Homemade CNC Router The Builders Guide (FREE!


The Builder's Guide "Your homemade CNC router project begins here"
Introduction So you've decided to build a homemade CNC router or maybe you’re just considering it, but where do you start? There are many advantages to owning a CNC router. Homemade CNC routers can cut and carve almost anything. For any hobbyist or DIY’er, this opens many doors. The fact that you could own one for a fraction of the retail cost is even more enticing. Yes, you can build a CNC router that is just about as good as any other for a fraction of the retail price, and it’s not that difficult! This is not a sales pitch, this guide is FREE its all below. There is also a great deal of flexibility when you design and build your own machine. You will be able to customize your machine to fit you needs best. Not to big, not to small, just right. There are many reasons people want to build their own homemade CNC router. It’s usually because we simply can’t afford to buy one off the shelf and that’s as good of a reason as any other. Or you may be like me and enjoy working with your hand and creating something unique. You might simply be in it for the learning experience. For me personally, I think it was a little of both. My Experience When I first started to design and build my first homemade CNC router, I had it all figured out in about a day. I had my design ready to go. Then as I started to buy the parts, I did a little research. I found bits and pieces of information here and there, but it just lead to more questions.

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Homemade CNC Router The Builders Guide (FREE!)

“Do I really need ball screws or will ACME screws work fine?” “What kind of linear bearing is the best, and can I afford it?” “How big of a motor do I need, and should I use steppers or servos?” “Will this material flex too much over that span?” Etc. Luckily, some of my questions I could answer with my mechanical engineering background. However, many of the problems I would encounter could not be “calculated”. I just needed someone with experience and information on the subject. So I researched the internet. The information available is scattered and hard to come by, and how do I know if it’s valid. Most of the answers to my questions came through reading hundreds and hundreds of threads like CNCzone.com. Which is a rood resource. I would post my questions and wait for people who already have built a homemade CNC router to hopefully give me a good answer. Of course I would get many answers to my questions from different people, many of which contradicted each other. Then I’d have to read though a thread where people were bickering back and forth. Of course then I would have to research further to find out which answers were worth while and which ones were garbage. Every time I had a question that I didn’t know, I would have to go through the same process. A lot of this was due to the fact I was on a budget and wanted the best design my money could buy. Which is the same situation many people building a homemade CNC router are in? CNC router kits and plans Yes, there are homemade CNC router kits available, but I have yet to see one that gives any explanation as to what you are actually doing. It just says “do these things” and you are supposed to follow directions. But what if you do not have the parts available? Or you want your design to vary slightly. Then you are left to fend for your self. Maybe you don’t want to design your own, but still want to build your own. That’s where the kits and plans help you most, like the CNC router kits at www.solsylva.com . Plans are good for what they are, they are instructions. There are a lot of them out there and how do you know which one is the right one. No matter how good the instructions are, if it’s a bad design it WILL be a bad machine. That is why you need to be educated as to what you are building and what each part does! This Guide This is where this guide will help you. After designing and building several of my own homemade CNC routers, I would like to share the knowledge from my experiences, good and bad. I think it’s sad that this information isn’t out there, and I DON”T think it should cost you anything. This guide aims to keep you for making some of the same mistakes that I

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Homemade CNC Router The Builders Guide (FREE!)

made costing me precious time, money, and frustration. We will walk through ever component down to the bolts, looking at advantages and disadvantages of every type of each component. I will discuss every aspect of designing and building your own homemade CNC router. It will take you through the mechanics to software and everything in between. If you still want to use a homemade CNC router plan or kit, you can find CNC router plans here. Keep in mind, homemade CNC Router plans offer little in the way of explaining concepts. This often leads to a "sloppy" design or unsatisfactory machine performance. That is why I suggest I you read through this guide first. By the end, you should be talking CNC like a pro! This will give you a real heads up when you go to build and design your homemade CNC router. Regardless if you are using your plans or someone else's. LET’S GET STARTED

Step 1: Key Design Decisions This section covers the following: Identifying the right design for you Required cutting area Space availability Materials Tolerances Constructing Methods Available tools Budget Step 2: The Base and X-axis Frame This section covers the following: Designing and Building the main base or x-axis base A breakdown of different designs Fully Supported Frames Partially Supported Frames etc. STEP 3: The Y- Axis Gantry Design This section covers the following: Designing and Building the Y-axis Gantry A breakdown of different designs Forces and Moments on the Gantry Do's and Don't etc.

STEP 4: The Z- Axis Assembly Design This section covers the following: Designing and Building the Z-axis Assembly Forces and Moments on the Z-axis Assembly Linear rail/rods and bearing spacing The Plunge arm Design etc.
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Homemade CNC Router The Builders Guide (FREE!)

STEP 5: The Liniear Motion System This section covers the following: Detailed Overview of linear motion systems Choosing the right system for your machine Designing and building your own Linear Shaft and bushings Linear Rails and Guide Blocks etc. STEP 6: Mechanical Drive Components This section covers the following topics: Detailed overview of the drive components Choosing the right components for your design Stepper and Servo motors Lead screws and ball screws Drive nuts Radial and thrust Bearings Motor coupling and mounting Direct drive vs. Geared Rack and Pinions Lead screw motor sizing etc. STEP 7: The Cutting Table design This section covers the following: The Cutting table designs overview T-slot Table Vacuum Table Perforated cutting bed The Cutaway bed Designing and Building your own etc.

STEP 8: The Spindle Options This section covers the following: CNC Spindles overview Types and features Pricing and costs Mounting and cooling options Coolant systems Building your own How to calculate chip load and cutting force How to find optimal feed rates etc.

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Homemade CNC Router The Builders Guide (FREE!)

STEP 9: The Electronics This section covers the following: CNC Electronics overview The Control panel Wiring and Fusing Buttons and switches MPG's and Jog wheels Power Supplies etc.

STEP 10: The CNC Controller options This section covers the following: The CNC Controller overview Controller selection Options available Closed loop vs. Open loop systems Best priced controllers Building your own from scratch etc.

STEP 11: Selecting the Software This section covers the following: The CNC related Software overview What software will I need CAM software CAD software NC Controller Software Best choices Free ware etc.

Go to Homepage from the Homemade CNC router guide

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Part descriptions and sources for the other components are provided in the plans. CNC Router Plans Plans Home Page Plans for low cost CNC machines The tables were designed to be: ● Inexpensive to build ● Simple to assemble ● Accurate for the cost Table parts Primarily off-theRack and Pinion or Leadscrew 24 x 48 Inch Cutting Area shelf from home centers and department stores. This manual covers a variety of options including rack and pinion and/or leadscrews for the X and Y axes.solsylva. This site gives a list of software. One manual is for the single table shown above. Manuals There are two plan books. stepper and drive suppliers.com/ (1 of 4) [8/6/2008 12:53:15 AM] .CNC Plans ~Solsylva Home Page~ . http://www.

These cost $250 to $600 depending on the desired features.5" http://www.CNC Plans ~Solsylva Home Page~ Dual Leadscrew Table 25 x 37 Inch ( 640 x 950 mm) Cutting Area The other manual includes plans for the 5 machines shown below. Belt Drive Table 27.com/ (2 of 4) [8/6/2008 12:53:15 AM] . stepper and power supply packages sold by Xylotex and HobbyCNC.5 x 64 Inch Cutting Area Cutting areas Belt Drive Table X 64" Y 27. Both plan sets include hundreds of images and dimensioned CAD drawings.5" Y 25. and rack and pinion tables: Less than $600 and up depending on the components used. Tables' cost (Not including the above drive packages) Fixed gantry table: Less than $100 Smaller blue tables: Less than $250 Belt drive. with step by step written instructions.solsylva. All machines were designed around the drive.5" Z 7" Rack/Leadscrew Table X 48" Y 24" Z 8" Dual Leadscrew Table X 37.5" Z 6.

