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aaron hero
11-15-2007, 4:32 PM
I am building a small 3 axis cnc router and I am looking for ideas.
I will be using linear bearings running on aluminum angle for all three axis.
I have all the bearings and aluminum, just deciding what material to build the machine out of, MDF, aluminum, plastic. any other suggetions?
Aaron

Dave Carpentier
11-15-2007, 6:51 PM
I constructed a MDF based CNC router about a year ago. You can view it at http://cnc.hobby-site.com. Check out CNCZone at http://www.cnczone.com for lots of information on all aspects of CNC. Good luck on your build!
BTW, this is my first post here at Sawcreek! :)

Dennis Ford
11-15-2007, 10:54 PM
Hi Aaron;
I built one a little over one year ago. It used roller skate bearings running on aluminum channel and skate bearings running on some heavy chromed steel tube. This was material I had already. I later replaced the skate bearings and aluminum channel with delrin plastic sliding on stainless tubing. The skate bearings gave me more speed but were not as rigid (this was mostly due to mounting issues). My suggestion is to build the machine from the most rigid material that you can cut accurately (depends on your tooling and skills).


I am building a small 3 axis cnc router and I am looking for ideas.
I will be using linear bearings running on aluminum angle for all three axis.
I have all the bearings and aluminum, just deciding what material to build the machine out of, MDF, aluminum, plastic. any other suggetions?
Aaron

Steve knight
11-16-2007, 3:59 AM
I only built my table I bought the shopbot. but this may give you idea's.
http://s154.photobucket.com/albums/s266/knighttoolworks/

aaron hero
11-16-2007, 10:56 PM
I got started today, I had a sheet of 3/4 particle board so I decided to use it,
It is pretty smooth moving, no play at all.
I will build a larger one if this one works out. Aaron
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/aaronhero/CNC1stday001.jpg

Greg Cuetara
11-17-2007, 2:26 PM
If you build a smaller one built check out Joe's 2006 Model over at the cnczone. All the plans are free and if you have one already it makes it much easier to cut all the pieces. It has a 2'x4' bed and he is currently working on a newer model which is basically the same as the shopbot (it has a 4'x4' bed) but at around 1/5th the price. I have found the electronics, computer, software are the most expensive pieces so far. I have yet to start my build but hopefully soon. Good Luck.
Greg

Mike Golka
11-19-2007, 1:40 PM
I built mine about 3 years ago. It is all steel construction and uses rollerblade bearings. The effective cuting surface is 24" x 36". I made my own drivers based on a plan I found on the net. It runs the stepper motors in bipolar mode, more torque that way. My motors are too small for the size of machine and leadscrew design so speeds are limited to around 30 IPM for consistent results without lost steps.

Bernhard Lampert
11-21-2007, 10:21 AM
I have started to build a CNC router:
4'x8' cutting area, open loop stepper motors controlled by Mach3,
Looked for a long time for a workable and affordable design. Imho, there are only 2 designs out there that are actually proven and work:
-MechMate (mechmate.com); design based loosely on the Shopbot, site allows free download of plans after registring, has a very good forum.
-MadVac (http://oneoceankayaks.com/madvac/madvac_index.htm#objectiveanch)
Excellent blog of building a phenomenal machine. Machine uses ball screws and linear bearings (expensive!).
Both sites give excellent and detailed advise. A third source is cnczone.com
My router built will be similar to the madvac, but with rack and pinion drive and either Igus drylin or Vee-wheel bearings (such as the Mechmate) for axes movement.

Conceptually, it is rather straightforward to build. My main concerns are:
-sourcing of suitable rails for axis movement
-sourcing or manufacturing of absolutely straight and true support for the rails
-limited background in electronics

I have a pretty well equipped shop for metal working (plasma, mig, stick, band, abrasive-, cut-off saws, lathe, mill, etc) so it should be possible. And if it doesn't work out.... scrap metal prices are at an all time high!

Cheers,
Bernhard

.

Richard McMahon
11-28-2007, 7:17 AM
Hi Bernard,
Don't worry too much about your limited knowledge in electronics as most of the controllers now are just about plug and play. I like the Xylotex boards and the gecko drives. Just think that all you really need is a transformer then a bridge rectifier then a large capacitor then a fuse then the drive. From the computer you have a parallel cable connected to a breakout board then to the drives. From the drives to the motors with a shielded cable.
My laser uses flat 4 core cable to the steppers but is not shielded and works fine (but they aren't running next to a 240 volt cable for a router).
I like the CNC4PC.com C10 breakout board as it is very cheap and works well, also.
Once you put it all together, just check all the wiring a second time then off you go. It really is relatively easy if you can solder and have a multimeter .
I hope your build goes well.
I used acme screws with polyacetal nuts for my first build and ball screws for my second build and belt drive for my 3rd build and would have to say for a router, next time I make one, it will be with V guides and belt drive. SO much easier and no worries of contamination and is just as accurate and the rapids are a lot faster too.
The worst drive was the ball screws as they contaminated way too easily and were much harder to set up due to the needed accuracy in alignment. I will pull that machine down one day and drive it with belts. A lot less headaches and I can get on with what I like doing most......making sawdust and smoke :-)
best wishes
Richard.

