$100 Zen Garden CNC Table Powered by Arduino




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!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

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.
Woodworking Contest

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Sculpting Challenge

      Sculpting Challenge
    • 3D Printed Contest

      3D Printed Contest
    • Motor Vehicle Contest

      Motor Vehicle Contest



    10 months ago

    Such a cool idea. Nice work!