The machines were all designed to use the stepper and drive systems from Xylotex and HobbyCNC.5" Fixed Gantry Table: 18" x 25" Accuracy Very good for the cost. and supply documentation and help forums for their products. the Belt Drive table and the Rack/Leadscrew table. The recommended software is Mach3 or TurboCNC.in.in. . 269 to 425 oz. Stepper Size 200 oz. These suppliers work with the Do It Yourself market.com/ (3 of 4) [8/6/2008 12:53:15 AM] . Fixed Gantry Table 13 x 13 Inch Cutting Area http://www. . for the 13" x 13" and 17 x 20 inch prototypes.CNC Plans ~Solsylva Home Page~ Small Blue Tables X 20" Y 17. Pictures are worth thousands of words. .5" Z 4" Fixed Gantry Table X 13" Y 13" Z 5" Footprint Size Belt Drive Table 3' x 6' Rack and Pinion Table 3' x 5' Dual Leadscrew Table 36" x 49" Small Blue Tables 31" x 33. and up to 300+ ipm rapids on the rack and belt drive tables. for the 25 x 37 inch prototype.solsylva. Speed 35+ inches per minute rapid. 30 ipm cuts on the small tables.

This keeps construction simple and prices low.CNC Plans ~Solsylva Home Page~ These are all real machines that have been built and tested in this shop. The large machines were designed to move quickly with a larger cutting area. It can use racks or leadscrews on the X and Y axes. Suppliers for the other parts. the plans address the multiple versions. Though the machines are similar. The smaller machines use a minimum of Small Overhead Leadscrew Table components. 17 x 20 Cutting Area are inexpensive.solsylva. each was designed to meet specific goals. such as belts and pulleys. are listed in the manuals.com/ (4 of 4) [8/6/2008 12:53:15 AM] . and are simple to build. The Rack and Pinion/Leadscrew machine is designed to carry a full sized router. All of the machines were designed around standard sizes of lumber and hardware store components. Small Dual Leadscrew Table 17 x 20 Cutting Area Back to the top http://www.

com/cnc-router-plans. we strongly suggest you read through the Builder’s Guide There you will find in depth information regarding all the components and their function. You may like the linear motion system on one design but prefer the cutting bed design on another. Some are worth while. They may also uncover aspects of your design that may or may not work. 3D and 2D downloads. This is a mobile gantry type designed around a wood or MDF construction utilizing skate bearings for the linear motion system. This is why we want to provide you with as many free plans and blueprints as possible. feel free to check out the plans below. Plans can give you great ideas. You may prefer to design and build your own machine. There several companies devoted to providing plans you can buy. Many of us are very visual people and it helps to see examples of these machines laid out on paper. However. Even if you decide to use plans. At the moment. and even videos.html (1 of 2) [8/6/2008 12:54:06 AM] .CNC Router Plans: Download free CNC router plans CNC Router Plans CNC router plans are a great starting point for anyone wanting to build a CNC router. we are working on several free plans complete with pictures. CNC router plans can still be a valuable resource. These designs have been tested and built by many CNC router enthusiasts. CNC Router Plans Download Center “JGRO’s” Design This design is very popular among the DIY CNC router community.cncroutersource. This set of plans is very detailed and contains dimensions on all parts. Some plans are thorough enough to act as a complete blueprint from start to finish while others only offer bits of information. and others are not. They give valuable insight on how these machines work. http://www. For now.

Return to Homepage from CNC Router Plans http://www. This design is very ergonomic looking and employs antitorsion framing and slanted gantry side arms to account for CG location.html (2 of 2) [8/6/2008 12:54:06 AM] . that by downloading this plan. Download JOE’s 2006 design in EASM format Download the free EASM viewer here Please note. Personal use ONLY! “Joe’s 2006 R-1” Design This is another very popular design. you are under the agreement that they are not to be resold or used for commercial purpose. and dimensioned using a free E-drawing viewer that you may download here. you are under the agreement that they are not to be resold or used for commercial purpose.cncroutersource.com/cnc-router-plans. This set of plans are in a 3D format which can be viewed. the xaxis employs dual rods and each side instead of one. rotated. The set of plans also contains a complete BOM (bill of materials). Download JGRO’s Design in PDF format Download JGRO’s Design in DXF format Please note. The linear motion system is also design around skate bearings. that by downloading this plan. Personal use ONLY! MORE PLANS ARE COMING VERY SOON!!!! If you have any question or would like to submit a set of your own CNC router plans to be reviewed and posted. feel free to contact us. However. designed around a wood or MDF structure.CNC Router Plans: Download free CNC router plans This build can be very sturdy if built correctly. This design is also a mobile gantry CNC router.

After all. then you may wish to start at the CNC router Basics.html (1 of 6) [8/6/2008 12:54:41 AM] . Don’t let this stand in the way. One last comment before we jump in head first. I am assuming you know some very CNC basics. but you can quickly become overwhelmed in the process.com/hobby-cnc-router. there is a good chance you already have a design in mind. That’s why this guide is here. It would have saved me many headaches and money. and performance. I wish that I had known a lot of this stuff before my first machine.The Hobby CNC Router: Builders Guide Step 1 Building a Hobby CNC Router Step 1 As we discussed earlier. This is to be expected. such as what CNC means etc. If you are thinking of building your own machine. For example. the concepts may be applies to most any CNC linear motion system. it’s your machine. This is also the case wen designing and building a CNC router. money. This guide does not aim to subtract from any of your ideas but rather supplement your project with valuable information.cncroutersource. there are numerous advantages to designing and building a hobby CNC router. Designing and building any machine has the potential of being a good or bad experience. you could use these same concepts to build a CNC plasma cutter. If you do not. Although this guide is primarily focusing on hobby CNC routers. The concepts of CNC routers are fairly straight forward. Let’s Get Started: http://www. to keep you from making mistakes that might cost you time.

This may seem contradictory as every design is unique. However. For this size machine.com/hobby-cnc-router. there are reasons for choosing the mobile bed design type. However.The Hobby CNC Router: Builders Guide Step 1 1) Choosing your design There are two primary styles of the hobby CNC router.cncroutersource. Mobile bed 2) Mobile Gantry. The mobile bed design is typically found on smaller CNC machines such as a PCB or engraving machines. 1) Stationary Gantry. The Mobile bed This type of design is less prominent in the hobby CNC router community than the mobile gantry design. Let’s take a look at these two designs in detail. the mobile bed design works well. stationary bed Here you can see an example of each. there are two overall designs types that you will encounter. http://www.html (2 of 6) [8/6/2008 12:54:41 AM] .

