View Full Version : CNC Self build

totally useless
08-02-2015, 08:17 PM
Hi All

I have been on this site previously, but was not financially ready to purchase a ready made CNC Router machine.
However i did receive some great advice from members in particular from "jazzcnc", i am in a much healthier position now going forward and. i am now leaning towards attempting to build my own,

i ideally want a cutting area of around 24" x 24" will be routing/engraving into MDF, softwood maybe plastic
looked at the 6040s available on ebay, but i recall advice stating for around 2000+ i could build myself a much better cnc than i could buy.

Are there any cnc plans that i could follow/purchase as a starting point, maybe a plan that is suitable for my needs with suggestions on what motors / spindles materials ect?

So i am about to trawl through the self build section to read about what to buy what not to buy, but please feel free to offer any advice you feel may help or be relevant to building a cnc router. for example i read that kress spindles are good?
anyway looking forward to posting lots more questions to the CNC Wise wizards who live on this here forum.

Thanks guys


09-02-2015, 03:31 PM
Hi Pete welcome back. Good to see you didn't rush in and waste your money.

With 2K you'll build a very capable and nice machine. Unfortunately there aren't any plans worth looking at in my opinion and in anycase you don't need any you have a Forum full of INFO and plans.

First Advise I'm going to OFFER, Nah INSIST is that you DONT buy anything yet.!! The most common mistake made is for people to rush out and start buying components before they even know what they need or even what they are buying.!

Building a good CNC machine is quite a lot of work with many steps, two or three Major and lots of minor steps. Strictly speaking these steps don't have to be done in order but in practice it is best if they are done in some order.

First Major step is Design machine to accurate level but don't get carried away try going into every last detail, often things will change and need to be adapted as you go along. Using CAD to design is a good idea if possiblle and will help highlight any problems with design clash's and give exact dimensions for major components which makes second Major step easier. It will also help form an order of attack.?

Building is like eating an elephant.? . . . best done One small bite at a time.! So attack it by breaking down into segmants when building. And Like building any good structure it all starts with the foundations so start with frame and work upwards. These are the minor steps and many of them.

Next major Step is deciding on Components and when to buy.? Step one will help here as it will give dimensions for the major parts like ballscrews and linear rails.
Other things like motors and drives can be decided based on Mass they need to move and how deep your pockets are.! . . In practice thou if using steppers which most do, then it often boils down to just a few common choices based on machine size.
When it comes to electronics this aspect often scares people to death as it's very important for success and very expensive if got wrong. In practice it's not that difficult and key to success is not to cut corners.
Buying cheap electronics is false economy and if you speak to anyone who has success fully built with no issues chances are they all will have spent many hours/days/weeks/months researching the electronics or have been advised by someone like me on what to buy. The ones who rush out and buy on price are the ones who have most trouble and I guarantee 95% of US, me included, have done this just that only 1% admit to it. . Lol
Other thing is don't buy the electronics untill needed as chances are it will be many weeks or months before you'll need them and your wasting warrenty. Testing on bench is nice and exciting for few hours then it's just sat around waiting for rest of machine so leave it untill machine is very well on it's way.

Final Major step is Software.! Try to identify what your going to do with the machine and choose CAD and CAM software that will best suit your needs and pockets. Also which control software your going to use to control the machine, Ie Mach3 or Linux Cnc etc.

Then start learning it NOW.!! . I often see people under estimate how much time needs investing in learning software and when they have built the machine it's weeks or months before they can correctly use the machine as they are struggling to create G-Code. Or should say create G-code that does what they want.!
Most Cad/CAM and control software will give Demo modes and allow you to try them before buying. You can in affect create the whole process start to finish and simulate in the Machine Control software to see how it would cut Just machine wouldn't be attached.

Hope this helps and look around work out a design that suits and ask about anything your not sure about. Don't start building untill you have run out of questions and then double check with us just to be sure.!!

totally useless
12-02-2015, 06:57 PM
Hi Jazz
Thank you so much for taking the time and effort for such an in depth, lengthy and informative reply,as always you are on hand to help anyone in need with your knowledge and advice, i hope the other guys on here {in particular the newbies looking for help and advice } are appreciative, because if it wasn't for you experienced guys offering your free and impartial advice then inexperienced guys like me would never attempt to start a project as complicated as a self build cnc. So a big thank you to you and all the other guys who offer there advice and comments to newbies :] :]