project is a set of plans for an inexpensive, fully functional 3-axis CNC mill that can be built by an individual with basic shop skills and tool access.
CNC devices are used to fabricate physical objects with a high degree of precision. Some CNC devices, including the DIYLILCNC
, feature a gantry-mounted cutting tool (like a router) that can move in two or more directions. The operation of the tool is controlled by a computer, which is tasked with translating a digital design into actual tool movement.
can be built for around $700. This cost includes all the stock hardware and sheet material used in construction. CAD files for custom laser-cut parts are distributed along with the plans. Anyone with access to a laser cutter can use these files to fabricate all the panel parts necessary for construction; those without ready laser-cutter access can use local or online laser-cutting services. Some users have even adapted the files to be cut using another CNC mill.
Plans and instructions for building the DIYLILCNC
are distributed freely and intended for wide distribution and modification with few restrictions. The plans are formatted to facilitate easy fabrication, especially for beginners. The DIYLILCNC
can be built by an individual, a student group, or a class. Besides being immensely fun, building the DIYLILCNC
is a great way to learn about motion control and CAD/CAM/CAE.
-Cutting bed size: ~12” x 14” x 2”
-Spindle speed: 0-35,000 RPM
-Total cost for hardware, sheet material, motors and driver board: ~$700
-Tested cut materials: foam, hardwood, acrylic, MDF, thin copper sheet
The plans and source files for this project are released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike
license. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work and the work of previous authors, even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit all authors/contributors appropriately and license their new creations under identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on the information presented below must carry the same license.
Authors’ names and sponsor institutions referenced below must be attributed in any future modification or redistribution of these plans.
This project is a fusion of two instruction sets published by Stuart McFarlane/Oomlout
: CNC1/desktop CNC router
(2007) provided the basic design for a functioning CNC mill; How to Make Anything (Using Acrylic and Machine Screws)
(2009) details a solution for constructing 90° joints in laser-cuts stock using simple hardware.
The plans and source files presented below were adapted and expanded by: Chris Reilly (www.rainbowlazer.com
) and Taylor Hokanson (www.taylorhokanson.com
) with generous support in the form of funding and facilities from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)