y. offering rigid a gantry but limiting on the overall size. The mobile gantry design is very versatile. In conclusion. you must take into consideration the weight of the gantry itself and the size. It can be tricky to design a gantry that is light enough for your design and still offer little flex under load. therefore you have more breathing room in regards to the weight. and z axis will always be this configuration. As we discuss the hobby CNC router. If you made an extended x axis with a mobile bed. in regards to the linear bearings on the x axis. There are disadvantages with this type of design as well. This is because the gantry is stationary and does not have to be light or conform to a certain size to fit your linear bearings.The Hobby CNC Router: Builders Guide Step 1 Another advantage of this design is that creating a sturdy gantry that will not flex under load is much easier. the gantry itself does not move. As the length of the x-axis increases the mobile bed design become less efficient. When you see a mobile bed design employed on a hobby CNC router. and structural design. Now let’s look at the mobile gantry. however the design becomes increasingly complicated.html (3 of 6) [8/6/2008 12:54:41 AM] . the total x axis travel is usually between 12-36 inches. axis notation. the y and z axis usually changes very little between the mobile bed and mobile gantry designs. the actual size of the object you could cut would still be relatively small because the bed itself is still relatively small. take a look at the picture below labeling each.cncroutersource. the x. we will go into greater detail on both designs later. I have seen larger. This design type is similar to the mobile bed except the whole gantry moves along the x axis. With the mobile bed design. The Mobile Gantry The mobile gantry design accounts for probably 95% of the hobby CNC routers. With the mobile bed design. you must design it to be mobile and fit some sort of linear bearing assembly. As a side note. y. I suggest this be your design choice. Not to mention.com/hobby-cnc-router. size. If you are building anything other than a small machine. and z. as you increase the x axis length your design become less efficient due to the size of the bed. the mobile bed design is for you if you want a smaller machine that is compact and relatively easy to build. If you are unfamiliar with the x. Of course. http://www. With a mobile gantry. This is advantageous because the overall size virtually limitless.

however. 3) The Machine Size Most of us want as big of a machine as we can get. some linear systems and materials may flex excessively over a certain span. Later you may find that you are limited to a certain size due to materials and parts. Keep in mind. if your limitation is 36”x24”. Many people design and build a hobby CNC router and live with the results.1 inch. or keep adjusting to get the results they want.html (4 of 6) [8/6/2008 12:54:41 AM] . However. So if you have a machine footprint limitation. Take a look at the illustration below. Don’t get accuracy and precision confused. For example.cncroutersource. For example. 2) The Cutting Area The cutting area is the total distance the machine can cut along each axis. You want to design and build your machine to hold a certain accuracy and precision. The travel is not the overall machine size. Right now it’s a good idea to have an idea of the size of piece you want to be able to cut. The cutting area is also called the machine travel for each axis.01 inch and you know that all you will ever need. this is one of those decisions that is likely to change as you search for parts. it is unlikely you will achieve the maximum travel for your machine size. most of us want as big of a machine as we can get away with. 4) The Machine Tolerance One of the most important considerations when designing or building a hobby CNC router is the accuracy and precision of the machine. if you know you only need a tolerance of . you need to decide which design will fit your needs best. For example. then your ideal travel for that machine is 36”x24”. You do not want to have wasted space in your hobby CNC router design. The linear bearings will probably be you primary restrictions. After all.The Hobby CNC Router: Builders Guide Step 1 For now. you may be limited due to shop space or some other factor. We will look at sizing in more depth later when we look at the structural considerations. which brings us to our next consideration.com/hobby-cnc-router. keep this in mind as you design your machine. http://www. there are ways to design machine to hold a certain tolerance. working towards getting as much travel as possible is worth the effort. Now lets move on to some other considerations. you machine may be able to cut a piece that is within . Although. which could also limit the cutting area. For example.0001 of an inch but the repeatability may be .

tools you have to work with. Of course. 5) Materials and Tools The tools and materials can define your design almost as much as any other factor. Hobby CNC routers are constructed from all types of materials. That is why it is crucial to choose your materials ahead of time.0001 inch repeatable. I have seen machines made out of plastic. this is up to you. The material from which you construct your machine should be based on 3 criteria. if we had the money. Keep in mind. On the other hand.The Hobby CNC Router: Builders Guide Step 1 you can save a lot of money by designing for that requirement. However. this is the one factor that will determine many of our decisions. We will look at properties of material later. I have seen machines made from MDF that hold better tolerances than those constructed of solid metal.001 to . So there is no need to think that because you have limited tools you can not create a hobby CNC router. Keep in mind the larger the machine. The right design for a wood machine is not the right design for an aluminum or steel machine. Typical hobby CNC routers hold a tolerance of . This will eventually lead to a poor overall machine. Well maybe we would just buy really nice parts and bolt them http://www. your hobby CNC router will probably integrate many materials. However. For most of us. you will have a certain material that will make up the bulk of your machine.html (5 of 6) [8/6/2008 12:54:41 AM] . This will help you design your machine to the load ratings you specify. and others.cncroutersource. I have seen machines built with as little as a drill motor and a hand saw. After all. and then think of the material you can use. If you do not have access to a milling machine or heavy metalworking equipment. A popular method is to build a basic CNC router and then use that to build a nicer one. At this point all you need to do is have an idea as to what kind of tolerance you require. 6) Budget Last but not least is the budget.0001 inch. MDF. wood. we would just buy one. The tools you have may also define the type of material you must use.com/hobby-cnc-router. then there are some design requirements that must be met to get the required performance. There we will cover how to calculate deflection and other mathematical models with relative ease. and materials available. then it may be hard to build your design correctly out of metal. Do not take on a job that you do not have the tools for. On a piece of paper right down all the tools you have to work with. steel. This method works well if you have limited tools. budget. It is hard to say which material is best as it varies with the design. the more costly it is to hold tight tolerances. aluminum. if you want a machine to hold a tolerance of .

The Hobby CNC Router: Builders Guide Step 1 together. Summary of Step 1 So by now you should have the following decisions made or understand them at least. As a warning. I suggest you have an overall budget in mind and keep track of how much you spend.com/hobby-cnc-router. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Mobile bed or mobile gantry Required cutting area Machine size requirements Tolerance requirements Materials and Tools Budget Now that we have the major decisions worked out. I also included information on what you should expect to pay. Below you will find an excel spreadsheet that you may download. let con Building a hobby CNC router Step 2 View and Download a Sample Expense sheet Back to the Builders Guide Index Homepage http://www. the bulk of your budget should go towards the linear motions system and the drive system. It breaks down all the components of a hobby CNC router and parts you will need. This will help you stay organized and see where you should spend the bulk of your money.cncroutersource. We will cover this in greater detail in later steps.html (6 of 6) [8/6/2008 12:54:41 AM] .

you may notice that almost ever unit is different.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame Build your own CNC router Step 2 The Frame and Base When you design and build your own CNC router.cncroutersource. This is what will determine your motor placement and lead screw placement along with everything else. Although this is true. and motors your budget allow etc. the X-axis frame should also act as the base for the machine as the X-axis should be the axis closest to the ground. The X-Axis Base and Frame When you build your own CNC router. the number of lead screws lead screws . you can break down these designs into categories.The base and frame is what holds everything together. However. but well start at the bottom and work our way up. we need to become familiar with different designs so that you may buy parts that fit your design. This will likely happen a lot when you build your own CNC router. one of the first considerations is the base and frame. Then it’s back to the drawing board to optimize the design for the materials you do have. If you can not find or can’t afford the parts for the design you would like.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. Although another practice is to actually design from the top down. The Base and Frame Overview The base and frame of a CNC router is the main structural element of your machine. This portion of the machine will perform 3 primary tasks. The frame and base design will be determined partially by the materials and supplies that you have. 1) Act as the base for the machine 2) Support the X axis linear motion system 3) Support the cutting table http://www.html (1 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] . When you look at other homemade CNC router designs.

cncroutersource. the material itself would need to compress. The image above shows only the base and does not show the gantry. the cost.html (2 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] . With this design you can get away with a lighter material as it will be supported against the ground or some other structure. Fully Supported Frame The fully supported base is one of the best designs and is the design used on most industrial or professional routers. You will need and extra lead screw.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. Keep in mind we are not talking about massive amounts of flex. This allows for a very sturdy design and is not susceptible to the cutting table or the structure itself flexing under its own or external weight. and motor. Pay no attention to the type of linear bearings. This all ties back in to the Step 1 on how to build your own CNC router.001” is acceptable if you only expect 0.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame Lets look at the most common designs for the base. A deformation of 0. There are drawbacks with this design. http://www. Now let’s look at another design. Where you should already have some idea as to the desired precisions and accuracy you want your machine to hold. but you will need to make sure you motor is up to the task. The fully supported design means that both the Y and X axis may rest on the floor or some other structure. There is nothing connecting the gantry across the Y-axis. In order for this system to flex or deform. lead nut. You may employ a fully supported frame design with one motor using a pulley and belt system.010” accuracy from your machine. We will cover how to calculate that in the CNC drive system section.

