How to Make Mini CNC Machine




Introduction: How to Make Mini CNC Machine

About: I am an Electronics Engineer and hobbyist......I'm interested in work in robotics and automation, I make projects using Arduino and other hardware. I love to share things which I learn.

Hello all hope you are doing good. I'm here with another very cool project which you can build using some scrap/ used parts of the computer. In this Instructables I'm going to show you how you can make a mini CNC Machine at home from the old DVD Writers of the Computer and the Arduino UNO. by using this CNC machine you can draw logo and can write text also. For better understanding, you can refer this video.

Step 1:

Components Used

1- Old/ Used DVD Writers 2X ___________ (you can get these from any computer repairing/servicing shop)

2- Arduino UNO 1X ___________________ USA / INDIA

3- Servo Motor 1X ____________________ USA / INDIA

4- CNC Shield V1 (PCB)________________

5- L293D IC 2X _______________________ USA / INDIA

6- A piece of Aluminium ________________ From local store

7- M5x25mm Nuts & Bolts ______________ From local store

8- flaxible Wires_______________________ From local store

Step 2:

let's start.

Open both DVD Writer and remove the lens driving assembly as shown in the pictures. this assembly has two motors one is bipolar stepper motor to drive read/write head and another is a BLDC motor to spin the Disk. remove the disk driving motor since we don't need this motor. we are going to play with the stepper motor in this project. solder wires to the 4 points of the stepper motor. solder wires to both motors.

Step 3:

Now take a 120mm long piece of L shape aluminum, mark on it for drilling holes as shown in pictures. after drilling bolt both the lens assemblies with each other by using L shape aluminum. for reference see the pictures and assemble the body as shown. in this assembly, verticle fitted stepper motor will be Y-Axis and Horizontal stepper motor will be X-Axis

Step 4:

after making body it's time to make a bed (flat surface) for placing paper on the machine. to make it I using cover of DVD writer which is made up of about 0.6mm thick sheet metal. mark a square of 70 x70 mm on it. and cut it using Angle Grinder. now put some hot glue on center part (moving part) of lens and stick the cut piece of sheet metal on it in such a way so that it can move freely. see pictures.

Step 5: Making a Pen Holder

make the pen holder as shown in pictures. to make it I cut a sliding part from another old DVD writer same as used for making X & Y axis. there is nothing more to explain about the pen holder. it's basically a z-axis of our CNC. here we are using a servo motor for up and down the pen.

Step 6:

Fix this pen assembly on the vertical axis (y-axis) of the machine. I used a piece of wood to maintain a suitable space between the y-axis and the pen holder.

Step 7:

fit Arduino on the aluminum with the help of nuts & bolts as shown in pictures. and insert CNC shield on the Arduino. the CNC shield used in this project is designed by me. you can buy PCB for this shield from . now connect x-axis stepper motor on the X-axis output of the shield and y-axis stepper motor on the Y-output of the shield. connect servo motor on the servo connector of the shield.

Step 8: Programming and Operation

Download the source code and all other required software from the given link. connect Arduino with the computer open the Arduino code from the downloaded file. select the correct COM port and board type from the tool menu and hit upload. after successfully uploading of the program open the G code Sender EXE select correct COM port after selecting COM port all options in the application will open. now click load G-code button to select your file which you want to draw.

Step 9: Fixing Problems Like Mirror Image Output

this is very common problem while making these types of machines. if you get mirror image on output, check on which axis it has mirror effect. see pictures.

Step 10: How to Make G-code ?

to draw something using this CNC machine we need the G-code. so if I want to make a drawing of a car I need to convert that car image (JPG or PNG) into G-code. to convert or make G-code of something we need Inkscape software. I provide Inkscape software in the Micro CNC Data zip. install Inkscape after installing Inkscape you need to install extension for saving G-code. to do this open the folder Inkscape-unicorn-master from Micro CNC Data zip. Copy All the contents of `src/` folder and pest them to your Inkscape `extensions/` folder.

Typical locations include:

* Windows - `C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions`

* OS X - `/Applications/`

* Linux - `/usr/share/Inkscape/extensions`

after installing all things, software is ready to make G-code

open Inkscape goto file/document property it will pop-ups a new window set all units in mm here, and set width = 40 and height=40 in size and close the window. Now drag the target image and scale down it so it will fit in the output area. now select the image goto the path tab click on trace bitmap. new window will open, select edge detection click update click ok. it will create a duplicate shape of original image. delete the original image. Now place this new image on the top right corner in such a way that the top right corner of output area will be the center of target image. select new image goto path tab click object to path again goto path tab click Dynamic Offset. now goto file/ save As, type file name select save as type = MakerBot Unicorn G-code and click save, new window will open check all the parameters and if not same set them as shown in the picture. click ok and your G-code is ready to load in G-code sender.

Step 11: Output

Hope you find this useful. if yes, like it, share it, comment your doubt. For more such projects, follow me! Support my Work and Subscribe to My Channel on YouTube.

Thank you!

STEM Contest

Participated in the
STEM Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Make It Bridge

    Make It Bridge
  • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

    Game Design: Student Design Challenge
  • For the Home Contest

    For the Home Contest


Kevin Santana
Kevin Santana

1 year ago

Hello im making this for a project at school and your CNC shield isn't on sale or isn't available anymore could you sell me one please I need this ASAP

Screenshot (47).png

1 year ago

Can we use other CNC shield which are available in amazon market

sushant kumar tiwari
sushant kumar tiwari

Question 2 years ago on Step 9

hi sir, i've made a cnc machine as shown but when i upload the g-code then it just make some scratches but does note make the drawing i dont know whats wrong? , servo snd stepper are working fine!!
please help me asap , im using af motor shield v1


Reply 2 years ago

Hi make a motor driver circuit as per the attached diagram


3 years ago

Great, man! I was looking for a simple cnc project made using recycled components and you have done a great job. Thank you for sharing it!


Reply 3 years ago

thanks man.


Reply 3 years ago

Great man.
Just a thing - please write the word "plotter" after the CNC in the title because usually people by CNC understand CNC router - that shall carve wood (or other materials like metals), also it will not be possible to attach some heavy head that can carve wood - just because it it heavy.
But that is a great mini plotter that uses Gcode like cnc routers do.
It might be useful for drawing a small parts and sending the drawing to a some manufacturer (or just a guy that uses lathe or routers to do parts). In Bulgaria for example: there a lot a people with old cars that do not find parts for the cars or even bikes and they order it to such guys with lathe or so.
You perhaps can sell those :)