Dremel Carver/Duplicator like a Human Powered CNC Router

Picture of Dremel Carver/Duplicator like a Human Powered CNC Router
For the last few years I have seen all these cool CNC projects from affordable rapid-prototyping machines, to laser cutters, to hacked together CNC routers. One of these days when I have the funds, I will build one of these CNC machines but till then I thought I would do something more on my budget.

I have a Dremel and have been buying various router bits for it lately. I was thinking that I could buy one of those Dremel Router tables but, that would be kind of limiting. So then I thought what about building a Dremel Duplicator. It would have three axes and could be utilized much like a CNC Router with the added advantage of copying an existing object.

This is my exploration into building a Dremel Duplicator.

+ Revision 1.1 - 01.04.08 - Wood and Metal Pipe construction
+ Revision 1.2 - 01.06.08 - Axes improvements
+ Revision 1.3 - Coming Soon!

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Step 1: Design Intent

My original design intent was to create a Dremel duplicator/carver from readily available and inexpensive materials. This machine should be able to duplicate simple operations such as holes, channels, and outlines. Ideally this machine would also be able to manufacture complicated 3D objects. Future versions may include synchronized turntables and a mounting plate to hold items in place.

I had this all planned out: draft a simple CAD model to figure out dimensions, print out pieces to use as a template, cut and drill parts, assemble, document, post to contest and brag about how this machine cost less than $20 to build, was modular and reconfigurable. Seems pretty easy but it was anything but&

The main stumbling block in Rev 1.1 was that I did not have access to a drill press. The holes in this project need to be exactly aligned, which is really hard to do with a hand drill.

Rev. 1.2 will show a proof of concept.
Rev 1.3 will hopefully show a refined project.
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Can the duplication machine copy EVERYTHING, including game cases? Even if it doesn't, your duplication machine is COOL!

dungd12 months ago

i can control it by pro engineer?

dungd12 months ago

i can control it by pro engineer?

dungd12 months ago

i can control it by pro engineer?

dungd12 months ago

i can control it by pro engineer?

dungd12 months ago

i can control it by pro engineer?

jeff.nme3 months ago

The videos are "private" and can't be watched.
I would liked to have seen it in operation. :-(

ag5119 jeff.nme2 months ago

I love the idea! But I too wanted to see it in action. Bummer!

anoniemouse4 years ago
I am not trying to be mean or put anyone down But - - This is a joke right?

They sell a version of this at M-- Wards.

You can find a version in more places than I can find room to list here.
It is called a pantograph -- (Google or Bing this) these sell for $29.00 and up.

In drafting and art classes they show you how to make one with 4 yard sticks (or rulers) and a few thumb tacks and a rubber band.
Dremel Sells a better one!!!

Dremel does not have a pantograph, if so a link to it would benefit those of us who own more than one dremel tool in our shop. I have the stylus, the cordless, a single speed (router use only) and a variable speed for just about everything else that I need to do. I just checked and if it is not on e-bay then it probably never existed.

A Pantograph is a 2D transfer device. This instructable is for 3D duplication. Totally different.
Pazzerz5 years ago
To eliminate the slide problem, there is a 'sliding' ball bearing you can use, called a ball bushing, simply enough. It is a tube with straight 'races' inside. The races contain ball bearings that roll through the races and return the other direction, but not touching the surface as they return. It allows radial and linear movement. They come in many sizes and give a good tight fit when used with the proper sized shaft.
Ball bushing.jpg

I just looked for the price of those bearings and they run right around 70.00 a piece. Now having stated that since he is working with a limited budget I would suggest roller blade bearings because they are much cheaper and can be implemented into this design. He would have to make slots above the area where the pipes ride for the bearings, but I am sure he can do this if he has a decent jig saw or even a decent hand saw. Love those bearings but boy they are expensive.

jonov1 Pazzerz4 years ago
You're a good man, kenbo0422. This piece of hardware will simplify a great deal the CNC I was planning to build. Thanks for this piece of tip.
Pazzerz jonov110 months ago

I just recalled the name of it, lol, its a linear bearing. I think McMaster sells them.

He could use that hand drill and make a drill press, a few 2x4's and a couple of drawer slides along with those screen door pneumatic returns and he's got a decent drill press at a fraction of the cost. Or he could look for a bench top drill press I found one after I build my big one for around $75.00 USD.

roy.design7 months ago

I have downloaded the pdf instructions and the related timber cutting template which will print A4 paper size. .. there are no dimensions marked on the cutting plan ?

Does anyone know if the timber is A4 scale or should I print on larger paper ?

Seems short lengths then ?

In the same line as the cutting template download text link ...

Router Duplicator Template.pdf(792x1224)

.. what does (792x1224) refer to ?

Pazzerz10 months ago

I built the copy carver that Matthias Wandel designed, and it works quite well. This one is similar, and the movement problems may be avoided by using roller skate bearings to contact the pipe instead of direct contact with the wood. OR-- you could use a linear bearing, which would fit inside the hole in the wood and contact the pipe right there. This will do 3D well. If you want to duplicate larger (taller) objects, a dual synchonized turntable system will allow you to carve mostly from one side but synchronously turning the blank with the original and getting a complete duplication all the way around.

brunoaco10 months ago
I would love to see the videos too

Too bad the videos aren't available. They're marked private.

cyberghos1 year ago

How to view the video? it's private

jnhem1 year ago
People are saying pantograph but its more like a polygraph in all ways. I think your doing a great job and I cant wait to use this to create my own
TrueNhero 1 year ago
videos are private.
gtoal2 years ago
This is effrectively a pantograph, no? Have you thought about doing a version that reduces, instead of 1:1? It's easier to create a larger scale master then trace over it to create a fine reduced copy than it is to go straight to the smaller object.
goosy3 years ago
I saw a 3-D duplicarver in a Poplar Mechanics way back. The inventor Don Laskowski developed a production model in 1979 and there are many similarities with this design. Please check first before going into production.
Can't wait 'til it's finished! This is something I've had my brain on for a few months now. Simplicity is reliability I always say.

Your design actually reminds me of a pantograph, just with 1:1 scale :D
twighahn4 years ago
this should win the dremel contest.i could trace photos on to wood
brb1129884 years ago
this thing is great i etch glass alot with my dremal tool all the time and this duplicator will make it alot easier for me thanks alor im gunna start building one 2marrow but im gunna try and makeit out of metal cuz that waht i work with all the time
for larger object go through pages on this sight
joaocarimo4 years ago
Good job. I've got an idea that could take this to another step. I would put a laser diode in both edges and an optic sensor as well. The main idea is to have a low energy laser beam to scan an object with the optic sensor in order to send the exact values to the high power laser to do the job using it's optic sensor or diode to guive the input. you should have a X and Y stepper motor. the x axis steppet motor would advance as soon as the difference of the value read on the source scanner and the target is equal to zero. as soon as the x scan is complete, the y axis advances to start all over again untill a full replica is created. The laser diode to scan teh source object could be extracted from a ny tegular cdrom and the high power laser diode, can be obtained from a regular dvd rw device. The circuit would be very simple. Other application: a) Scan a full object. b) Magnify / zoom it to another scale c) duplicate the object in another scale.
Pazzerz5 years ago
To get a better accuracy at the tip of the dremel: Use another dremel tip in place of the screwdriver. The exact profile of the tip will give you better results. Also, fill in the cutting ridges on the profiler tip with epoxy or putty... Since the carving tip is spinning, its profile is virtually solid, so the profiling tip needs to be solid as well.
static5 years ago
IMO no matter how much flex you remove flex from the other components, slides rails and bushings are going to be a problem. They work fine in designs where the carriage is moved by lead screws. Here where the force that moves the carriages is so far removed from the slides, I believe control will remain a issue. Using two parallel tubes where there is now one tube just might help, but may introduce other problems Good luck in getting it all the bugs worked out to YOUR satisfaction.
merijnvw5 years ago
Hi this is really cool. Do you have photos of things you made with it?
I dont remember th' titles , but there are a number of tutorial boks on routers and router jigs and at least one that covered a 3 axis pantograph that was capable of carving in th' round , that is , to carve a free standing copy of a statue ! I last saw this book in VA in 1997 Gearhead
kmpres5 years ago
Hey, nice work! I really like the low-tech approach; human arm power instead of stepper motors, no need for electronics, etc. Some diagonal bracing will help a lot, I think, as well as a front piece connecting the two side rails together makng a four sided box instead of the three sides you now have. If a wood peice would get in the way you could make this out of 2mm thick aluminum. These should go a long way to improving accuracy and reducing flex in the arms. Also, I noticed the cardboard surrounding the pipes you bought have the Katakana characters for "Stainless Pipe" written on them. This probably means those parts were imported from Japan, or maybe you live there, as do I?
altomic kmpres5 years ago
Re: the Katakana - I thought the same thing (having lived in Japan for 4 years and bringing home cartons of Japanese tools and electronics parts). great instructable. I like it. without the massive complexity of industrial CNC instructions. thanks
That's pretty cool Adran. I tried to come up with something like this a few years back, but never succeeded completely. A couple of ideas I did have that might help though were to use a square piece of plywood on a piano hinge connected to a 1x8, and a couple of ball-bearing drawer slides for the side to side axis, that the 1x8 attaches to. This gave me better side to side accuracy. The piece I never figured out, you clearly did with the drawer slides going forward and back also. Very nice
I have to say this is pretty darn cool! But technically because a computer does not run any of the movement, Its not really a CNC its more of a mechanical Replicator. Still pretty sweet ible
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