Repairablemachines: miniCNC

by lievenstandaert, published

Repairablemachines: miniCNC by lievenstandaert Jun 10, 2011

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This is a desktop-size, open-source milling machine in kitform, built from lasercut parts.
We know several people have tried to put a Dremel inside a Makerbot, but we don't think this makes much sense. You'll have a high center of gravity and a light frame. We love our Makerbots, but we think if we put a Dremel toolhead in them, they'll just vibrate apart :)

We designed something from the ground up to be stable, rugged and still light-weight enough to be carried around. (actually, the one I'm showing in Paris this weekend now features a suitcase handle on the steel frame)

The machine has an open floor, allowing it to do a milling operation on a large object.

The machine was specifically developed to have a low center of gravity and be a portable, yet stable platform.

The machine uses a microATX 12V power supply and Makerbot electronics

The current version has a 175x175 mm cutting area.

The machine can easily be enlarged along the X-axis, as the machine is built from a number of modular parts.

There's a short video of the working machine on http://www.repairablemachines.com/updates.html
You'll also find some stuff we made with it there.

The plans are uploaded here and on www.repairablemachines.com.
We also make kits for this machine, we can provide you with all the parts you need to assemble this into a fully working milling machine

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2011: we published version 1.08 of this machine
It now has:
-improved accuracy, better than 0.2mm
-version numbering engraved on all parts
-a more rigid Z-axis


Assembly instructions and full documentation can be found at:

A parts list is published on:

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Your web site appears to be down right now.  Is this still an active project?  I'm interested in more info!

have you tried etching copper with this? is it precise enough? 8-)

I really love this design, I think it is quite functional, and alow for a good alignment of the working area with the lower working plane, really good job :)

It was nice to see your machine working at Malaupixel festival !

It's a superb design and i am happy to see it here ;-)

Cheers and see you soon !


Nice! :)

I'm going to attempt to build one (for as cheaply as possible- using hardware I have to hand) but I only have a 200 series dremel. I assume this won't fit as is and the lasercut Z-sled will need slightly re-designing?

Any ideas specifically which parts would need re-sizing for the 200 series (before I get the parts lasercut?)

Cheers and again V. Nice Work! ;)

You need to look for the 'Z-block' in the plans and documentation.

This is the block that holds the Dremel. It consists of 4 top plates and a hinge that clamp the dremel,

and 1 or 2 bottom plates where the 'nose' of the Dremel is screwed in.

I a Dremel200 is wider dan a 300 you will also need to adjust the top op block E so it can pass.


typo's: If a Dremel200 top of block

mental note: first have coffee, then type

Thanks that's great- now I just need to work out how much to enlarge/reduce to make the 200 fit.

Also I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding the plans.
I downloaded the v.103 a couple of days ago (from here) and have since downloaded it again as I suspected it got corrupted and now there is extra info there (a 'plans' box) have you uploaded a newer version with the same filename? Btw t
he file download link on your site doesn't apper to work. :(

The version 103 dxf I noticed there is a lot of 'extra' vector information there; e.g. on the base plate there are several 'cut lines' which appear to cut the whole plate almost in half and into several rectangular pieces. Also there is n
othing in the E: Y-Sled box? Are these the same dxf files you use to laser cut your parts, and what software are you using? I've tried in 2D-Design, sketchup, solidworks E-drawings and Autocad 2010, I can only seem to open it up reliably in Autocad.

Sorry for all the questions! :-[


-I'm using Intellicad. I reuploaded the DXF in the 2000-version to be sure, but it looks fine here. I tested the DXF in Draftsight, in which it also works. (Draftsight is free and a good 2D-CAD tool)
-only the red lines are intended to be cut. Everything in black are guidelines or engravings.
re are some engraved lines on the floor panel to have a check on alligning the other blocks)
-the dxf is organised in frames, from left to right. Each frame is one block. If there are multiple frames below each other there are multiple versions of the same thing
. The Y-seld drawings were a bit lowe
r, I put them in the empty box. (ou weren't missing anything)
-I fixed the link on the site, and made it into zip-files, as some browsers don't seem to like DXF-files.
-you should see a set of plans in the frames called "plans" :)
-if you have easy access to a lasercutter, it might be a good idea to
do a quick testcut in cardboard to see how everything fits and how you can change it for your Dremel

Try this new version
amp; best of luck


It will be fun to put wheels on this.

Better yet: put tough tank-treads on it and you might be able to get it to mill anything it can roll over. That'd mean it could mill things larger than itself, right? :)

Don't put it on the kitchen floor..

I am not at liberty to discuss our 12V-batterypowerd, lasernavigation, inertial guidance G-code-compatible Douglas-adams-inspired Dremeltank project, nor do I confirm such project exists.


Ok , don't tell me about it and i will not build one ;)

Amazing, great work! (I would like to flattr that!)

Very neat. I was reading through the docs and parts list - I didn't find how long the 8mm and 12mm rods are. Other than that, I was also wondering where to get 4mm MDF in the States (4mm multi-ply plywood is easy - thin MDF is not).


I updated the dxf and added assembly parts. You can find the measurements of the rods in there. The screws aren't detailed in there yet, but you buy them in 1m lengths anyway...

I'll finish

You're right, the measurements for the rods aren't in there. I'll update the part list and dxf tomorrow.

The 4mm MDF is a cheap material in Europe, which we started using for low-cost prototyping. We stuck with it, as it cuts really nice and doesn't warp.

Just tried to do some searching for 4mm MDF, can't really find any locally or online within the US thats a reasonable price. Anyone know of where to get some? And if not, can we maybe get a 1/4" or 6mm MDF version of the files for us folks that unfortunately live in the non-Metric world? :-P

The functionality of this machine could be extended if it could also be attached on top of other machines.

One example would be an optional Z-bed system. Simply slot the milling machine into the top of the Z-body, connect the new z-axis to the controller, switch the Dremel for an extruder, and then you have a 3D printer.

To use a milling machine again, disconnect the z-bed system, slide the main part
out and place on milling surface.

Alternatively place it above a rotary system and it becomes a small lathe.

Potentially a very flexible system which could mill the pieces for its own functional extensions.

It would appear that you can place this anywhere on a large work piece and mill into the surface!

What an inspired idea - brilliant! :)

Great idea. Could be used as a plotter/vecter cutter as well. I've wanted a small CNC for drawing on windows.

Place an aluminium carbide tip on the Dremel and you can engrave the windows. :)

and some suction cups too!

Now you can break into a bank vault with precision!

School desk graffiti will never be the same.

Thank you.

Yes, we've designed it to do exactly that.