A few years ago in 2013, I’ve attempted to build a CNC router in order to quickly make parts for other projects. My goal was to have the machine to be desktop sized with a work-area about 16″x16″ and be powered by LinuxCNC. The project wasn’t a success, but I have learned a lot in the process.
My first attempt to build the machine was built with 1/4 plywood, 10mm rod, and linear rail bearings. The machine was designed with auto-desk inverter and then the parts were cut with a much larger CNC machine at work. I was initially proud of the design, but after cutting and assembling the parts it would not work as well as I hoped. The machine had far to much flex in all of the axis’ and wouldn’t have the precision needed. This design did help with designing the next version of the machine.
The second machine will use a similar design, but utilize OpenBuild’s v-slot linear rail and use aluminum for the body. The v-slot rail was much sturdier then the 10mm rod linear bearing. The ACME screws and NEMA stepper motors would be recycled form the old machine to the new machine.
Once the design was complete, all of the parts were laid out on a 2D drawing and the G-code was generated for milling.
The parts to the left were for the z-axis assembly. Most of the parts for the assembly were brazed together, except for the two pieces of v-slot rail, which could be disassembled to change out the rotary tool.
Once the machine was fully assembled, it still had some problems with accuracy but it was a vast improvement over the wood version. There was still plenty more work to be done to make the machine accurate enough for milling. I found that the design for the X and Y axis worked pretty well, but the Z-axis needed to be re-engineered. After two years of off and on work, I decided to scrap the machine and sell off most of the parts. There are now plenty of off the shelf machines that are aimed at the hobbyist market that are better designed and more accurate. I don’t have any regrets building the machine for I have learned a lot
Here are some more photos of the completed CNC machine after the break.