View Full Version : BUILD LOG: My Build

14-05-2009, 10:29 PM
Well itís been nearly four years since I started to look at building my own machine, my interest started because I was looking for an alternative to using chemicals for making printed circuit boards, after finding a home built CNC controlled PCB engraver on Ebay I started searching and soon found CNC building forums like this one.

After reading a lot of the threads I started to design my own machine using Autocad, because my initial interest was PCBís I was only looking to build a small machine , I started to acquire various bits, the first being three Gecko 210 stepper drivers and three Nema 34 stepper motors.

Fortunately for me (or unfortunately depending which way you look at it) I work in a factory which uses quite a bit of automation and over a period of time I have acquired a lot of very lightly used ball screw assemblies, linear rail and carriages and aluminium extrusion which has dictated the final size of my machine and already with bigger sections becoming available as I write this I am redesigning it already.

I built all the electrical/electronics first. My power supply is home built giving me around 50 volts dc to power my steppers and capable of delivering around 16 amps. Although I have had my machine running it is still very much work in progress, I have purchased a MPG, a small PLC with MODBUS capability to give me more I/O and also I have just received a three phase water cooled spindle and VFD all of which require fitting and setting up . Anyway thatís enough of me babbling on, as they say a picture paints a thousand words here are a few photoís, I have also taken some video of it cutting some MDF nothing exciting so once I figure out how to upload it I will do so.

Specs at the moment:-

X Axis 650mm
Y Axis 650mm
Z Axis 200mm

5mm Pitch Ball Screws On All Axis
Hiwin 25mm Rails And Carriages on X and Z Axis
Hiwin 30mm Rails And Carriages on The Y Axis
Gecko 210 Stepper Drivers
3Nm Stepper Motors On All Axis
CNC4PC 11T BOB And the C10

Mach 3



14-05-2009, 10:44 PM
Im not sure how the photo's will upload so here goes

Well not very well, Lee if you are out there this is the message I received

"Your submission could not be processed because a security token was missing.

If this occurred unexpectedly, please inform the administrator and describe the action you performed before you received this error."

The action I performed was to try and upload some photo's from my pc

I will try again later

Lee Roberts
14-05-2009, 11:47 PM
I'm looking into it as we speak andy !

15-05-2009, 09:08 PM
Well I will try again with the photo's I will just try one to start, if it is successful it shoul be some of my parts after machining ready for assembly

15-05-2009, 09:17 PM
Well I will try again with the photo's I will just try one to start, if it is successful it shoul be some of my parts after machining ready for assembly


All that lovely precision guided railery, you lucky man!

Looking forward to seeing this machine come together Andy and really looking forward to anything you might have to say on your MODIO stuff too :smile:


15-05-2009, 09:21 PM
Looks like he means business :)

I like the hand scraped and levelled trusses ;)

15-05-2009, 09:37 PM
Ok that seems to have worked.


The next photos show my machine through various stages of my build.

The first is a side view of my built up Z axis,the next is my X axis and Z parts built. The next part I built up was the table that it all was going to sit on.

After mounting to the table I started to wire in my limits and homing switches these all terminated into a junction box on the rear of my gantry I used shielded cable where possible then used a multicore shielded cable to connect them to my main control box.
The main control box was fastened to the side of the table then the Y axis was built up and assembled.

15-05-2009, 09:42 PM
Wow replies already thanks guys.

Yes Bill those trusses are older than me! They have started to rot but I dont want to throw them away as they were built by my grandad when he was an apprentice wheel wright.

15-05-2009, 09:50 PM
Ok so here are some photos of the electronics side of things

15-05-2009, 10:07 PM
And here is the future "to do" list, first photo shows the 2.2Kw spindle and VFD, I have had this powered up and ran it up to 24,000 RPM it is so smooth and quiet carn't wait to get onto the machine and try it.

The next is the MPG this was purchased from Gary at Zapp,after talking to Jeff to find out how he had connected his I realised I was fast going to run out of I/O so I purchased the CUBLOC plc which has modbus connectivity. I have had this connected to my control PC and managed to fire outputs : ).

As I progress through the above "to do" list I will keep you posted with my progress (or not)

Well thats about it for now.


