Step 1: What is CNC

Picture of What is CNC
Let’s start with the basics for anyone that is new to this.  CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, which extends to many different applications but in most cases is used to describe a machine that is controlled by a computer to remove small amounts of material from a larger piece of material.  Most of these machines use a spinning bit with sharp edges to scrape away small slices of material in a very controlled fashion until the desired final shape of the material is left.  Through the use of computers very precise shapes can be cut from almost any material.

So that was really basic, let’s get to some of the specifics on my type of CNC machine.  There are many different types of CNC machines but they are most distinguishable by the type and size of material they are designed to cut.  In general if someone refers to a CNC “milling” machine they are referring to a metal cutting machine and if they say it’s a CNC "router" it means a machine made to cut wood, plastic or other soft materials.  This instructable will show you how to build a CNC router.

If you are learning about CNC and have considered building your own machine I would highly recommend taking a look at this website cncroutersource.com  There is a wealth of knowledge about designing your own CNC router and well as explanations of the different types of router designs and list of terms commonly used in CNC lingo.  When I first considered building CNC machine I was lucky enough to stumble across this site and it helped me make a lot of the basic design decisions early on.

Once you have read though all you can on the cncroutersource.com you can step up to the big leagues and join the cnczone.com forum.  Here you will find a vast amount of information and huge community of active users all doing the things you want to do for your CNC.  There is a specific section of the forum for CNC routers and many build threads have been posted that will make you drool with jealousy.  Have a question about CNC? A simple search of this forum will most likely answer any and all of the CNC questions you have.  Keep in mind though that a lot of acronyms and jargon are used on cnczone but if you have read cncroutersource you should be able to figure it out.