Cheap CNC Router

by nic6911, published

Cheap CNC Router by nic6911 Jan 10, 2013





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One of my homemade CNC machines. This is a relatively cheap version. The linear guides consists of 608zz bearings and plumbing pipe

NEW version available here:


Plumbing pipe ½" 21,3mm outside diameter:

42x 608ZZ bearings
12x 1½" U-bolts (see picture)
2 metres of 8mm threaded rod
6x M8 long nuts (coupling nut for assembling two rods)
32x M6x50mm bolts
32x M6 (10mm diameter, 20mm in length) furniture assembly nuts (see picture)
24x M8X16mm bolts
24x M8 Nuts
Aluminium angle 20x20mm 1.5mm thickness
Around 2m M5 threaded rod for mounting the steppers and the dremel
52x M5 nuts
16x M5 spacers
Rubber fuelhose with inner diameter of 5-6mm for holding the dremel and for steppercouplings.

22mm MDF - for all the parts

3 Nema 23 steppers
Any stepper driverboard ( i can recommend those from http://cnc4you.co.uk/ or gecko G540)
Power supply according to the driverboard and stepper specifications
And of course, a Dremel

more parts to come...

In this version i have used a cheap china stepper driver board from ebay. I can only say that you get what you pay for! It is possible to get it to work with the cheap boards, but you have to go really slow to avoid missing steps. They are not designed very good, and tweaks found on the net does not make them much better. I have used Gecko G540 with great succes, it is a superb board. But also a breakoutboard combined with the cheap stepper drivers from the link in the BOM does a great job like the Gecko.

Software used for running the machine:
Linux EMC2

CAM program used:

Unfortunately i only have a very poor video of the machine in action. I have sold it, so i can't make a new video. The video is played at played at 4 times original speed.

The thing is marked as work in progress as i will continue to fill out the BOM and also write some instructions if anyone is showing interest in this.

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Very clever linear guides! Your machine is very nice, congratulations!

Thanks. But I can't take the credit for developing these guides. It's just an alteration of a design I stumbled across on youtube five years ago or so. But it works very well indeed!

really liked your machine. tell me how well engrave a shallow parts? and how big a difference? maybe you have photos of works made on it?

I have not done so much engraving with this machine. In general I prefer to build the machines, but don't have much interest in using them afterwards. I just like the process in building end developing the machines :-)
So I don't really have any work I can show you.

Comments deleted.

How did you do the half depth recesses holding the pipe ends?

Dec 25, 2014 - Modified Dec 25, 2014
nic6911 - in reply to MichaelAtOz

For the first machine I used a 22 mm flat drill for wood. For this particular machine I had built another CNC to cut out the parts for me (and also the holes for the pipe ends). But the 22 mm flat drill works just fine!

Regards Mogens

Visit med @ www.nengineering.dk

Comments deleted.

what size u-bolts in centimeters?

Hi, here's a little more detail on the u-bolt dimensions:
Inner diameter: 50 mm, Inner length: 70 mm, Threading: M8, Threading length: 30 mm

Regards Mogens

Visit med @ www.nengineering.dk

If you don't mind I'm going to post a video series on my YouTube channel of me building one of these

Hi. I don't mind. It's open source. It might be a help for people wanting to build one. Just give me a link to the series, I would like to see it :)

Should I be able to send the DXF files you posted to my local shop to be cut on their CNC?

Yeah, the measurements should be correct, so I don't see why not. But remember that the holes for the plumbing pipe should not be cut through, only half way. And the wood needs to be 22mm.

Also I guess that the shop cannot drill the holes that needs to be drilled in the end of some of the parts. That is the holes required to assemble the machine. It's a bit hard to explain, but from the drawing and pictures you should be able to see what I mean...

if i made this so the cutting bed was able to cut 400mm x 400m, do you reckon 3mm aluminium be strong enough?


Is the aluminium for the bed? If it is, I would consider placing aluminium angles underneath for support. But it depends on how heavy the parts you wan't to cut are...

ill probably take the gantry sides but the bed i want a replaceable mdf bed i want a machine that can gut 6mm acrylic and strong enough to take some nema23s and a bigger spindle hence why aluminium but I don't want to cut nothing to heavy for instance 6mm aluminium and no other metals

With only 3mm aluminium for the gantry sides I think you will get resonance in the gantry.

many thanks for the photo additions. Just waiting for parts to arrive so build can start !

Looking forward to details BOM, pictures and instructions! I have started collecting parts for construction ASAP !

Hi. I have added some more to the BOM and some pictures that should help you building the machine. At the moment I don't have the time for writing detailed instructions, but it should be possible to make this build with the drawings, pictures and BOM I have provided so far

Hi. I have added some more to the BOM and some pictures that should help you building the machine. At the moment I don't have the time for writing detailed instructions, but it should be possible to make this build with the drawings, pictures and BOM I have provided so far

Much appreciated.... Do you see any problem with this setup moving a slightly larger router around the table ? I am thinking http://www.makita.com/en-us/Modules/Tools/ToolDetails.aspx?Name=RT0700Chttp://www.makita.com/en-us/Mo...

That should be possible. But I think you will have to keep the travelspeed low to avoid resonance.

Cool, I like the idea for the linear guides, I've got some bearings on order, I expect I'll have a go at this when they get here. What would the estimated travel be? (Difficult to get an idea of the perspective from the picture.)

As far as I remember the travel on the X-axis was around 600mm and Y was around 400mm. But looking at the drawings in a cad program will give you the exact values.

Yes, please continue adding a BOM and instructions. I've wanted to build a CNC like this for about a year now! :)

How much would you estimate it costs to build one?

You could run it on a ATX PSU, which you can get for free many places. The cheapest chinese driver board is around 45$ and steppers can be found at 30$. The bearings can be found at the price of 25$ for 50pcs. Then there is threaded rod, tuping, MDF, nuts, bolts and a dremel. My guess would be everything in between 250 and 450 depending on how lucky you are with getting the parts cheap.

Here in Denmark things are quite pricy and there is a lot of tax when importing things from outside the European Union. So i would have to pay around 400$ for these parts.

CNC means Computer Numerical Control, this item is a CNC Router. There are many different machines that are CNC.

yes I know.. Just thought that people could figure that out when looking at the picture, but if it is to confusing I will just add Router to the name.