Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!


by ipeerbhai, published

EasyMaker by ipeerbhai May 11, 2012


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EasyMaker is a hybrid CNC mill and 3d printer. To be more accurate, it's a modular creation robot! The first two modules are an extruder module and a mill module. Others are possible! It has a very large print area, is faster than a Prusa, is easy to build with just a couple of hex wrenches, and currently mills wood and plastic. It uses only 3 motion motors instead of the typical 4. It can be upgraded to 4 motors for milling stronger materials. You can learn about it at peerbhairobotics.com/easymaker/. This is an Advanced Alpha prototype. This is very much a thing in progress!


There are quite a lot of assembly steps to build this. These instructions are rough at this time. EasyMaker is very easy to build -- if you get all the parts, you can figure out what goes where. I had a friend blind build one as a test, and it took him only a couple of hours to figure it out. If you put something in the wrong place, it becomes obvious that it can't work that way. The only difficulty is in initial calibration. Make sure everything is very well squared before using it. EasyMaker can go pretty fast as a 3d printer -- limiting factor is the extruder. I've done tests to the extruders limit at 90mm/s, and it could easily go faster if the extruder could handle it. I think the limit will be around 200 mm/s or so, but don't have an extruder that can reliably handle that speed yet. As a mill, it's designed around a relatively weak spindle. Light woods, plastics, and circuit boards only. A FordHam carving kit with the 44T spindle should also work, but I don't have it, and haven't tested it. With the fordham in place and the system configured to screw drive using 8mm precision screw from Misumi, I believe light aluminum work is possible -- again, untested.

  1. Cut the plastic parts. 1/4" Polycarbonate is probably your best material. Acrylic will work, but mars and cracks. It's prettier, but less functional. If you have access to the right tools, make the plastic parts out of 1/8" aluminum. The large XZ plate, which is the largest plastic plate, should be made out of U-channel if you can. This removes the need for the re-enforcement strips. The plastic parts are laid out for a 384x384 mm sheet.

  2. Cut the wooden parts out of 1/8" birch plywood. The DXF file is laid out for a 790x384 wood sheet. Other woods should work, as should MDF. 1/8" polycarbonate should also work. These parts are much longer than the others, and I worry about cost. I chose wood to keep it cheap. You can choose other materials if you like them better. The Main build plate is not heated in this design. You can replace it with borosilicate and motorcycle handle-warmers for heat, or use a heated print bed. The print-bed is much larger on this bot than a RepRap, so you'll need a beefy power supply to heat the bed.

  3. You'll need a hot-end, electronics, a rotary tool or router of some sort, and mounts. I've designed thing 19062 previously, and this will work to mount a Proxxon micromot 50 series. The 50EF is probably the better choice than the pure 50, since it gives you a dial for speed control. I have not yet designed mounts for other rotorary tools, but any ShapeOko mount will work on this bot as well.

  4. The wooden plates DXF file includes a mount for a Wade's extruder that will work with this bot or a ShapeOko mill, but not the support piece for the hot-end. Those should already be on thingiverse, and I just used one I already had laying around. The Piece used to mount a hot-end to a prusa will work fine here -- that's what I used.

  5. All 1/4" pieces are mounted with 12mm long M5 screws, with a 1mm M5 washer and T-Slot nuts. Misumi nuts are the cheapest I know of at this time. Almost all screws are M5, unless otherwise specified.

  6. All 1/8" pieces use 8mm screws.

  7. Printed pieces use either 8mm or 20mm screws. The screws to mount the MXL belt to the large XZ plate are 20mm long.

  8. The re-enforcement strips use 30mm long screws. You'll need 4.

  9. The MakerSlide wheels are mounted with 55mm long screws. You'll need 4.

  10. The Pillow Bearings are 12mm bearings -- McMaster sells them, as does VXB. VXB is much cheaper.

  11. The Rods are 12mm thick, 406mm long. 400 should work fine, as should 500. I recommend 500, as it gives you room to expand, and its cheap. You can go longer if you like --I think it can expand to 4 feet in any direction and still work as a printer. It likely is limited to 2 feet to function as a mill. You'll need to increase the thickness of the rod, mounts, and bearings to go larger than that. This design can scale to pretty much any size. Just make sure to get thicker rods and longer misumi rails. McMaster sells the rods at a good price. You can also buy 30-inch long rods and cut them from VXB. Get them plated with either chrome or black ceramic to extend the life in such a dusty environment.

  12. The Misumi rails: 2x HFS5-2040-600 , 2x HFS5-2040-375 ( I think 400 would be better. Haven't tried it on my bot, but 375 is the maximum height that fits in my trunk.). 4x HFS5-2020-341, 1x HFS5-2040-365.

  13. 1x MakerSlide rail, 375mm long. 4 Dual bearing v wheels.

You can laser-cut the Z EndStop Mount, but it has to be very thin and flexible, but not too flexible material. The Z End Stop mount is used to mount a micro-switch to the makerslide Z beam. It must be thin and flexible, so that the switch will engage, but have some flex if you give it bad G-Code. A thick part will damage the MakerSlide wheel, or break itself. A thin part will flex, then bind. Exactly the behavior you want in case you made a GCode error.

I re-uploaded the PlasticParts.dxf file -- I forgot a couple of plates.

Here's the full costed BOM:

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Do you have an alternate url to your website, the domain is expired so the blog is unreachable by the original name. Thanks

Ive been following the design of your cnc/printer for a little while now and I really like the look of it, but just have a few questions, but the biggest one atm is will it mill soft/thin aluminum? like 1/8th inch thick plate?

Thank you so the only thing I will need to change then is my 'Z' end-stops to work in reverse and move it to the top position and not the bottom which is were I have it when printing.

Hi building my own version and would like to know what software do you use to control this as a mill? My firmware is Merlin and will be using a Dremel as the spindle.

Any 3d printer software will work to control it as a mill. I use Pronterface to control the device, and Skeinforge to generate GCode. PyCam is also a good GCode generator for milling. All that matters is that you have GCode and something to send the GCode to the electronics.

Very nice! I like the idea of being able to use it as a printer and a mill.