Introduction: $100 Zen Garden CNC Table Powered by Arduino

Hi all, here are some instructions to make a zen CNC plotter. I have seen them all around the internet but I see that they are very difficult and expensive to make. So, I wanted to make a table that was cheap and easy! For this project, I used an Arduino and two small stepper motors (from an Arduino kit) and homemade gantry system. So here it is!

Step 1: Buying the Materials

That's it!

Step 2: Arduino Wiring and Settup

  1. First, I always like to set up a dry run for the Arduino since its the backbone of this project.
  2. I followed this link to wire the motors and create the code.
  3. Here is the code (below)
  4. Wiring should look like the picture
  5. Joystick should be plugged into + - and A0 and A1.

Step 3: Creating a Gantry System

  1. I have attached the files to cut on a laser cutter
    1. I highly suggest to laser cut or CNC cut this. The slightest bit off and the gantry system will not slide smoothly.
  2. I ended up screwing the whole gantry system to plywood for ease of assembly. But in the file are some ends for cutting.
  3. I attached the timing belt to the gantry system blocks using wire and hot glue.
  4. The middle block is where the magnet will be attached.

Step 4: Build the Table

  • This is really up to you how you want to build this.
  • I am planning, later on, to make one of the panels into a door for a drawer for quick maintenance. But for now, I'm attaching the gantry system by 2 by 3s across as seen in the picture.
  • Cut list for my table is the following
  • 4' by 8' plywood
    • Legs
      • 4 - 3" by (the total height you desire)
      • 4 - 2.5" by (the total height you desire)
        • After cutting I use a taper jig for aesthetic
        • Glue these together on right angle
      • Walls
        • 2 - 12" by (the total length of the table you want - 1")
        • 2 - 12 by (the total length of the table you want - 2")
          • I glued and clamped these to the legs until I made a box.
      • Tabletop
        • 4 - 5" by (the total length of the table + (the amount you want the lip to overhang *2))
          • Measure the thickness of the glass/acrylic and cut that depth as a groove on the end of the boards. This is to make a groove for the glass. (see picture)
          • Cut on a 45-degree angle
          • I put this together by biscuit joints.
  • 1/8 ply
    • Inside length of the table.
  • Paint!

Step 5: Put It All Together!

  1. I taped around the edges of the plywood so the sand does not seep through.
  2. I used command strips to hold the Arduino to the table
  3. I screwed the joystick to the bottom of the lid.
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