Ok - so I've embarked on a project that is pretty exciting (at least to me) :) - I'm building my own homemade CNC machine

(This is my first machine and this post is several years old now - please make sure to check out my second machine after this one! :)
I'll post links to stuff and pictures of my progress so y'all can share in my excitement!

I'm building it from MDF as so many others before me have done (like at the CNCZone) and I'll use the machine to make parts for my next build (that's the plan)

One last note to start: I'm using the stepper motors from old dot matrix printers that I've scrounged up and trying to build everything I can from stuff I can get at Home Depot or Lowe's :) - I actually ended up with a bunch of motors that were too small for my use - so if anyone needs some small stepper motors - I'll put them up on eBay...

Here's a shot of the base

Here is the chamfer on the side of the base where the rails will sit

Here's a preview of how the angle will fit
Preview of angle

Here's a preview of the supports (later changed)

Here's the top of the base with the supports attached - holes are countersunk and hard to see :)
Base With Supports

Here's a look at the supports
Under the base

Here's a look at two completed rail assemblies and how they will fit on the rails

Here's a shot of the almost completed controller - I had to wait until I got a power supply so I could test the voltage before putting the expensive parts on ;)
Almost completed Controller

I did a test to see which glues would hold best - basically I glued four pieces of the aluminum angle to a test piece of MDF (using Super Glue, Gorilla Glue, Contact Cement, and Mighty Putty) and then banged it around and on the ground and the piece that fell off last (after I really had to whack it HARD on the ground) was the contact cement... (Super Glue came off first, then the Mighty Putty, then the Gorilla Glue, and finally the Contact Cement)

Here's a shot of the base with the rails attached (glued with contact cement)
Rails attached

Another look at the base with the rails attached
Base With Rails Attached 2

Here's the base with the sides attached
Base With Sides

Here's a look at the cross dowel connection
Cross Dowels

Here's another look at the cross dowel connections
Cross Dowels 2

Ok - starting to work on the Gantry now...

Here I'm setting up to route the notch that the rail assemblies will fit into
Router Setup

and here's the finished notches :)

Here's a preview of how the rail assemby will fit into the notch
Rail in Notch preview

Another shot of the rail assembly in the notch
Rail in Notch 2

Got the Power supply and the voltage checked out so I finished the controller board
Completed Controller

Here's a look at the power supply
Power Supply

I had to redo the rail assemblies
New Rail Assemblies

Another view of the new rail assemblies
New Rail Assemblies

Another view of the new rail assemblies
New Rail Assemblies

Heres's the almost finished gantry

Here's a view of the gantry underneath
Below Gantry

Here's a Video of the gantry moving :)

Gantry Moving

Got the rails glued onto the Y Axis
Y Axis Rails

The Y Axis Rails on the Gantry
Y Axis Installed on Gantry

Found these stick on rubber feet I thought would be good for the power supply
Power Supply Feet

This is my good for nothing lazy dog LOL - This is what she does while I'm working ha ha
Lazy Dog

Here are some pictures of the finished computer set up with the controller and power supply all in the case...

Final Computer Setup
Final Computer Setup

Heat Sinks and Motor Connections
Heat Sinks and Motor Connections

Power Supply
Power Supply

DB9 Inside
DB9 Inside

DB9 Outside
DB9 Outside

Getting the Y-Axis going :) here's a few pics and one video... I think that the Gantry is too tall - so I'm going to move the Y-Axis down too


Y-Axis 2

Y Axis Moving

4/26/2008 - Made a little progress today :) here's the pics and a few videos...

Lead Screw Nut Idea

Lead Screw Bearing

Lead Screw Nut Installed

X Axis Bearing

X Axis Lead Screw Nut

Testing the Lead Screw with a Drill

Soldering the DB9 Connector

Finished DB9

All the Axis Connectors Done

Here are two videos of me testing the Axis Lead Screws :)

X Axis Test

Y Axis Test

Ok - made a little progress last night and took another step back... Basically long story short - I went to turn on the computer to test the motor and the computer isn't booting right now - grrrr - LOL I think it's the motherboard - it was a little flakey before and I swapped a few components out to no avail... I'll have it replaced tonight and we'll see.... OK - without further ado - here's the latest pictures :)

Working on the motor mount / coupler - I think I got both to an acceptable "first machine" state :)

Motor Support

Motor Wires

Motor Mount

Motor Mount 2

X and Y motors installed

Here's a look at the set up of the computer and about where the machine will sit - I can tuck it back in that cubby behind it when not in use :)
(oh and in the end I cleaned up those wires) :)

Front view of the machine so far

Computer Set Up

Here's two videos of me testing (read that playing) with the motors :)

Playing with Y Axis

testing X and Y Motors

Ok - the machine is pretty much finished with the Z Axis assembly done and all the motors installed and working
I still need to tune them to make sure I'm cutting exact sizes...
Also the Dremel set up will be one of the first things I upgrade - probably to a trim router - but this seems to work pretty good so far

The Machine!

The Bit Clamp

Another look at the bit

Cutting (almost)

And here's a video of the cirlce I cut out :)

Cutting a Circle

Here's my first official piece (Peace) that I designed and cut! :) and the video of doing it (sped up 200%)

First Peace

Cutting the Peace Sign
Cutting the Peace Sign (Smaller)

Ok! Finally an update!!! :) it's been a few weeks and I've been cutting a few things here and there and realized the Dremel isn't going to make the team... I know - I know everybody said it wouldn't - but I had to give it the chance :) it's just not powerful enough and I have to go really slow to get good cuts... So... after much research - I found a really good router to replace it... The Hitachi M12VC! I actually bought a factory reconditioned one and it's working great!

This router is awesome - and has really upgraded my machine a lot! - I will post video very soon of it working - until then here are some pictures to get you going :)

New Router Holder

New Router Holder Installed

Hitachi M12VC Router