Introduction: Dremel Carver/Duplicator Like a Human Powered CNC Router

About: I'm an Industrial Designer working for Tom Vincent. I have been really interested in the green movement for a long time, and have been trying to live greener. I've been reading hundreds of these instructables …
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!

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.

Step 2: Rev 1.1 - Materials

You may have asked yourself, does this work?

And the answer is that it's a work in progress.

The biggest problem was that I used a hand drill because I did not have drill press. All of the holes were crooked and none of the axes aligned. So would this work if you had a drill press? Maybe, but I think you would still need to come up with an ingenious to increase the performance of the sliding axes. This may be achieved by adding ball bearings or using UHMDPE plastic.

At any rate I am going to include the printouts and construction documents in case you want build/modify this design. If you build one or have any suggestions please email me and/or attach a picture.

You can fast-forward to Rev 1.2 to see a working prototype if you like.

Rev. 1.1

+ (1) Dremel
+ (1) Phillips screw driver to be used as a Stylus
+ 20ft of 1x2 hemlock (mdf or plywood may be better because it will be less affected my expansion and contraction of natural wood)
+ 5' 11 3/8 of .5 Stainless steel pipe (electrical conduit would be fine)
+ (1)  3/4" or smaller pipe clamp ($0.79Hardware Sales)
+ (1) 1.25" pipe clamp ($1.29 Hardware Sales)
+ (1) 2.5-3" pipe clamp ($1.29Hardware Sales)
+ (16) 2.5" wood screws
+ (34) 1.5" wood screws
+ (7) .5" wood screws
+ (6) 8-32 x 1" screws (this is to lock the Dremel and stylus in place.)

Useful Tools:
+Safety glasses and ear plugs: Safetly First, attempt project at your own risk! I will not be held liable for any injury, medical expense or death as a result of think about, building or using the project once completed.''

+ Hand drill
+ Miter Saw (hand saw could also be used)
+ Drill press
+ Pipe cutter
+ Various drill bits including 1/8, 1/4, .5 or slightly larger
+ Tape measure
+ Ruler
+ Router bits for a Dremel

Step 3: Rev. 1.1 - CAD Model

I'm not an engineer, so this is a work in progress.

Step 4: Rev. 1.1 - Wood Pieces

I used 1x2's because its inexpensive and relative uniform. The materials will be updated soon, I'm working out a few bugs.

Step 5: Rev 1.1 - Metal Pieces

Metal pipes lengths:

Step 6: Rev 1.2

Finally some success! As you can tell from the videos, all of the axes are working properly.

Now I just need to work on the accuracy. The x axis (left and right motion) is quite choppy at the moment. Im going make the arm the entire length of the vertical support so that it can only move up and down. The new x axis will be the pipe that the Dremel is attached to. Another improvement will be the addition of skate board bearings on the rails which should improve tool fluency. So stay tuned!

Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest

Participated in the
Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest