View Full Version : Yet Another Noob. Looking for Kit or Guide

08-04-2015, 11:42 AM
Hi Guys

I currently own a terrible Chinese made 'hobby' cnc machine. It's diabolical, but has got me some work over the past couple of years and now I need to upgrade.

I use it mainly for wood signs/v carving. But occasionally do other woodworking stuff.

Currently I have 300x300mm working area with a through bed.

I'm looking for either a kit build or a guide that I can follow to build a DIY machine. My budget is limited, 1k max. However, I can use the motors from the current machine (don't know the specs atm) and I also have 4 Zapp Nema23's from a 3d printer I played about with. I also have a SmoothieBoard which I can use.

New machine must be around 1000x600mm working area, with a through bed. Z travel doesn't need to be much, 100mm max? I'm guessing moving gantry is best.

So can anyone reccomend a starting place. I've browsed the build logs, but so many options and configurations!

08-04-2015, 02:56 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum!

To my knowledge there aren't many, if any, kit builds on here. Most have designed their machine either from scratch or borrowed bits of designs from other builds. Most build logs are almost detailed enough to build the same machine, or certainly one pretty much like it if you're mechanically minded?

For a 1000 x 600 cutting area you'll be looking at an overall dimension of 1300 x 900 (which co-incidentally is about the size of my machine!). For this you'll need 4 off 3.1Nm Nema 23's (I've got 2 x Nema 23's and 1 x Nema 34 for the long X axis) anything less will probably not cut the mustard. These need a healthy dose of voltage to get the best performance. I'm not familiar with the smoothieboard but I'll guess that it's 24V max which means you'll not get enough voltage to give a decent performance.

A 1k budget is stretching it a bit unless you can beg, borow or steal (only kidding!!) bits for your machine. Most builds I reckon come in at around 2,500 using linear rails, 80V digital drives, DIY PSU, decent BOB, good control panel with safety relays etc. etc.

08-04-2015, 04:12 PM
Cheers Neil, understood.

I started looking at things like the Shapeoko, but felt it would be under spec for what I want and my searches here confirm that.

there is a kit on ebay at the moment:


But again, not sure of it's rigidity. I certainly don't want to end up with a slower, less accurate machine that I have.

I'll need to check the spec of the motors that I have, but I'd have though they where lower powered for what I need.

2.5k is well out of budget just now. I'll have to limp along with what I have and hope I can get a few more jobs to justify an upgrade.

08-04-2015, 04:41 PM
That kit is really flimsy...

2.5k is an all singing all dancing machine that will cut most things, you could do a decent machine for 1.5k if you source most components from Aliexpress, agai it depends on your expectations and the accuracy you need and your fabrication skills.....

08-04-2015, 10:09 PM
You won't get a Kit that is any good and if you do find one it will probably be equal to your total budget just for the frame. Like that flimsy rubbish you showed is 450 just for the frame without any motors etc.

I've given this advise many times to those on Low budgets with around 1000 and it's Wait and save up.!! . . . 1K just isn't enough to get a fully working decent machine but it's over half way. Like Neil suggests 1.5k is realistic minimum and even then you'll have to DIY every thing your self and shop careful.

If you try to build with 1k you'll end up wasting money as you'll probably end up buying cheap nasty components that are not suitable. End result will be an under performing and likely unreliable machine. Honestly your better not bothering and saving up.

Or build the machine in phases and save as you go along but still buying the correct parts. I've helped many people who are skill or equipment limited has well has budget limited build machines this way and while it takes longer you end up with a great machine custom built and worth having that is often worth twice it's component cost. Rush and you will regret it.

09-04-2015, 08:22 AM
Thanks guys

Your advise makes sense to me and I would rather spend a bit more and get a machine that will last me a few years.

I will limp along with my current machine and start saving.

Expect me back in a few months with more questions :)

Clive S
09-04-2015, 09:05 AM
Thanks guys

Your advise makes sense to me and I would rather spend a bit more and get a machine that will last me a few years.

I will limp along with my current machine and start saving.

Expect me back in a few months with more questions :)Why wait a few months with the questions its amazing how much you can learn from just following the forum input and asking question on anything you do not follow. Good luck with the hopefully new build. ..Clive

09-04-2015, 09:49 AM
That is a very good point actually.

I will need something to aim for. Without the option of a kit or guide, I'm going to need some pointers about which direction to go. I'll list my requirements that I need from the machine and perhaps we can go from there.

Predominantly woodworking machine. All types of wood, sheet, soft, hard, etc. I sometimes run acrylic sheet, but mostly wood. (It would be nice to play with aluminium in the future, but bottom of the list of requirements)
Spindle needs to take up to 1/2" router bits (My current machine has a 4mm shaft/collet) I would consider 1/4" bits at a push.
Max working area 600x1000mm. With ability to feed work through the bed. Z height can be as little as 75mm, but 100mm would be better.
Speed is not as much of an importance over cut quality. I'm running mostly V Carve signs.
I guess software is straight forward. My current machine is locked into rubbish. Mach3 or 4 would be fine.
Dust Extraction can come later. I don't have any at the moment.

In terms of building the machine, I have no metal working facilities, so alu profile would be preferred. I'm confident with wiring, electronics, soldering etc. I have kit-built a couple of 3D printers before.

So where do I start? Which of the many builds posted here should I follow for ideas?

09-04-2015, 09:52 AM
From an inexperienced point of view, I like the 'look' of the OX CNC Machine


But I understand from reading here that the wheel system that it uses is not the best design?