We are focusing on the frame itself. It is possible to have a fully supported linear bearing system and not have a fully supported frame. Partially Supported X-axis Fully Supported Y-axis Frame The more common design with most hobby CNC routers out there is the partially supported X or Y-axis. but that is not the focus in this section. You can see this in the Solsyva design below. we mean that there is nothing obstructing sweeping across that axis during operation. Fully Supported Bearing Rods/Rails When we say “fully supported” in this section. This is the most common design.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame Fully Supported Frame vs. With this setup you could have a “fully supported” linear rails or rods http://www. Later we will discuss fully and end supported linear bearing systems.cncroutersource.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. The gantry would have an undercarriage that would connect the gantry to the lead screw.html (3 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] . The image above illustrates a supported Y-axis and a end supported X-axis frame.

You may only support the frame on the ends since there must be clearance between the ground and the frame to allow the gantry undercarriage to move along the X-axis.01 inches in the center. However.html (4 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] .axis Fully Supported X-axis Let’s say I have only one motor and lead screw for the X-axis and still wish to maintain a high tolerance on my machine. the Y-axis would be considered supported since you could have a frame that would not interfere with the gantry movement. If your machine has a relatively small X-axis span. just under its own weight.001’’ in the Z-axis. In the image above. the frame would “sag” . This would mean the cutting bed would be very rigid in the Y-axis but could flex or deform along the X-axis.cncroutersource. However.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. There are other solutions. That does not include the weight of the gantry or anything else. The frame across the Y-axis would prevent flexing for that axis. However in that situation. . even if the frame were made of solid aluminum measuring 1-1/2’’ by 4-1/2’’ and the X-axis span were 60 inches. the Y-axis frame would not be fully supported. http://www. the machine could vibrate and bounce when cutting creating lines in the work. this design works well and is probably the easiest to setup.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame setup. I could move the Y-axis gantry assembly inside the frame which would allow me to fully support the X-axis because the gantry would not cut under the X-axis frame. You can understand that this would be an issue if I’m trying to design a machine to hole a tolerance of 0. Partially Supported Y. It is true that the machine would flex as a whole and could be compensated. With the design above. the rods or rails would still be able to flex with the frame itself.

it makes access to the cutting bed somewhat difficult. One way to obtain a fully supported router is to do away with the gantry undercarriage and have the lead screw connect at the top of the gantry or have 2 lead screws high on each side. With this design. This means that no matter how much weight I put on the gantry or cutting table (not pictured). you need to decide which is more important. However. This design works well for smaller machines that you wish to be mobile. with a single lead screw up high above the gantry. You may see this application in the Solsyva designs. however the gantry would cut through any frame in the Y-axis inside the cutting area. For instance. a CNC router designed to carve shapes on wood flooring.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame As you can see in this design.html (5 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] . Have the machine remain constant or have the cutting bed and the machine flex together. http://www.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. the cutting bed would need to have its own frame and could “sag” in the center. you could true the cutting table surface by plain the surface with the machine. the longer X-axis is fully supported (on the ground). he machine itself would be constant and once the cutting bed is installed.cncroutersource. They offer these blueprints on how to build your own CNC router. However. When you design or build your own CNC router. Alternatives There are other alternatives when you build or design your own CNC router. The cutting bed would then be true to the machine. the X-axis frame would only deform if the material itself deformed. We will cover this more when we discuss the cutting bed.

html (6 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] . like the one pictured above. the material you use to construct the frame will play a big role in the design of the frame. This is advantageous because if you want design and build your own CNC router. Most popular materials are: 1) MDF 2) Plywood 3) Aluminum Stock 4) 80/20 Structural aluminum. The bed must also only support its weight and the weight of the material you will be cutting. With a mobile bed CNC router. the bearings and frame would not be in the way.cncroutersource. With this design you also only require one motor and lead screw for the X-axis. the chances are you want to save as much money as possible. Different materials will deform differently. this design may be inefficient for larger designs as we discussed in step one.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame The Mobile bed design design approaches the CNC router frame differently.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. Keep the material consideration in mind as you choose a frame design. http://www. Because the lead screw attaches to the bed itself and there is no undercarriage for the gantry. However. It does not hold the weight of the gantry itself. The mobile bed or movable bed Other Considerations When you design and build your own CNC router. you may have a fully supported frame and bearing system for the X-axis without compromising any structural framing.

For now just review and consider your options for the base and X-axis. All of which should be considered when you build your own CNC router.cncroutersource. In later sections of this guide we will discuss bearing placement.Build your own CNC router Step 2: The frame 5) Steel Keep the materials in mind as you think of how to build your CNC router.html (7 of 7) [8/6/2008 12:55:24 AM] . you may decide to employ some elements from each design.com/build-your-own-cnc-router. When you design or build your own CNC router. Stay up to date with our RSS feed. lead screw and motor placement. Go back to Step 1: How to build a CNC router Step 3: Designing and Building the Y-axis and Z-axis Frame Homepage from how to build your own CNC router We add and edit this information on how to design and build your own CNC router. If you try to rush the process and forget to consider these design issues when you build your own CNC router. Before you set anything in stone. and other design features. then you may be setting yourself back. http://www. let’s take a look at the Y-axis gantry and the Zaxis frame assemblies.

you want your gantry to be stable and balanced. let’s look at the Y-axis gantry assembly. http://www. The gantry design is a proven design for "do it yourself CNC routers. there are still many things that you should be aware of. there is a design that is best for you.Do it yourself CNC router: Design Considerations. This will prevent excess stress and strain on you bearings. From a design standpoint." However. motor. it is important to keep the design trade offs in mind.com/do-it-yourself-CNC-router. the Gantry The "Do It Yourself CNC router" The Gantry Design Considerations Now that we have looked at the X-axis frame designs and considerations in a do it yourself CNC router design. The gantry design is the most popular design in the do it yourself CNC router community. No matter your budget. In order for you to be able to design and build your gantry to meet the required forces. the parts you have. Let’s take a look at the forces evolved with a do it yourself CNC router gantry. lead screw. When you build a CNC router.cncroutersource. you first need to identify and understand the forces involved. or the material you use. It is popular for a reason. etc. it works. Design the CNC gantry to meet the forces that it will encounter.html (1 of 5) [8/6/2008 12:56:07 AM] .

