This is a CNC machine I built for use in my sign shop. I have wanted a CNC for a long time but found the price of a decent machine to be a bit high for my blood. So, I did a bit of research and found a lot of references online. I sourced a majority of my parts from openbuilds.com. The table cut size is around 44x40 inches. This is a good size for what I do in my small shop. Unfortunately I built this before I found this great web site. So...As such, I do not have any build pictures. (SORRY)
I will try to best describe the build but not go into to much detail as to bore you.
I started with the rails and guides and found that a combination rail and guide system was least expensive and yet very accurate and precise. I choose a belt drive system using 23 nima drive motors for all the X, Y and Z movements.
The CNC bed is simple MDF because it is cheap to replace and I can screw projects directly to it.
Cutting is done by a DeWalt Trim Router and works very well. (Variable Speed)
All wiring is run through plastic chain guides. This keeps wiring clean and out of the way.
The Z clearance is about 6 inches. This allows the ability to route a lot of different materials.
The machine is controlled by an arduino board. Motors are driven directly from this board and made for easy wiring. I put the control board and power supply in a dust proof plastic box and mounted it under the table I built. I also installed a ventilation van and a kill switch for emergencies.
I also made a dust collection boot for the router. This helps a lot to keep the mess as the machine is running to a minimum.
Once the machine itself was built, I decided to build a custom rolling bench for the the machine, vacuum, Laptop and other tools and things I use. I wanted to be able to use the CNC in any part of my shop including outdoors on a nice day. The table itself has proved to be the best part of the build for me in the small shop I have. The hole unit is self contained. Everything plugs into a power strip in the side of the table.
Once I design a project and send it to the CNC via USB from my laptop, I just slide the laptop up under the table out of falling dust and let the machine go to work.
So...The Good. Self contained. Easily movable. Very Affordable, finished about $1800.00. Somewhat easy to build with basic knowledge of tools. (No Welding!). Great accuracy.
The Bad. Being an open rail system, the machine can collect dust under the guide rails. As the machine is running you must clean the rails so the dust does no collect and cause any problems. Getting the perfect tension on the drive belts is not easy and can really effect the accuracy of the machine.
This was a very fun build for me and has proved itself to be very handy in my shop.
I would rate the build difficulty about a 7 from 1 to 10.