Bernhard Lampert
11-28-2007, 7:58 PM
Hi Bernard,
Don't worry too much about your limited knowledge in electronics as most of the controllers now are just about plug and play. I like the Xylotex boards and the gecko drives. Just think that all you really need is a transformer then a bridge rectifier then a large capacitor then a fuse then the drive. From the computer you have a parallel cable connected to a breakout board then to the drives. From the drives to the motors with a shielded cable.
My laser uses flat 4 core cable to the steppers but is not shielded and works fine (but they aren't running next to a 240 volt cable for a router).
I like the CNC4PC.com C10 breakout board as it is very cheap and works well, also.
Once you put it all together, just check all the wiring a second time then off you go. It really is relatively easy if you can solder and have a multimeter .
I hope your build goes well.
I used acme screws with polyacetal nuts for my first build and ball screws for my second build and belt drive for my 3rd build and would have to say for a router, next time I make one, it will be with V guides and belt drive. SO much easier and no worries of contamination and is just as accurate and the rapids are a lot faster too.
The worst drive was the ball screws as they contaminated way too easily and were much harder to set up due to the needed accuracy in alignment. I will pull that machine down one day and drive it with belts. A lot less headaches and I can get on with what I like doing most......making sawdust and smoke :-)
best wishes
Richard.


Richard,

Thanks for the 'heads -up'. Good to know that there are othe r people out there that had successfully build a router.
I plan to use rack and pinion to drive the axis: inexpensive, proven concept, low backlash and suitable for dusty environment. As for linear ways, I am thinking about using IGUS Drylin ways. It is a pretty neat concept and they are quite affordable. I also found a local grinding shop that can grind the support beams for the axis up to 11' long!
Back to the electronics, starting to read Horowitz and Hill, The Art of Electronics. After being out of school for 20+ years, it is pretty hard to read a textbook. I also stumbled on series of 3 excellent books that describe in detail the design, build and operation of a CNC router.

You don't happen to live in North Carolina or Virginia by any chance? I would love to see your creations. To take an actual look at a machine is vastly more informative that reading all the books.

Cheers,
Bernhard

Ron Johnson
11-28-2007, 10:03 PM
I made my 1st one about 5 months ago. On my 2nd one a month ago. Want to sell the 1st one when the new one is completed. I used Aluminum & Tooling Plastics. I'll insert a pic. Its a 4 axis with 495 oz-in stepper motors. Its so strong that it will snap a 1/4" carbite bit if you forget to turn the router on. How dumb can I be. I use it for wood projects, but it does cut Aluminum quite well. Anyone interested in it email me. Spokane area only.

Ron

Dennis Parrott
11-30-2007, 12:10 PM
Hi guys,

My first post here at SMC!

I just finished building a CNC router for my woodworking shop. I've spent the last year gathering information and started construction about three months ago. I welded the table frame and gantry frame from 2 x 2 mild steel tubing and used the skate bearing method for the x-axis. The y and z axis used sealed linear bearings. All three run on precision 5/8" drill rod. Most of the support structure - gantry, motor mounts, etc. are milled from 6061 aluminum of varying thicknesses. I had a manual milling machine that I converted to CNC about a year ago and used that to make the parts for the CNC router. The working envelope is fairly small - about 21" x 23" and uses a Porter Cable 3-1/4 hp router for the spindle. I built my own controller using a Keling power supply, Campbell break-out board and Gecko 203v drivers. All are housed in an old computer case with a large fan to keep everything cool. Kudos to CNC Zone for all the great info posted there. You can't go wrong by learning everything you can from that site. I'll echo the comments from others here who say that if you're going to build a CNC, make it from the strongest material your budget will allow - you won't regret it. All in all, I've probably got $2,500.00 invested in mine but it will hopefully last for many years! Good luck with yours!

Dennis

P.S. I can post pics if anyone is interested.

Bernhard Lampert
12-01-2007, 10:27 AM
Hi guys,

My first post here at SMC!