Now let’s discuss what is happening.html (2 of 5) [8/6/2008 12:56:07 AM] .Do it yourself CNC router: Design Considerations.com/do-it-yourself-CNC-router. Center of gravity/mass Forces Moment Let quickly identify the labels above: D1 = the distance between the cutting tool (the router bit) and the center between the http://www. It may seem confusing at first but it’s rather simple once you understand what is taking place. there is a lot there. Take a minute to look over the image. the Gantry The above image illustrates a side view of a typical do it youself CNC router gantry. We will discuss.cncroutersource.

the Gantry two Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails (D3). the RPM. the resulting forces A and B shrink which is good. the longer the distance of D1 the larger the moment will be. the Moment A results in 2 forces on the Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails. is the result of the cutting force being applied at the distance D1. spindle RPM. Why is this good? It reduces the amount of centralized torque that is on the gantry itself. Moment A. The units of force are lb-f (pounds of force) in the English system or the Newton in the SI system. It is being pulled or pushed by the CNC drive system at the bottom. D4= distance between the 2 linear bearings that sit on the X-axis linear bearing rods/ rails. we usually call a moment force torque. Then the Moment A would be 5lb x 1ft = 5 ft lb of force. ( I converted 12 inches to 1 foot) You can see that even if the cutting force remains the same. the router spindle is lowered and it starts cutting. We will get into these details when we discuss the CNC router spindle. Now.html (3 of 5) [8/6/2008 12:56:07 AM] . and the material. the router spindle at the bottom. The cutting action apposes the movement of the gantry resulting in a cutting force.Do it yourself CNC router: Design Considerations. For now just know you have a cutting force apposing the movement of the gantry. These resulting forces are forces A and B in the figure above. A moment has units of lbfin or N-m. Moving on. in the image above. Now we will look at the forces evolved. Moment A = D1 x Cutting force Example: If the distance D1= 12 inches and the cutting force is 5 lb of force. a force is equal to mass of multiplied by its acceleration. The chip load depends on the bit you use. D3 = distance between the lower and upper Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails. Now. The cutting force results in a moment. D2 = distance between lead screw/ linear bearings and the bottom Y-axis linear bearing rail/rod. A moment results when you have a force applied at a distance. Just so you know.com/do-it-yourself-CNC-router. Force A and Force B are equal to each other Force A = Force B. The Technical Explanation: CNC Router Forces (scroll down for the short Version) The image above illustrates a gantry that is moving from left to right as you look at the screen. and the chip load. http://www. The cutting force varies according to the gantry acceleration.cncroutersource. which is moment A in the figure above. Force A = Moment A divided by 2 divided by ½ of D3 this equals to Force A = Force B = Moment A / D3 You can see that as the vertical distance between the two linear rods/rails (for the Yaxis linear bearings) grows.

Moment B = D2 x Force A Moment B is what causes the whole gantry to rock or want to rotate due to the cutting force. (Minimize D2) Keep the spindle plunge arm on the Z-axis assembly as short as possible and make that arm out of rigid material to prevent flexing. keep the following in mind: Try and keep the distance between the X-axis lead screw and linear bearings. A normal Z-axis arm travel is anywhere from 3 to 6 inches. Why? You want to make have equal amounts of force on your set of linear bearings as possible. The center of gravity is the point at which the machine would balance. When you build a do it yourself CNC router. This compensated for the weight of the spindle which hangs our over the Y-axis linear bearings. (CG should be located at ½ D4 and as close to X-axis lead screw as possible) Maximize the distance between the upper and lower Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails but http://www. You want to decrease Moment B as much as possible. 1) Reduce Force A 2) Reduce the D3 A well designed machine keeps force C and force D to be as equal as possible. as close as possible to the bottom Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails. including the spindle. (Minimize D1) Calculate or estimate where the center of gravity of the gantry will be located. And that is the goal. you want the center of gravity of the whole gantry assembly to be directly between the two linear bearings. Design your gantry side arms to compensate and place the center of gravity (CG) between the front and back X-axis linear bearings per arm. the Gantry Moment B will decrees as force A decreases. The short answer (summary) When you design or build a do it yourself CNC router. Or as close to the center distance between the top and bottom Y-axis linear rods/rails. Or if you have a stationary gantry and a mobile bed. That is why you often see the gantry upright side arms slanted backwards an a do it yourself CNC router. This applies equal load on your bearings. you want center of gravity to be in the center of the bottom of you gantry side arms.com/do-it-yourself-CNC-router. There are two ways to reduce Moment B.html (4 of 5) [8/6/2008 12:56:07 AM] . Force C and D are the sum of the weight of the machine and resulting forces that occur do to moment B.cncroutersource. This is not a good thing.Do it yourself CNC router: Design Considerations. This will reduce deformation and chatter in your machine. This assures that your machine is balanced and could stand own its own. We also need to consider the weight of the gantry and try and calculate or guess where the center of gravity will be and keep that directly in the center between the two separated bearings (½ D4).

We offer free engineering design analysis of your machine. Go to Homepage from do it yourself CNC router gantry design http://www. etc. (Maximize D3) Other considerations A good gantry design is one of the most crucial factors for a quality do it yourself CNC router.com/do-it-yourself-CNC-router. budget is a concern which means material are also a concern.Do it yourself CNC router: Design Considerations. We can help you find: Specific CG location Material stress and strain analysis Dynamic simulation of your machine Material selection And more Remember. we will discuss more on the gantry design in later section.cncroutersource. If you would like a more thorough analysis you may consult us. Now let’s take a look at Step 4: the Z-axis assembly design for the do it yourself CNC router.html (5 of 5) [8/6/2008 12:56:07 AM] . the Gantry still allow for clearance under the bottom rod/rail for your max Z travel. linear bearing attachments. As with all DIY CNC routers. Topics such as lead screw placement. motor placement. Which are all important consideration with a do it yourself CNC router project. Try and visualize and estimate the forces evolved and make your do it yourself CNC router design work with the materials you have.

http://www.html (1 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] .cncroutersource. The Z-axis assembly Below you can see two examples of Z-axis assemblies with the Y-Axis CNC Router Gantry in the background.com/building-a-cnc-router.Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly So far we have looked at the first three steps in building a CNC router Step 1: Key Design Decisions Step 2: The Base and X-axis Frame Step 3: The Y-axis Gantry Assembly Now let’s look at the 4th step.

you first need to understand the forces evolved.Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly As with the previous discussions. in order to design and build your machine to meet your requirements. Forces on the Z. you can adjust your design and verify that it will meet your design requirements .html (2 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] . However.cncroutersource. when designing or building a CNC router it is important to consider the forces that are evolved.com/building-a-cnc-router. That way.Axis Assembly http://www.

html (3 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] .Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly Let’s interpret the above image.cncroutersource. http://www. The following explains the dimensions: D1 = the vertical distance between the upper and lower Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails.com/building-a-cnc-router.

tip of the cutting tool) and 1/2 D2. The cutting force is a variable of spindle RPMs.Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly D2 = the vertical distance between the upper and lower sets of Z-axis linear bearings. which was covered in step 1. Some people over analyze and some people just build it and see if it works. the number of flutes on the cutting tool. The plunge arm is at max Z travel and is cutting into a material as it moves from left to right. So let’s first try and understand what is happening. the feed rate. just understand that there is a force in the opposite direction than the Z-axis assembly is moving. let’s analyze the forces and moments. When building a CNC router an important decision to make is what types of material you would like to be able to cut. The above image illustrates an example of a Z-axis assembly shown in a front view and a side view. I think the best approach is a mix of the two methods. This cutting action produces a cutting force that apposes the movement of the Z-axis assembly. D4 = the width of the Z-axis assembly. and the material that is being cut. The cutting force creates a moment. D5 = the horizontal distance between the Z-axis linear bearing rods/rails.cncroutersource. Now let’s see what happens because of this cutting force. A moment is just a force that is applied at a distance. You can learn more on how to calculate cutting force here . D3 = the length of the spindle attachment plunge arm. Forces and Moments on the Z-Axis Assembly Building a CNC router can be easy or hard. D6 = the thickness of the plunge arm D7 = the distance between the cutting force (approx. Look at the front view and notice that the Z-axis assembly is moving to the right while it rides on the Y-axis linear bearing rails/rods. Moment A = D6 x Cutting Force.html (4 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] . For now.com/building-a-cnc-router. which is illustrated in the image above as Moment A. Now that we understand what the dimensions are. http://www. We covered moments in greater details in Step 3.

