CNC Router Part 1 - Base

About: I love electronics...

As an electronics hobbyist, I have always wanted a quick way of manufacturing PCB’s. Up until now, I have only been able to use the Iron-On-Laser-Printer-Method of creating these PCB’s, and this is a lengthy method, which takes lots of setting up and clearing away. Being a lazy person, I decided to see if I could make a CNC router to make my PCB’s for me. After designing a simple design in Fusion 360, I started building my first model, and when it was fully complete, made a few PCB’s. My first model had a few problems, the main one being it was built from wood, which warps quite badly. It was also quite a chunky unit which didn’t look very professional. So, I designed a nicer neater unit, which incorporates better design ideas, and hopefully overcomes the faults of my older design. My new design incorporates these Design requirements.

Design Plan:

  • Larger bed size, for other materials. E.g. wood, plastics. Total of 400x450mm.
  • Larger Clearance over the bed, enabling thicker materials.
  • Sliding T-Slot Bed, enabling easy clampdown.
  • Storage of Electronics within Base of CNC router.
  • Larger spindle motor, I first used a little 775 motor, but for this model have used a 500W spindle motor.
  • Accuracy of 0.01mm. The should be possible since the threaded rod I used moves 2mm per revolution, and the stepper motors have 1.8-degree steps, 200 steps per revolution.


9x 450mm 2020 aluminum extrusion

2x 300x100x10mm aluminum block (8mm would do)

1x 1M of 30x30x3 aluminum angle.

2x 450x100x12mm plywood (I used 18mm)

1x 410x400x3mm plywood

1x 450x450x6mm plywood

4x 450x8mm steel sliding rods

2x 450x8mm steel trapezoid threaded rods

2x 200x8mm steel sliding rods

1x 200x8mm steel trapezoid threaded rods w nuts

1x kfl08 8mm pillow blocks

4x Linear bearings LM8UU with mounting blocks

2x Trapezoid anti-backlash nuts (optional)

4x Nema 17 motors

4x Nema 17 cables 2M

4x 5x8 mm flexible shaft couplers

1x 500W ER11 spindle motor w power supply

1x 3.175mm ER11 collet (for PCB work)

lots M3 x 50mm bolts

lots M3 x 6mm bolts

lots M3 Nuts

lots M4 x 8mm bolts (for t-slot connectors)

lots M4 x 12mm Pan head Bolts

lots M4 nuts

lots M4 2020 t-slot nuts


Metric Allen keys

drill (preferably a drill press)

rubber mallet


long-nose pliers

Pop - riveter

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Step 1: Building the T-Slot Bed

First, we have to build the T-slot Bed, which is the main bed which the PCB's or wood are routed onto.

This is built from 7x 450mm 2020 aluminum extrusions and 2x 400x30x30x3mm aluminum Angle. first, drill the angle according to the diagram, make it accurate, otherwise, the Z-axis will not be accurate.

Slide three extra T-slot nuts into the Center, and two outside aluminum extrusions. this is for the table backing to screw onto.

Then use the T-slot nuts and the M4x8mm bolts to screw the 2020 extrusions onto the angles as shown in the image, use a square to make it as square as possible.

Step 2: Y Axis Motor Mounts and Threaded Nut Holders

First 3D print two of both parts encluded in this step. push the M3 nuts into their respective holes, you might need some brute force ;). when this is done, the motor should be able to fit straight onto the block, then screw it on using M3x6mm bolts. when doing this, pay attention to where the cable connector is located since the two M3 nuts will be facing the top, you might want the connector facing down.

Next, push the threaded nuts into the 3D printed holders (If you are using anti-backslash nuts, you will need to drill the center of the holders with a 10-12mm drill bit, to accommodate the spring. Then thread the rod through the center, it should twist nicely, and if you are using anti-backslash, shouldn't be too stiff, cut/drill the inside out if it doesn't fit nicely...

Step 3: Y Axis Sliding and Threaded Rods

First, you need to print two of each of the parts attached below, then you need to slide two linear bearings onto each of the steel rods, make sure that you don't dig any of the minute ball bearings out of their sockets, as you will have a room full of bouncing rolling balls, and a wasted bearing. (It's not a good feeling....)

Once that's done, push the rods into the holes in the 3D printed parts until they're flush with the base. (you might need to drill them out with an 8mm drill). then bolt the pillow blocks onto the two holes in the front rod block. use a 1.27mm Allen key to tighten the threaded rod into the pillow blocks.

Step 4: Create Plywood Back & Front

Using 4mm and 25mm drills, drill the two plywood pieces according to the plans in the pictures, try to get these holes really accurate, and to get a better result, use a drill press. Then using an 8mm drill, recess the front of the 4mm holes by about 5mm deep.

Step 5: Assemble Front/rear Panels

put 3mm screws through the respective holes in the front and back wooden panels. bolt the aluminum angle to the wooden panels, and tighten them up. IT is vitally important to use an accurate measurement to make sure it is square...

Then drill 9 holes into the table backing, and then bolt it to the table using the 3 T-Nuts that you inserted in step 1.

Step 6: Assemble Sliding Rod Modules

Push the sliding rod modules that were created in step 2 between the wooden panels, use 6 M4 bolts for each sliding module. then use 2 M3*50mm bolts and put them through the remaining holes. Then push the motor mounts over the 2 bolts, and screw them into the embedded nuts. then tighten up the shaft couplers.

Step 7: Assembling the Base Supports

Make some brackets from the spare 30*30 aluminum angle, and pop rivet it to the 25.4mm aluminum extrusion. then drill a pilot hole, to screw the supports to the front and back panel.

That's the base done!!!!!!

look for the next tutorial to see how to assemble the X-axis...

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