15-05-2009, 10:21 PM
Hi Kip

No they are 210's as for the speaker boxes that is one of the things I would like to have a go at. So much to do so little time to do it I wish I had started when I was 20 ; )

Lee Roberts
15-05-2009, 10:23 PM
Looookinng good Andy!

I happened to run a price check against linear bearings on eBay last night, I noticed you on their feedback having purchased the spindle.

Interesting, what are they like in terms of noise over a conventional Router?

Any noticeable "run out" on the spindle or have you not got that far yet?

Just wondering what they would be like against the ones Gary is selling. Also how did they ship it to you, are you expecting a tax bill to come in or?

15-05-2009, 10:34 PM
Hi Lee

Very very quiet as for the runout I havn't got that far. No tax bill ; ).

I think you can buy exactly the same set up cheaper from other sellers, but I used this seller due to the amount of people who had used him and he is very helpful plus plenty of people to help out, although I must say with the english manual the VFD was quite easy to set up. The plan is to control it through Mach using the CNC4PC BOB I have, as it has a 0 to 10 volt output to control the speed.

17-05-2009, 02:23 PM
Hi Andy,

Looks good!

Where in Notts are you?

Lee Roberts
17-05-2009, 06:19 PM
Ok thanks andy ill keep looking !

17-05-2009, 10:48 PM
Hi Michael

Sutton-in-Ashfield just off Junc 28 of the M1.

Lee just one thing to be aware of with spindles if noise is a factor,the water cooled ones are reportedly much quieter.


Lee Roberts
18-05-2009, 01:44 AM
Ok andy thanks for the info, maybe if you find time you could send me a little movie of the spindle running, i can upload it to youtube if need be.

25-05-2009, 02:29 PM
You must want to make some biiiiiig PCBs, Andy!

25-05-2009, 06:28 PM
:biggrin: I hav'nt got a clue what I will be using it for, I will be stripping it back down soon to make some changes for the bigger spindle.

Lee I will video the spindle running and post on here as soon as.


12-06-2009, 11:34 PM
Hi All

Just posted this on Youtube for anybody that is interested, not very exciting but thought it would give people some idea on the noise levels of the water cooled spindles.



John S
12-06-2009, 11:53 PM
My air cooled one is a lot quieter than that, in fact when I video'd it it was dead silent.

Then I found out that my Panasonic camera had video but no sound :heehee:

A word of warning with these spindles, some, not all of the Chinese sellers are specifying NSK bearings but they don't have NSK's fitted but a generic no brand Chinese bearing.

Unfortunately unless you strip one there is no way of knowing, many of the sellers are also just resellers and not manufacturers so asking a question isn't forced to get you a truthful answer.
The next bling gotta have is Ceramic bearings

Ceramic bearings from a well known maker are good for high speeds, not so well known makers are rubbish and the problem is, crash a spindle with ceramic bearings and they are toast, even the best ones.

Personally I'd sooner replace a set of decent bearings every year than take a chance.

13-06-2009, 12:02 AM
Hi John

Thanks for the info, the seller of this spindle did'nt specify any make of bearing so will more than likely be a cheapo one. I have to strip down the top half to connect an earth cable :eek: so I will take a peek at the bearing while I'm on with it.


13-06-2009, 11:47 AM
Just a quick video of my machine pocketing out some MDF.

My machine is in bits at the moment so I will hopefully get something a bit more interesting
posted once rebuilt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYanKmyzLfg"]YouTube - Cutting


13-06-2009, 07:16 PM
Very impressive noise levels Andy, I have to get one :smile:

How do you intend doing the watercooling?


13-06-2009, 08:06 PM
Hi Jeff

Well I'm impressed (but that don't take much) I think most of the noise in the video is coming from the VFD cooling fan.For the water cooling I am going to try a CPU cooling setup, I have seen one over on CNC Zone donethis way and they say it works well,we will have to see.
I am hoping to get all the machining finished tomorrow so I can start to rebuild my machine, so hopefully in the next fortnight should see it running again with the new spindle setup. (and some MODBUS functions) :geek:


05-07-2009, 09:28 PM
Hi all just a quick update for anyone that might be interested.

After running my newly built router I decided that it could do with a few tweeks.
The first photo shows the front view of the new X axis mount plate I have removed the center bearing rail cut it down and used two pieces to join onto the other two rails to make two longer rails with two carriages on each. This has given me full travel of my ball screw so should get about 750 to 800 mm of travel.

