I'm completely new to diy cnc.

(Nick Bencriscutto) #1

I’m completely new to diy cnc. I’m looking for an excellent resource on a step by step, how to build your own CNC machine. Has anyone followed a guide like this or authored one? If so please share it.


(Dat Chu) #2


(Kyle Kerr) #3

Do you want a toy you can learn with and if it crashes fixing will be inexpensive, or, are you after some more serious hardware?

(Nick Bencriscutto) #4

Initially I want something inexpensive to learn with and potentially produce low quantity so cost would be a factor, but then I want to build something that I can reliable mass produce. (cost pending) I really cant spend 10k on this, What initially peaked my interested was the 5 axis CNC kickstarter project, but at 5k thats still to expensive for my pocket book. I’m a DIYer I think I can make it MUCH cheaper than 5k Ideally in the 500$ range would be sufficient. I figure the most expensive part would be the actual drilling tool. (if thats the right name for it)

(Kyle Kerr) #5

Very inexpensive build http://m.instructables.com/id/Easy-to-Build-Desk-Top-3-Axis-CNC-Milling-Machine/ He even shows how to build the inexpensive stepper drivers. If you are ok with Linux, LinuxCNC would be a good choice to keep cost down.
I have not followed the above instructable.
The “driller” is called a spindle.

(MoserLabs) #6

I second openbuilds. I personally built a joe’s cnc 4x4 rack and pinion mill - spending probably $3500ish for everything. I decided to go as big as I could (it’s easy to mill small stuff on a large mill, but tough to mill big stuff on a small mill).

Having started with EMC (now LinuxCNC) I’d go towards Mach3 for control. I wasn’t able to enable spindle control and got tired of pot control of RPM and manual enable and manual Z zero…

(Kyle Kerr) #7

@MoserLabs LinuxCNC has a very active mailing list and IRC channel. Had you asked for help, I believe you could have gotten everything functioning in a week at most. One of the members got a production welding arm working with their help.

(Dat Chu) #8

If you want to start small and make small mistakes while learning, you can get a Shapeoko2 kit. It will allow you to do many things. Extending it to a bigger bed or build a second machine is always easier if you already have a machine to make parts for the second build. I think Shapeoko2 is a very good kit to learn and as a bootstrap. Plus, it is inexpensive and almost all the choices are pre-made for you. Branching out from there has many options as well.

(Steve Slese) #9

Worth a look, http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-CNC-Router/

(Arthur Wolf) #10

Hey. Here’s a guide for the electronics side of things : http://smoothieware.org/cnc-mill-guide


(MoserLabs) #11

@Kyle_Kerr probably… I didn’t wanna bother anyone though. I read a bunch about setting up ladders and such, I just couldn’t get it working on my end. Mach3 was the easier solution. (Still have it dual boot for linux though!)

(Paul Frederick) #12

@MoserLabs I run my CNC machine off a second hand PC I bought at a thrift store for $5. Needless to say that PC is dedicated to the task of CNC. I really don’t see why anyone would want to use a desktop PC as a CNC controller. Then again I can’t figure out why anyone runs Windows either. So there’s that too I suppose.

(Dat Chu) #13

You can also run stuff off of a Raspberry Pi using modern control software. It’s really depending on what you want to do with your CNC.

(Nick Bencriscutto) #14

Thanks for all the awesome input! I’ve been using Linux for years that should come fairly easy. I’ve also worked with arduino and stepper motors. So hopefully with that background I won’t be coming in completely blind. I’ll dig in and fully explore the links given within the next few weeks.

(Paul Frederick) #15

@Dat_Chu Just because you can do some things doesn’t mean that you should. Would I trade my $5 thrift store PC I run LinuxCNC on for a Raspberry Pi? No way! With my thrift store PC I have a parallel port, and dual 2.5GHz CPU cores. Plus it was much cheaper than a Pi is to buy new.

Someday when I’m worried about the power it consumes I’ll get an Atom. They are absolutely the hottest hardware to run LinuxCNC on. The only things that score better latency scores than Atoms are high end Xeons, and they’re kind of total overkill. Not that I need better latency than what I have now for software stepping. 10,000ns does the job for me here. My steppers stall out long before I run out of clock signal to feed them.

My old freebie trash bin PC I used to run LinuxCNC on had latency issues though. So I know what that is like. That was a 1 GHz P3 It ran 20,000ns I think mostly because of the crappy ATI video card I have in it. It is tough to find decent AGP cards today. Especially half height ones.