I just finished building a CNC router for my woodworking shop. I've spent the last year gathering information and started construction about three months ago. I welded the table frame and gantry frame from 2 x 2 mild steel tubing and used the skate bearing method for the x-axis. The y and z axis used sealed linear bearings. All three run on precision 5/8" drill rod. Most of the support structure - gantry, motor mounts, etc. are milled from 6061 aluminum of varying thicknesses. I had a manual milling machine that I converted to CNC about a year ago and used that to make the parts for the CNC router. The working envelope is fairly small - about 21" x 23" and uses a Porter Cable 3-1/4 hp router for the spindle. I built my own controller using a Keling power supply, Campbell break-out board and Gecko 203v drivers. All are housed in an old computer case with a large fan to keep everything cool. Kudos to CNC Zone for all the great info posted there. You can't go wrong by learning everything you can from that site. I'll echo the comments from others here who say that if you're going to build a CNC, make it from the strongest material your budget will allow - you won't regret it. All in all, I've probably got $2,500.00 invested in mine but it will hopefully last for many years! Good luck with yours!

Dennis

P.S. I can post pics if anyone is interested.

Dennis,
YES, I like to see some pics. Also, may I contact you via pm to get some info on the manual mill conversion? I have a Webb 2VH mill (brigdeport clone) that I like to convert primarily to make the parts for cnc router.
BTW Gecko has their 203V drivers on sale from Dec-15.

Cheers,
Bernhard

Robert Wachala
12-05-2007, 2:20 PM
Hello everyone,

I was just curious on the costs of building your own CNC. I've seen a couple on youtube but I never see anyone mention costs. The actual table looks fairly easy to setup but I would assume the costs would really come in with software and interface needed for the computer/router.

Ron Johnson
12-05-2007, 2:44 PM
A complete CNC machine with software can cost from $1000.00 to whatever you can afford.

I have 2 36" x 24" 4 axis machines I built for $1200.00 each.

Ron

Dennis Parrott
12-06-2007, 10:05 AM
Bernhard,

If you want to contact me that's fine. I'll try to give you as much info as I can.

With regards to the pictures, I do have some that I wanted to post here but when I try to upload them, it says that the file is too big. These photos are from my digital camera and are about 600KB in size. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what I can do to upload these pics? Thanks.

Dennis

Wayne Morley
12-06-2007, 2:37 PM
Bernhard,

If you want to contact me that's fine. I'll try to give you as much info as I can.

With regards to the pictures, I do have some that I wanted to post here but when I try to upload them, it says that the file is too big. These photos are from my digital camera and are about 600KB in size. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what I can do to upload these pics? Thanks.

Dennis

Dennis


Regarding you photos, there are several options available. The most direct thing to do is to edit your photo to a smaller size and then upload the resized image to the forum. Most digital cameras come with some rudimentary photo editing software that will allow you to do this. If you don’t have any software that will work, you can download a free program called Irfanview from this web site http://www.irfanview.com/ it is mostly used for viewing images, but has some editing capabilities that will allow you to resize your photos (I like this program and use it often).


Another option is to upload your images to an image hosting website and then post a link to the photos here in the forum. There are numerous options for image hosting, but two that I like are http://www.imagevenue.com/ and http://imageshack.us/ they are both simple to use and don’t require you to register. Both of them have the option to resize your images if you want. After your image is uploaded to the hosting site they give you a link to the photo that you can use view it.

The image below is just a random photo that I have of my workbench. It is hosted on imagevenue. I used the link that they provided for “a clickable thumbnail on a Forum or Message Board”. I just copied this link and pasted into the editing pane here on the forum.


http://img209.imagevenue.com/loc556/th_65157_Bench_in_my_shop_122_556lo.jpg (http://img209.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=65157_Bench_in_my_shop_122_556lo.jpg )

Bernhard Lampert
12-07-2007, 11:33 AM
Bernhard,

If you want to contact me that's fine. I'll try to give you as much info as I can.

With regards to the pictures, I do have some that I wanted to post here but when I try to upload them, it says that the file is too big. These photos are from my digital camera and are about 600KB in size. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what I can do to upload these pics? Thanks.

Dennis


Dennis,
Thank you. wil send a pm shortly.
Cheers,
Bernhard

Bernhard Lampert
12-07-2007, 1:10 PM
Hello everyone,

I was just curious on the costs of building your own CNC. I've seen a couple on youtube but I never see anyone mention costs. The actual table looks fairly easy to setup but I would assume the costs would really come in with software and interface needed for the computer/router.

Actually, I found that the largest single line item are the linear ways. I want to build a machine capable of 0.05 mm resolution with 0.1mm precision and accuracy (yes I know, these are lofty goals) and being able to cut full sheets. Linear ways to cover that span will cost about 1500 for the x axis.
Second most expensive parts: drivers and stepper motors. All in all I plan to spend about $5000. This figure doesn't include ood and ends I accumulated in the shop (extra PC, steel, electronic stuff).
As for the interface and machine software, that is actually pretty inexpensive. Mach3 runs about $160, machine interface I am building from scratch.
Just a comment on the table. Table design and build method is critical. Just welding something together will not work to any degree of accuracy and precision due to the distortion and stress introduced by the weld heat. Simply bolting is together doesn't work either, since regular mild steel is not all that flat and the actual bearing surfaces of each connection may be less than 10%.
Anyway, it is also fun to build it!
Cheers,
Bernhard

Dennis Parrott
12-12-2007, 1:32 PM
Wayne,

Thanks for the info. I re-sized the pics with Irfanview. I hope this works!