(Yellow arrows) As D5 and D2 increase in length.axis linear bearing blocks.html (5 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] .com/building-a-cnc-router. The Plunge Arm D2 also has an effect while cutting along the X-axis.Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly Moment A torques the plunge arm in the opposing direction of the cutting force. and the vertical distance between the Z.cncroutersource. it is important to maximize the horizontal distance between the Z-axis linear rails rails (D5). the resulting forces decrease. br> This moment results in resultant forces that are applied to the Z-axis linear bearing rails/rods and the Z-axis linear bearings themselves. You can see that when you are designing or building a CNC router. The cutting force causes another moment. Take a look at the image to the bellow. which torques the whole Z-axis assembly. Moment B. http://www.

the thickness of the material (d6). As the distance between these bearings (D2) increase. and the material it is made of. these forces will decrease.cncroutersource. The flex will depend on the maximum cutting force you are designing your machine around.html (6 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] . That is why it is best to maximize D2. D2 should never be any less that half the length of the plunge arm. As a rule of thumb when building a CNC router. you want the thickness if the plunge arm (D6) to be thick enough to not flex under your maximum cutting force. plunge arm length (D3). you may contact us We offer free design consultation and other engineering services. This moment will apply resulting forces on the Z-axis bearings. http://www.Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly Moment B is the result of the cutting force being multiplied by the distance between the cutting force and ½ D2. Also.com/building-a-cnc-router. If you need help calculating your desired cutting force or the amount of deformation a certain material and size will have.

Maximize D2 reduces the forces due to torque caused by the cutting force in the X-axis. linear bearings etc. Step 1: Key Design Decisions Step 2: The Base and X-axis Frame Step 3: The Y-axis Gantry Assembly Step 4: The Z-axis Assembly Now let’s continue to one of the most important features when designing or building a CNC router system. The motor mount that is used in the above image may be bought pre-fabricated from K2CNC. Maximize D4. Building a CNC router Step 5: The linear Motion System http://www.Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly Summary Keep the following in mind when you design or build a CNC router: Maximize D1.com for a variety of router spindles. Conclusion So far we have looked at the first 4 steps when building a CNC router.cncroutersource. the linear motion system. We will try and help any way possible. Minimize D3. Other Considerations In later sections of the building a CNC router guide . Don’t forget that you may contact us with any questions regarding CNC machines in general or your design. we will discuss other features such as lead screws.com/building-a-cnc-router.html (7 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] . motor placement. reduces the forces due to torque caused by the cutting force in the X-axis. reduces the forces due to torque caused by the cutting force in the Y-axis. but still allow for your desired Z-axis travel.

cncroutersource.com/building-a-cnc-router.html (8 of 8) [8/6/2008 12:56:26 AM] .Building a CNC Router Step 4: The Z-axis assembly Homepage http://www.

000 or more to replace a full set of linear bearings http://www. For the Buyer The linear motion system can make or break a machine. and CNC routers are no exception. it is still important for you to be able to identify quality systems.For those interested in buying a used system.cncroutersource. there should be little concerns regarding these components. Almost all of the new CNC router machines are using quality linear bearing systems. Lateral Loads. This holds true for mid-range to high-end models. Some manufacturers do not specify what types of components are installed and you should know how to identify faulty systems. Without these systems coupled with a drive system. The LM system is responsible for three primary tasks. If you are buying hobby CNC routers or low end machines. . etc) A LM system is composed of some type of linear bearing and the linear bearing guides. you need to know what types of linear system are installed and be able to identify faults or at least know the right questions ask. For people buying new CNC routers today. 1) Support Machine Components 2) Guide the machine in a precise linear motion with minimal friction 3) Support secondary loads (Torque. The quality and performance of linear motion slides have drastically improved over the last few years.com/linear-motion. There are a number of types of bearings and guides.html (1 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:56:40 AM] . each with advantages and disadvantages. Because of the importance of this system.CNC Linear motion: Everything you need to know CNC Linear Motion Systems The linear motion system plays a vital role in any linear CNC machine. it is vital for a buyer a builder to be knowledgeable about the LM components. It can cost $10. a CNC router would be of little use.

It will discuss advantages and disadvantages of each and also show you how to build your own if you so choose. Rails and Guide Blocks This Section covers: How rails and guide blocks work Terminology Types and features Manufacturers Where to Buy and Buying Tips Etc.html (2 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:56:40 AM] . including money saving tips and tricks. V-Groove Wheels and Track Rollers This Section covers: How V-groove wheels and track rollers work Types and features Manufacturers Where to Buy and Buying Tips http://www. For the Builder The LM system can be one of the most expensive and difficult features of a machine.CNC Linear motion: Everything you need to know (depending on the system).cncroutersource. Sections Linear Motion Systems Overview This Section covers: Categories of LM systems Rating and Terminology How LM systems work Etc. and know whether or not the replacements are still in production. and much more. It will also include information on how to mount rails. If you must replace a part you could be dead in the water. know what faults to look for. Rods and Bushings This Section covers: How rods and bushings work Supported and Unsupported shaft Shaft types and features Plain and ball bearing bushings Manufacturers Where to Buy and Buying Tips Etc. linear shafts. That is why it is imperative to get it right the first time. If you have any questions regarding LM systems. If you are here following the step 3 in the builder's guide then I suggest your read through all the sections and not just the section on building your own. If the system is older. the companies may no longer sell the parts. So it is important to be able to identify the components. don’t hesitate to contact us.com/linear-motion. This guide will go through the many options you have for linear systems.

Homemade Linear Motion Systems This Section covers: Homemade LM systems overview “Skate bearing” systems Plain Bearing systems Linear Surfaces Mounting Linear bearing rails Linear Rods Other Linear Bearing Systems Etc.cncroutersource.CNC Linear motion: Everything you need to know Etc. The Builder's Guide Step 6 Homepage http://www.html (3 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:56:40 AM] .com/linear-motion.

which should be taken into consideration. The idea of a CNC drive system is a fairly simple one. The whole idea of a drive system is to convert controlled rotary motion to controlled linear motion with the help of a CNC Controller . and could you buy replacement parts if needed. However. For example. You need to know what kind of components are installed. Leadscrews Etc. Just by changing a few components you can control the machines cutting speed. What will this guide do? This guide offers detailed information on every component that makes up a CNC drive system. Servo Motors. If you are buying a CNC machine.com/cnc-drive. The drive system is a direct correlation to the machines capabilities. Again. the actual mechanics evolved can be complicated. are the motor and lead or ball screw.html (1 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:56:55 AM] . The most common components associated with a drive system. if someone quotes a precision of . precisions.CNC Drive Components: Stepper Motors. and accuracy. then they are probably over stating the machines capabilities. this is especially true if you are buying a used machine.0001 inch and then informs you they have standard ACME screws and no anti-backlash nut installed. cutting force. If you are building a CNC router. Your Guide to CNC Drive Components So what are CNC drive components? The drive components are the mechanical components that "drive" the CNC machine along its axis. This is where many "DIY CNC'ers" get lost. we will discuss money http://www. By understanding the CNC drive system you have a much better understanding of a CNC machine. how much wear they have.cncroutersource. it is best to know what type of drive components are installed.

