DIY CNC for Less of 160€ With Arduino




Introduction: DIY CNC for Less of 160€ With Arduino

About: I'm always with some project, some of them works and others smokes(joking) I'm Electronic System Engineer.

Hi everyone.

I consider that CNC machines are useful tools which allow you to make high precision things that handmade would be way difficult. So a year ago, my father and I started this project in order to built a CNC as cheaper as possible, also with enough precision to "print" a PCB. This is the result.

It've been developed with simple electrical tools, i think the most complex instrument I used was a pillar drill.

This machine is based on Arduino with GRBL firmware and it's compatible with Easel, an awesome tool from Inventables that let you design easily and fast a project for CNC.

So let's get started.

Step 1: Bill of Material

I've bought most of the things in Banggood. Although you can find the same materials with a lower price on another places on the internet, like Ebay.

You might also find in the Excel file more detailes about the billl: the quantity of things, or some kind of especification.

In the first photo, you can see four Lead Screw, but finally it's only neccesary three.

In this project, the shield that i used it's a own design, I explain later, in the electrical step but if you don't have experience making PCB, I recommend you to buy a shield compatible with GRBL like this one:

Step 2: BluePrint

These blueprints can be opened with Autocad or any DWG viewer.

The first file is a 2D blueprint of MDF parts of the machine which shows the distance beetween the drill holes. All the drill holes are 8 mm diametre.

The second file is a 3D model of the machine. In order to know where is the parts.

Step 3: Building

I've uploaded a few images of the building process. I recommend constructing it in the order that the images appear, Due to the fact that I think it's the easiest way to build it.

In the blueprints I didn't show any screw holes, because after I built it, I thought it was better to use hot glue or Pattex Power Lijm than glue bearings to the structure.

I believe it's a better way, because it's easier to use and the structure goes to their natural place.

Step 4: Shield ,wires and Motors

In this machine, I have put a shield that I designed by myself. It has some special features like a port for heigh probe and cooler. But also you can buy a commercial one, just like I've put on the bill of materials.

The only necessary:

  • Arduino(Uno or Nano ).
  • 3 Drivers A4988.
  • 3 Motors Nema 17
  • 12v 5A voltage supply(the machine needs around 2.5A
  • A lot of wire.(well around 5 mtr will be enough)

Basically, the wire connection is like in the diagram from the last imagen but with three motors.

I recommend using tubes for wire and clips to have organised the wires, because sometimes It can be a little difficult to know where does the wires come from.

Step 5: Configuration.

GRBL is a firmware developed for the community and It's quite easy to use and upload t. I use GRBL 0.9i but there are newer versions

This is a quite good tutorial Use GRBL Arduino.

Or you can see the videos that there are in Spanish, but it's easily understandable.

Once you have finished the configuration for this machine, you should configurate the parametres of the file.

Step 6: Software to Use

Once everything it's ok, it's time to do something but you will need some software.

I used basically two software.

Universal GCodeSender(Stable version Better): This is a free-Software that permits you:

  • Manual Control
  • Compatible with GRBL
  • Use G-Code.
  • G-Code Viewer.
  • Special funtion as cooler, height probe.
  • High Frequency of updates

Easel:A inventable tool for design and "print" projects.

  • Easy to use.
  • Compatible with GRBL
  • Let you design in the app
  • Frequently update
  • A lot of tools for design special things like boxes, puzzle...
  • Internet needed

Step 7: Results

At the end, I'll show you some finish projects that have been done with this machine.

(In order of photograh)

  • PCB
  • Elevator for laptop
  • A gift for my dog
  • A mix of things

And a few videos while it's working.

That's all, I hope you like this project if you have any question, please ask.

If you like this instructable please VOTE FOR CNC CARBIDE CONTEST



  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest
  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest

43 Discussions

Hi, It is look great.

How ever, If change X and Y 6 T8 nuts to 6T12 Nuts is better. It make stronger. Keep Z 2T8 nuts. I just finished ones following your instruction guider. I used Arduino Uno V3.

Thank you.

In step 3 the long side of the 36.5x11 cm piece seems to be longer than the short side of plate but according to the measurements that you gave in step 2 long side of 36.5x11 cm and short side of 36.5x44 cm are equal. This leads to the problem that we can not attach the L shaped piece to linear motion ball bearing placed on the stick.

Hey Juan great project,

I am beginner but I would like to realize this CNC machine, could you please tell me which program I have to upload in my arduino and do you have some global electrical schema

thank for your help


8 months ago

Harika görünüyor! Lütfen yapım verilerini bana(pdf ) e-posta ile gönderin. Buna benzer birini yapmak isterim.

hey great project.And Good tutorial.I have also built a CNC machine using Threaded rods and unipolar stepper motors as bipolar but it is not working. I Don't know what's going wrong. Even I have applied microstep settings. But it is still not working. Can you give me you WhatsApp no. I will video call you and show you my problem. I am not getting anything. Please do share your number I needed to solve my problem as soon as possible because I have to this project at my college and it's date is 1st may 2017. please help me.

1 reply

Please tell about the stepper motor, driver and other kit


1 year ago

this instructables is personally very messed up with dimension errors and overall instructions. I would have rather bought a CNC kit from Banggood for a little more money.

1 reply

What kind of error does it have? I will start to do this CNC project and if you know any detail, I am ready to listen

Can you give more details abour your wires how assemble them? there are few pics about it and it is not clear.
About the MDF thickness, you said you used 10mm but not all the pieces look like 10mm. Can give more detail about it?

And also, what is that wood in the Z-axis that connects threaded rod? Why did you make that?


1 year ago

Would it also be possible as I want to build one if you could make it more clear what the electrical supply (not the power supply) is used for and the 3 mtr metal as well? Also, what is the box meant for on the side of the machine?


1 year ago

Is the 3D model made to scale? If so, what are the thicknesses of the wooden parts? I was looking at the model and the parts look like different thicknesses, but I didn't know.

Great Job Juan, and thank you for sharing the project with everybody,

i m intending to build this CNC, for a beagining could you tell me why when im clicking on link for steper motors it redirects me to bangood which steper motors rated voltage is 3.1 Volts and you are using 12 Volt power supply,

and second you didnt post any link for 8mm linear shafts and where to buy them.

And allso is the schematics for filters you have builded is it an eagle pcb file.

Very best regards.

2 replies

Thank you!
-About the motors, don't worry it works with 12V. The specification of this motor say that if you run at 3.1v you'll need around 1.7A to move at the torque of the specification, but if you run at 12V you'll have the same torque but with a fraction of the current.

-And about the linear shaft, I didn't post any link because I bought in a local store, due to are way cheaper than online, but you need to cut it.

Sorry for taking so long for answer your questions.

Thank you for your detailed answer. I wish you more projects and succses.

I think if you change the location of the bottom axis to the middle you will get better results!

Por cierto que tipo de fresas usas, cuales me recomiendas?.

1 reply

Bueno, hay unas que considero basicas, que serían estas:
Drill Bit Tungsten.

Si se configura correctamente los parametros del material, estas fresas sirve para una gran cantidad de materiales, yo las he usado esas precisamente en metracrilato y varios tipos de maderas y dan unos resultados muy buenos.

Aunque cuando ya se tiene un poco de experiencia, es mejor utilizar fresas especificas para el trabajo que se quiere realizar. En esta pagina puedes encontrar para cada material especifico:

Inventables: Carving Bits

Awesome job! Looking forward to an aluminum version when you get the time/materials. :)