Dennis

Skip Williams
12-14-2007, 9:46 AM
Aaron,

I am building one based on that same design. Its a very low investment just to get started and have an entry level cnc. If it works<g>, I will consider building a larger model such as Joe's 2006.

Skip

Mike Kelly
01-27-2008, 11:40 AM
I made a small 16" x 16" x 6" CNC in 1985. It was limited, but useful for small projects. I have it mothballed now that I have a small ShopBot.

Look through this link to see some pictures: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=13974

Steveo O'Banion
02-01-2008, 3:38 PM
I am building a small 3 axis cnc router and I am looking for ideas.
I will be using linear bearings running on aluminum angle for all three axis.
I have all the bearings and aluminum, just deciding what material to build the machine out of, MDF, aluminum, plastic. any other suggetions?
Aaron

Our robotics teacher just built one out of MDF board. Old steppers from inkjet printers move a dremel tool. The bearings are shower door rollers with the bar pulled off of a cheap set of F clamps and drawer slides are used to control the tables long axis.

Richard McMahon
06-17-2008, 10:48 AM
I have a couple of routers with 2 finished an 1 in disarray and 1/2 built and also a laser engraver using a 30 watt ULSinc. cartridge.
1 is a small router I used to test a design concept of size 17 steppers to see if they were powerful enough (yes they are) and also a 3 phase DC model motor from ATI that spins at 7000 revs. No where near enough speed but it does work. I plan on building my own motor at a later date that will do 22K revs which will be much better.
Rich.
Here is the link to all my vids.

http://www.youtube.com/user/baccus61

Mike Kelly
06-18-2008, 8:34 PM
Here is a fancy one that is rather expensive, but really neat!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quN37YskoaM

Jack Coats
07-29-2008, 11:21 AM
http://buildyourcnc.com (http://www.buildyourowncnc.com) ( BYOCNC ) has an interesting MDF gantry design.

This guy built and documented on the web an MDF gantry design, then
designed a 'new' version that he used the initial build machine to make.
It is basically the same machine on a bit cleaner and expandable.

I am currently doing a HobbyCNC desktop rig, still trying to get EMC2 set
up right on it, but I am thinking about doing a larger design based on the
BYOCNC design, or preferably on the http://www.mechmate.com
design.

If I had the nickles, just getting a shopbot would be my preferred way to go.
But without having a 'specific' goal in mind, it is hard to convince the wife! :D

The BYOCNC design does use bearings, but using them running against
angle rather than pipe like many designs do. This seems to allow for longer distances
without deflection, because the angle is supported by MDF on edge, turning it into
something like an I-beam for stiffness. (Not really an i-beam because the angle is not
in tension, but look at the pages and you will get the point).

This guy is building it IN his apartment with wife and baby. ... Boy he has an understanding wife! My hat is off to her!

Oh yes, he does sell his pre-done MDF as a kit and other component parts for pretty reasonable prices, IMHO.
... I have no connection to him other than an admiring web reader.

Rob Wright
07-29-2008, 6:15 PM
I was unable to get the link to direct to an actual website for the BYOCNC listed by Jack.

I was waiting to post this until It was complete, but this thread popping up again has given me a reason to post my new machine that is under construction. It is at 95% right now. I am waiting for my Gecko's to show up. It is a 49"x49" cutting area, over all size 6'x6' foot print. Dual lead-screw, 1/2" 5 start acme with 2 turns per inch. I have a small xylotex 270 oz-in 3 axis stepper system hooked up right now and I can rapid easily at 300 ipm. My new Gecko system should be able to cut at that speed.

It is made of 8020 extrusion from the Ebay store, flange bearings, delrin ant-backlash nuts, HDPE, a little MDF and electrical unit-strut. motion is on v-groove bearings top and bottom. This is steps above an MDF machine and not much lower than a Shopbot standard for 1/3 of the cost. I will be running a 2.25 hp router as a spindle. For a hobbiest - this will kick the butt of my older MDF/BB 22"x34" machine that cut at 10ipm and be a lot more accurate.

I will post more after the control is installed around 8/15:)

- Rob

Jack Coats
07-29-2008, 6:46 PM
http://buildyourcnc.com ... Sorry, this is the correct URL for the BYOCNC link! :o

Your 2020 rig looks great!