We will discuss the types of drive nut. however. 5. Although.com/cnc-drive. you may have the nicest system money can buy and less than par drive nuts. Try to lift your 2000 lb vehicle without the aid or your jack and see how far you get. they need to be told what to do. Rack and pinion Rack and pinions are less pronoun than their leadscrew counterparts. there are many different types of leads crews and ball screws. That is why I am devoting a full section to drive nuts. 2. you MUST read this section. If you are interested in Buying CNC drive parts . This guide will walk you through the pros and cons of each type and also discuss alternative solutions for CNC machines on a budget. Things such as radial and thrust bearings for leadscrews and and shaft couplers. Think of the motors as the workhorse for the machine. 3. there are some applications where it is the only solution so that close tolerances can still be held. they still play a vital role. If you are buying a CNC router then you have nothing to worry about as these parts are usually all the same. you can have a great amount of linear force with little torque. I will discuss how to obtain some very nice anti-backlash nuts for very cheap. However. Thrust bearing and Couplers This section covers some of the minor components in a CNC drive system. which is the job of the CNC controller. 4.Direct drive vs. The CNC drive system is a vital part of your machine. is the lead screw or ball screw. However. There you will find a list of recommended places to buy each part. However. primarily because of cost. However. After all.cncroutersource. If you are building a CNC router. Radial. With the help of a CNC drive nut. This one component will make or break your machine.CNC Drive Components: Stepper Motors. Geared or Pulley Systems There are two main ways of coupling your electric motor to the other CNC http://www. 4.01 inch. Many hobby CNC'ers completely overlook this option. Servo Motors. CNC Drive Nuts The drive nut is the one link between the lead or ballscrew and the actual machine. then visit our store or take a look at our links page.html (2 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:56:55 AM] . Leadscrews and Ballscrews The first step to converting the rotational motion supplies by the motors to linear motion. This section will take you though the ins and outs of CNC motors. Stepper Motors and Servo Motors A CNC machine wouldn't be a CNC machine without some sort of motor. and not be able to hold a tolerance of . if you are building a CNC machine. 1. saving tips and options as well as assembly. there are ways to come out even cheaper than alternative solutions. backlash and much more. these are "minor" pieces in the whole system. this section will cover vital information that will save major headaches down the path. Stepper motors or Servo motors both perform the same task. Therefore it is often discussed in direct relation with the leadscrews. a machine is only as good as it weakest link. Leadscrews Etc. However. Just like the jack on your car. which is take in electrical power and convert it to rotational motion.

html (3 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:56:55 AM] . The first being direct drive via use of a anti-backlash shaft coupler discussed above.com/cnc-drive.cncroutersource. Continue to The Builders Guide STEP 5: The X. and Z axis Homepage http://www. Y. the use of either pulleys or gears.CNC Drive Components: Stepper Motors. drive components. We will cover the reasons for having each and also the pros and cons as usual. Servo Motors. This is another one of those things that people often overlook. and secondly. Leadscrews Etc.

The table top.The CNC Router Table Top. However this style can be very. On the other hand. it is best to be knowledgeable about what kind of CNC router table will be best for you.cncroutersource. Where the magic happens The CNC Router Table Top The CNC router table top is where the cutting magic happens. If you are building your own CNC router .com/cnc-router-table-top. However. The Vacuum table top http://www. On higher end CNC router router tables now days.. I assure you there is a design that will fit your needs best. which offers numerous clamping options. For example.. This information should be very helpful to your design. can make the life of a CNC router operator enjoyable or a nightmare. there is still a lot of material to be covered regarding the cutting board. the type of table top is often overlooked or the significance underestimated. also called the cutting bed. However. you may find a combination of different types of cutting table tops. you might produce the same type of product on a daily basis which would push you towards a different style. However. if you are in the prototyping business.html (1 of 2) [8/6/2008 12:57:11 AM] . these are usually made of tooling steel and are extremely heavy. you will probably be working with all kinds of materials and shapes. your options are limited unless your budget allows. There are many advantages to the T-slot type table. Many times when buying a CNC router. This would probably push you towards a T-slot style. The T-slot tables found on CNC routers are usually made of extruded aluminum. The T-Slot table top The T-slot table is often seen on traditional CNC milling machines.

Where the magic happens The vacuum style CNC router table top is often found on higher end models.com/cnc-router-table-top. The perforated table offers a lot as far as.. Building your own CNC router table top The CNC router table top on a homemade machine is a very important considerations.. you would be surprised at how often we "bypass" those features. which I actually think is best because of its versatility. there are drawbacks. design of the table support and structure should NOT be overlooked. are very useful even if you have some other table top installed. Continue this section for step 6 of the builders guide. Especially if you are new to operating a CNC router. This table style.The CNC Router Table Top. However. Continue to The builders guide: Step 7 Spindle Selection Homepage http://www. I can't tell you how awful it makes you feel when you cut into your brand new t-slot or vacuum table..html (2 of 2) [8/6/2008 12:57:11 AM] .. The disposable bed can also. usually composed of one or two sheets of high density MDF board.. They can be very useful for many applications. Much cheaper than a T-slot style bed. The Perforated table top Similar to the vacuum table in appearance.cncroutersource. yet offers similar performance. the perforated table top is simple yet affective. For example the. Yes I know there are limit switches.. The "Disposable" table top The "The "Disposable" table top is actually one of my favorites. However. The budget usually pushes towards the MDF style cutaway table top. However. touch off pad and sensors to prevent that type of mistake.

html (1 of 2) [8/6/2008 12:57:30 AM] . If you are anywhere near neighbors or your own house. RPM. however.The CNC Router Spindle: Your ultimate resource The Router Spindle So what is the router spindle? Don't be confused by the "fancy" terminology. with the help of a cutting tool of course. “our machine offers a 7 HP router. that’s part of the challenge. I believe. You don’t want to be running an extremely load machine for hours at a time. However. Such as. Well look at types and features. In other words it’s the actual router of CNC router. Like most everything else involving CNC routers.com/router-spindle. The reason being.cncroutersource. mounting issues. etc. some made for metal. Most companies who sell CNC routers do a pretty good job of displaying the spindle capabilities. there are many choices to choose from within the same price bracket. and the collet type and size to say the least. As usual there are many factors involved when choosing a spindle for either your pre-build machine. then you should be well informed as to the capabilities of the spindle before you buy. this information is easily understood and appeals well to the reader. power requirements. many other important considerations. Again. I realize a lot of hobbyists are bound by budget which I respect. and much more. unless you want angry neighbors. If you are buying an industrial CNC router .” Most people readily understand these figures much more than linear bearings and lead screw information and make a direct link to the machines capabilities. there are a variety of spindle types out there. After all. or your homemade CNC machine. This section will go into detail regarding all aspects of spindles of all types. then this is a huge consideration. Some made for wood. One of the most important decisions for the hobbyists . The spindle is simple the actual motor doing the cutting. price ranges . which is somewhat true. load ratings. then you also need to make important decision regarding the router spindle. If you are building a CNC machine. http://www. For example. There are. is the noise level.

you will probably run across terms such as cutting force or chip load. Spindle Prices and Costs We'll look at general pricing of different types of spindles.. The one way to make a bad.. Alternatively. Mounting and Cooling Options There are many ways to mount a spindle head.. optimal feed rates and spindles speeds.cncroutersource. Cooling the spindle and the cutting tool is a major issue for some applications. there are ways to make your won spindle that is specific to your needs. Building your own For the mechanically minded enthusiasts out there..com/router-spindle. there are ways to crop parts from other machines to build a rather robust router spindle that is… Calculating Cutting Force While designing.The CNC Router Spindle: Your ultimate resource The Router Spindle: Types and Features There are as many tpes of spindles as there are types of CNC routers out there. We'll take a look at all types. or operating a CNC router.. from. Although I view this as an extra project and not a necessity as it would be hard to make something cheaper than what is available commercially. chip load.. Continue to: The Builders Guide Step 8 Homepage http://www. This section will describe how to calculate relative cutting force. This assures you aren't getting ripped off by.html (2 of 2) [8/6/2008 12:57:30 AM] . but there are very few ways to do it right.. building..

