High Precision Cardboard CNC Drawing Machine




Introduction: High Precision Cardboard CNC Drawing Machine

fter achieving decent accuracy with the 2-Axis Cardboard CNC machine, it gave me the confidence to make the 3-Axis CNC machine with the cardboard. Here are some of my design considerations when designing this machine.
  • No Glue
  • Modular design elements / cut outs
  • Reconfigurable, you can make the bed/stage larger or smaller
  • Press fit construction
  • You can use different materials other than cardboard by changing the press fit slots based on the thickness of the material.
  • Easy to disassemble and reassemble. Easy to repair
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCiR1lHWCsA DSC04624-k Here is the physical output overlaying the SVG file. compareson

Step 1: Materials

To build the Cardboard CNC machine you will need.

Material & Hardware

  1. One sheet of Corrugated cardboard, at lease 36" X 24"  (200 lb. test - General Purpose.) http://www.uline.com/BL_1851/Large-Corrugated-Pads  $1.11
  2. 3 Lead Scews 3X T8 L300mm 8mm Lead 4 Start Lead Screw and Nut https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PXIEK50/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 $37.05
  3. 6 Linear Motion Ball Bearing (Buy 2 pack of 4) 2X BQLZR SCS8UU Linear Motion Ball Bearing CNC Slide Bushing 34.5mm Length Pack Of 4 https://www.amazon.com/BQLZR-SCS8UU-Linear-Bearing-Bushing/dp/B00IJ67BJA $13.96
  4. 5 Linear Motion 8 mm Shaft (the Z-Axis only needs one shaft, because we are cutting it in half ) 5 X Linear Motion 8 mm Shaft, 330 mm Length, Chrome Plated, Case Hardened, Metric https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0045DUX5A/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 $61.95
  5. 3 X Shaft Coupler  5mm to 8mm, I used the more expensive one, but there are cheaper ones out there 2 X 2 PCS Flexible Couplings 5mm to 8mm NEMA 17 Shaft for RepRap 3D Printer https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010MZ8T2S?psc=1&smid=A2YI8XQU239Q2W $14.43 or 3X Enpoint™ CNC Motor Encoder Curved Jaw Coupling 5x8mm 25x30mm Jaw Clamp Style Shaft Coupler with Aluminum Jaw Coupling Hubs and PU Elastomer Spider for Servo Motors https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016F4562G/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 $48.15
  6. 3 Nema 17 Stepper Motors 3PCS 45Ncm Nema 17 Stepper Motor 2A 4-wire 1m Cable for DIY 3D Printer CNC Robot https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y2HGJV6/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 $40.95
  7. 6 of 8mm x 19mm x 6mm Sealed Deep Groove Radial Ball Bearings uxcell 8mm x 19mm x 6mm Sealed Deep Groove Radial Ball Bearings 698Z 10 Pcs https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K86F646/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  8. M3 and M4 Screws, M3 Nut and M3 Stop Nut. http://amzn.to/29N314mhttp://amzn.to/29W7CMWhttp://amzn.to/29W7DAuhttp://amzn.to/29V4R4Bhttp://amzn.to/2a1GaRBhttp://amzn.to/2avW70E
  9. TinyG or any other Stepper Motor Controller I like TinyG because it's easy to setup and it has on board easing. https://www.adafruit.com/products/1749 $129.99
  10. Power Supply Adapter for Tiny G https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LUIKY4S/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 $18.99

Step 2: Software + Tools



Install Serial Port JSON Server (Instructions are all in the Chilipeppr)

For Mac users, In terminal type in the following to start serial-port-json-server /Users/dan/Downloads/serial-port-json-server_macosx_v1.80/serial-port-json-server ; exit;

Machine Access / Tools

  1. Abrasive saw or jewelers saw This is for cutting the 8mm Linear Motion Shaft and lead screw
  2. Laser Cutter Tip: use 80 to 90% dpi or laser frequency so that the cardboard won't burn as much
  3. 3D Printer 3D printer is used to produce the coupler that connects the lead screw and the platform. Download the STL file below.

Step 3:

Design Files / Cut file

Step 4: Assembling

This is mostly press fit construction, the trick is to put the parts in without bending the cardboard. Press the pieces in by leveraging large uncut areas. The cardboard should fit just right, it should not be lose at all.

Most of the mounting holes are fastened by M3 nuts and bolts. Use the M4 bolts for the linear Motion Ball Bearing to connect the bed surface.



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    18 Discussions


    8 months ago

    Cnc makinesinin pdf dosyalarını erdag_arif@hotmail.com gönderebilir misin?


    8 months ago

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

    i have a laser cut machine, so... i will try mdf 6mm and my dremel

    Excellent Cardboard work!!!!

    I have a question: When you are using the drawing machine, Do not bend the cardboards to the movement of the axes?

    Congratulation!!!! ; D


    2 years ago

    Hi All, I will do something same, but from metal and at least 5mm wood, price will be slightly different, but I think, it will be till 500usd...

    While I agree that it can be considered expensive to re-create, technically it is a great project and the Instructable contains methods and techniques that can be re-applied in other ways. Also as johandejong said, with some adapting you've got yourself a CNC mill or router. Plus the components can always be rebuilt into another project in the future as well, great build and thanks for sharing.


    tebikler,acaba banada bir tane yaparmısınız ücreti karşılığında

    very smart use of materials. I am inspired by the use of cardboard. And if the project needs to be stouter, why not upgrade to 3 or 5 mm Baltic birch. It's also amazing what can be done with 8 mm ballscrews and NEMA 17 stepper. Bravo!! Lots of good ideas presented.


    2 years ago

    Nice work,

    how did you laser the cardboard ?

    Do you have a lasercutter and wich one?


    I think it's a good project, might be expensive, but if you replace the pencil for a milling tool, you can make youre own PCB for instance.

    From the view of technic, i believe it's a very good starting point from were you can adapt your own needs. !!

    ¿Y esto es todo? ¿que hay del software para los dibujos, como se conectan los motores, como se conecta el TinyG, que archivos puedes imprimir?. En fin un autentico desastre este Instructable, si es que se le puede llamar asi.

    Another "machine" that you already need a real machine (cnc or laser or 3d) to build it? No, thanks. We are tired of that.

    I'm with the people who say it's too expensive, as I don't yet see a need for it as is. But...there are several parts to this and I might adapt one or more of them to something I do need. That's the benefit of having these things on Instructables.

    Another side of me remembers the benefits of designing and building something complex and learning as I go to make the whole system work. That can be a tremendous accomplishment.

    Very nice project.. but way too expensive for me

    1 reply

    Same here. I don't know why you would expend more than $300 on pieces and then use cardboard for the body. If you have that much money to spend you could use at least acrylic or MDF.

    Awesome project, tho.

    One of the most amazing things I have seen on instructables! -so cool


    2 years ago

    TinyG controller is very expensive, is something same with better price?

    1 reply

    The Arduino CNC shield is cheaper. The TinyG is expensive but it does pretty good acceleration and deceleration control in hardware.