The second photo is a side view of the above.

The third photo shows the bolting arrangement of the 160mm x 80mm Item section this was added to lift the gantry so the Y axis rails can be mounted on the underside of the table as opposed on the side.

The rest of the photo's are just various views of the upgrades, the last two are of a proposed PC control cabinet, I have already mounted the 15 inch screen which was just a nice fit the space underneath the screen will be for various buttons to control Mach via Modbus.

I will mount this to the side of the machine with some type of articulated arm so it can be positioned out of the way when not in use.


09-09-2009, 11:42 PM
Hi All

Well I have had my upgraded (I think) machine running tonight,it's been a long time happening :eek:

Some photo's just to show what I have been up to.

1: Showing the new water cooled spindle mounted.

2: A close up of the above

3:Back view showing VHD and water cooling system(to be finished)

4:The Pilz relay control enclosure with the 24v control power supply and mains filter feeding the VFD. I fitted two new e-stops both with twin contacts the pilz relay monitors both channels just some extra safety I did'nt want 3HP running a mock in my garage :eek:

5:View of inside the finished control panel now with a bleed resistor fitted to drain the caps this is wired through a normaly closed pair of contacts on the Pilz safety relay.

6: Some engraving I did tonight just to try it out, which I was fairly pleased with.

I still have things to finish but at least I'm up and running again :yahoo:

I will try and upload the video I took of the machine running tomorrow.

John S
09-09-2009, 11:44 PM
That's neat wiring, nice job.

09-09-2009, 11:46 PM
Thanks John

10-09-2009, 12:10 AM
Top job Andy, very nice looking build.

Where in Nottingham are you? I may have to come round and have a look at it and pick your brain on the spindle front.

10-09-2009, 12:44 AM
Just off Junc 28 of the M1, you are welcome anytime.


Oh and thanks for the comments :beer:

11-09-2009, 09:51 AM
Here's the first video, all its doing here is engraving MDF with a Router V bit.

The spindle is running at 12000 RPM not sure what the feedrate was I was to busy watching what the spindle was doing.


11-09-2009, 09:55 AM
This video is much the same only this time cutting some plastic laminate material.



John S
11-09-2009, 12:27 PM
Hey Andy.
that first video, if you play it backwards and speed it up it's playing the Beatles "Let it be " :rofl:

11-09-2009, 01:46 PM
Nice lol

Some people have too much time on their hands :lmao:

11-09-2009, 11:20 PM
Well, don't know about "let it be" by the beatles but listening to it on youtube sounds more like Chewbacca from Star Wars.

Andy, that nice looking machine of yours is making some odd noises, is that the stepper motors i can hear????

But, John does know how to make stepper motors sing, he did get them playing "auld lang syne" or something similar a few weeks back.

John S
11-09-2009, 11:29 PM
It was actually 76 Tombones, not into this philistine cat murdering music from north of Telford.


11-09-2009, 11:37 PM
Who the f^&k is Tom Bones???? Are you getting mixed up with Tom Jones, I know you like to wear your shirt unbuttoned and that gold madellion is a bit over the top but never wanted to mention it until now.

But seriously, try and get that recorded and stick it on the forum because I do remember it being quite good...

11-09-2009, 11:59 PM
Hi Steve

Yes it is the steppers you can hear, they were turning very slowly and I hav'nt finished setting them up yet so might be that, or might be just the noise they make.

I have had it running a bit faster this afternoon and sounded ok so not sure whats going on in the vid?


21-09-2009, 08:36 PM

I have now tuned my steppers and they sound alot different now ; )


Lee Roberts
21-09-2009, 09:11 PM
L m a o ! ! ! !

21-09-2009, 10:06 PM
LMAO..... Quality!

John S
21-09-2009, 11:00 PM
Any suggestions on a sound track for this ?



21-09-2009, 11:25 PM
What about this.......


(Please note - those who are easily offended then don't f&cking click on the link above)

John S
21-09-2009, 11:36 PM


21-09-2009, 11:41 PM



Lol !..

09-11-2009, 08:49 PM
Thanks for the comments Chip

Hoping to get it back up and running by the end of the week, after doing the engraving I was not happy with the level of the bed, so stripped the bed back down and took it to work, set it up on the granite table then welded the aluminium extrusion. I am just about ready for fly cutting the top so hopfully all should be well.