue4 years ago
nice screw driver i have one like that, flat and phlips lol they are good to freak ppl, like when my friend asked to borrow a screw driver, i handed him that and he went why do i need a b... , oh it is a screw driver
psymansays (author)  andreblue4 years ago
Yeah, they seem to work pretty well, too. :)
ironsmiter4 years ago
Nicely done.
Looks like it'll be for a gantry style mill/router?

Consider using a Set screw like this instead.

Although it's small, having that large setscrew sticking off the side is gonna cause imbalance(leading to early bearing failure).
Also, one day, you WILL catch yourself on that screw, and are gonna wish it had been a flush set screw. Go ahead and ask me how I know, I dare you :-)
psymansays (author)  ironsmiter4 years ago
Thanks. I do plan to build a simple gantry router, yes.

I was going to use an inset set screw, like you're suggesting, but since I used a 1/4" diameter bolt, there's only 1/16" of threads there, and I'm not sure I have the 1/16" allen wrench in my set, for the set screw that I have, either. I just used what I already had sitting out, that was easy to tighten down on the fly.

You do have a good point about the imbalance potentially damaging the bearings, though. I may have to switch to a normal set-screw soon.
routers are generally meant for cutting sideways, not just plunging like a drill, therefore I suspect the bearings suffer quite enough from these sideways forces to not mind an out of balance shaft much.
psymansays (author)  lasersage4 years ago
That's a good point. Thanks!
strcrusher4 years ago
 Real nice but what a waste of wood
Whackmaster4 years ago
Very nice!  I LOVE seeing people make tools with simpler tools, and for those who happen to have this stuff lying around (like me) this could be zero-cost!  In fairness I would point out you can get cheap routers for $30 these days, so this probably wouldn't be worth the effort if you needed to buy too many of the pieces (particularly the motor), but for junkhounds like me this is a great idea.

I hope you do an Instructable on making an inexpensive CNC router too!
psymansays (author)  Whackmaster4 years ago
Thank you. I am thinking about documenting the build of my CNC router, so I may post an 'ible on the subject, once I get further along.

You know, you're right that there are Dremel clones out there for fairly cheap, but, I had these parts around, too, so, like you, this was a $0 build for me. I think that most people who're interested in building a CNC mill at home probably do have a similar junk pile to salvage through.
8bit psymansays4 years ago
Definitely post the build! 
rimar20004 years ago
This seems interesting.

Maybe you can exhibit a work maked with it.
psymansays (author)  rimar20004 years ago
 Thanks for your interest. I'll try to post a video of this tool in use, as soon as I get time to shoot one in the daylight.