Controle Panel CNC Electronics CNC electronics are a vital part of any CNC machine. send it back or have them fix it. if you are buying a used machine. motor wiring. The control panel buttons.CNC Electronics: MPG's. However. If you are buying a new machine. Of course for a new machine. Things such as limit and proximity switches. These features are.com/cnc-electronics. this should be of little concern. Switches. have someone else do it. Buttons. in any case you should always have a professional inspect the machine if you find something to be faulty. Yet many people neglect these feature http://www. For the buyer If you are purchasing a CNC router . this section will help inform you on the electronic systems found on a CNC router and help you understand how they come together with other components to create a fully working machine. This should be checked before ever committing to buying a CNC router.cncroutersource. In this section we will cover all the electronics involved with a CNC router. etc.html (1 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:57:48 AM] . wiring. it would be highly recommended to check all the systems before hand. Whether you are building or buying a CNC router . correct cable sizing and selection etc. limit switches. Aside from the motors and CNC controllers . in my opinion. For the Builder There are many electronic aspects of a CNC router that are vital to its function. The chances of you shorting out other systems are not worth the risk of trying to fix it yourself or having the “Maytag repair man” look it over. you will probably know right from the start if something is wrong with the electronics. This doesn’t have to be the case. Many people feel more threatened by the electrical components than the mechanics of a machine. For high end CNC routers. everything should be in tip top shape and if not. For lower end models and hobby CNC routers . the electronics are usually very straightforward but if you don’t feel comfortable. there are many electronic components that assist in the machine operation. vital to building a reliable machine.

depending on the user. Such as manual pulse generators. Not to mention. Many of these “add-ons” cost only pennies to install and could save either your machine or the piece you are working on.com/cnc-electronics. For the most part. you can make you homemade CNC routers seem like one off the shelf. but do increase user friendliness.CNC Electronics: MPG's. The Following Section Covers The Control Panel Layout and Overview Features Building Your Own Buttons and Switches Overview E-stop Buttons Home Switches Misc. Controle Panel because of lack of “know how” or budget . home and e-stop buttons. There are also some CNC electronic features that are not often required. touch-off tool sensors etc. Switches Limit and Proximity switches Overview Limit Switches Normally On vs Normally Off Proximity Switches Manual Pulse Generators/Jog Wheels Overview True MPG Wheels Jog Wheel Other Options Wiring and Fusing Overview Wiring Your System Cable Selection Fuses Do’s and Don’ts Cable Tracks Connectors Overview Motor Connectors http://www. Switches.html (2 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:57:48 AM] . These things may or may not be essential to the machine. adding these components is by no means difficult.cncroutersource. With a few CNC electronic add-ons and a well constructed user panel. Buttons. increasing the overall look and feel of the machine.

Switches.CNC Electronics: MPG's. Connectors Lighting Overview Lighting your Work Shop Lighting Nifty Ideas Power Supplies (PSU’s) Overview Stepper/Servo PSU Controller PSU Building your Own DC PSU Shop Power Requirements Tool Sensors Overview Digital Tool Sensors Analog Tool Sensors Build a Touch off pad Breakout boards Overview Applications Options Build your Own Troubleshooting Need Help? Contact Us We will try and help you or provide you with someone who can assist you. Buttons. Back to Homepage from CNC Electronics http://www.com/cnc-electronics. Controle Panel DB9 Connectors DB25 Connectors Misc.html (3 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:57:48 AM] .cncroutersource.

html (1 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:57:58 AM] . there would be no CNC as we know it. A controller’s primary task is to drive electric motors that in turn drive a CNC machine. and so on.com/cnc-controller. Debugging an N/C program before the advent of the computerized NC required making a new tape. There were no direct links between the computer and controller on early systems. Although this term is still technically correct. the program. The process of debugging a new program could require making a dozen or http://www. or flame cutter).The CNC Controller: Everything you need to know buildone or buy one The CNC Controller The CNC controller is the heart of any CNC system. An NC controller receives a set of sequenced instructions. making another tape. finding the next error. Before the advent of microprocessors or computers. A controller completes the all important link between a computer system and the mechanical components of a CNC machine.cncroutersource. Without a controller. lathe. Computerized Numerically Controlled (CNC) controllers are sometimes still refereed to as Numerically Controlled (NC) controllers. Magnetic tape recorders and floppy disk drives were also being used for program recording and storage. much like the controllers today. A Brief History NC controllers were introduced in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The program would then be transported to the controller via a tape. NC controllers held the stage. The program was edited and programmed with the very basic computers of the time. The controller then uses this set of instructions to direct the motions of a machine tool (such as a milling machine. The term NC controller is usually used when describing older controllers. with the help of a mechanical drive system. consisting of alpha and numeric characters. trying out the new tape. This permitted the program instructions to be read by the controller's tape reader only once and then stored in the controller's memory.

In this section we’ll look at all types of CNC controllers that fit in this category. the NC controller now communicated directly to a computer system with a real time.found on high end machine. Engineering changes required a new tape to be made and debugged. The controllers’ today range from professional standalone system. Hobby CNC Controller systems .are generally much cheaper and usually require an external computer system and do not come with a user interface system.com/cnc-controller. The controllers today do far more than drive motors. This section continues the Builder’s Guide section . brands. and more. This is the CNC controller that most of us are familiar with.The CNC Controller: Everything you need to know buildone or buy one more punched tapes until an error free program was achieved.html (2 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:57:58 AM] . We’ll also look at some general pricing. spindles speeds. are usually standalone systems that offer their own user interface panel and many features. controllers can be broken down into two categories with respect to cost and abilities. and more. to hobby use CNC controllers that require a personal computer. with the use of powerful microprocessors and computer systems. Some controller systems have the capabilities to detect and control limit switches . Professional Controller Systems . We’ll discuss what http://www. with their own keyboard and user interface . Operators today receive help from CNC Software Software such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) packages and ComputerAided Manufacturing (CAM) software along with the controller software to are used to create the necessary numerical code such as G-code. feature. Modern Controllers Today. 1) Open Loop Systems 2) Closed Loop Systems Further more. coolant flow. Types of Controllers CNC Controllers can be broken down into two broad categories. including pricing. This section will discuss features and types of controllers that fit into this category.cncroutersource. Modern controllers still require operators to create a program for the controller to follow.

The CNC Controller: Everything you need to know buildone or buy one features and specifications you should look for and how to match a controller with your system. Back to the Builder's Guide Homepage http://www. Building your own controller For those who whish to save a few pennies and just need a simple controller to drive motors there is the option of building your own.com/cnc-controller.cncroutersource.html (3 of 3) [8/6/2008 12:57:58 AM] . This section will cover a complete guide on building your own CNC controller. We’ll cover everything from components to circuit boards and soldering techniques.

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