Introduction: Arduino Mini CNC Plotter (With Proteus Project & PCB)

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This arduino mini CNC or XY plotter can write and make designs within the range of 40x40mm.

Yes this range is short, but its a good start to jump into the arduino world.

[I've given everything in this project, even PCB, Proteus File, Example design and alot of more data, I hope you'll like it and help me support my instructable and YouTube channel.]

The main thing that means alot is you need to know how to control the stepper motor. Generally there are two types of stepper motors which are widely being used.

  • Bipolar (has 4 wires)
  • Unipolar (has 5-6 wires)


  1. OLD DVD/CD rom slides
  2. Mini Tower Servo Motor
  3. Arduino
  4. 2pcs L293D (H-bridge Driver IC)

The motor and slides for this drawing robot are salvaged from old DVD roms. Remember one difference that is in the threads of the motor shaft. As we know that DVD's stepper has threaded shaft already attached which spins. So, the distance from one thread to another should be same as for the second DVD rom slide.

Now the both slides are taken. You need to test your motors now. In order to test make connection as shown in the diagram.

Step 1: Arduino Circuit/Schematic & PCB Layout

Here i've shown the schematic according to which you need to make connections of the motors via L293D driver ICs.

I've also designed it on Proteus where you can also perform simulation. Secondly, I've designed the PCB layout for it. Proteus project is also attached is only useful to develop a professional board that doesn't require arduino and you need to burn hex into it. Hex file is also available in the arduino cnc project zip file.

The project zip files not only contains the arduino source code and hex files (for developing professional atmega328 and l293d board) but it also includes the application named as "Processing 3" used to run this CNC plotter. The "Processing 3" is an app for PC (available for windows and other operating systems. My zip file has only for windows) to develop java applications or temporary testing program. Yes there's need a sketch to run a "G Code excecuter" that is also included in the file.

First you'll open gcode excecuter into the "processing 3" and then run the sketch by clicking the top play button the "Gcode Excecuter" will pop up as a program. Select the port by pressing "P" on keyboard to select the port and follow the instructions.

The file also has a lots of examples to test your machine's printing. (All of the design i have shown in this instructables).

If you want to design your own Gcode image. You can design it using an application InkScape etc.

In inkscape you'll need to install G-Code extension in order to save files as *.Gcode

There are many tutorial on YouTube which will help you using InkScape and exporting image with Gcode format.

Most important thing you need to keep in mind. That maximum area of your designing project should be 40mm by 40 mm.

Step 2: Take a Close Look to the Assembling.

This would help you out to develop the structure. Because your ideas and imagination will make something different and better always.

In the last picture i've tried to show you the things which are hard to be noticed. I've put some markers with titles on them. Take a look.

This is how i am lifting the pen. If you put a strong force on the bed it won't move. So, a light spring is taking the pen down. While the servo motor just lift it up.

This is the correct arrangement of pen.

I used metal strips and made them round according to the ink pipe of the pen in such a way that it can move up and down freely but has very less play (backlash). Yes, the pen must not have backlash if it have it would create disturbance in design what you can see from one of my plotted image in which the design of gear is not correct every time.

Step 3: Sample of the Designs I Did With the Plotter.

Take a look. Some are precisely done and some have problem while adjusting.

But all are done well. Little wood piece was added to create a separation in the DVD slide and the BED.

Take a look of its YouTube Video too.

Design For Kids Challenge

Participated in the
Design For Kids Challenge

Arduino Contest 2017

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2017