I'm looking around for some detailed plans to build a CNC machine. I've got good wood, metalworking, electronics and computer skills but this will be my first machine so the more detail the better. I don't mind paying for plans but anything over £30 I'm going to have to think carefully about it. These plans look good:
24x48~Solsylva CNC Plans
Can anyone vouch for these or suggest alternatives please? Plans specific for UK parts would be preferred.
The primary application is cutting wooden parts for furniture, so the cutting envelope would have to be on the large-ish side - perhaps 2m x 1m x 0.2 m.
woodspiral, I started with a similar outlook, first I just wanted to buy a machine because I was more interested in using it than building it. After reviewing loads of commercial offerings I found them to be either too expensive or they lacked features I required, this ultimately led me to building a machine to my specification. Most plans I think are American and they seem to have different build techniques than we do in the UK, but that is not say one method is wrong. My suggestion is that you look through the build logs here, I know it gets to be a ball ache after a while, then cobble together the bits you like into your own design. The main reason is that you will learn far more by doing this and it will pay dividends later on I believe. All you need do is download the free Sketchup software and get going, once you overcome the initial hurdle of actually making a start it will come together quite quickly.
It would be different if you were looking to buy a kit of parts but as it's only the plans you seek I'm inclined to think you could produce these just as well yourself.
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 27-12-2013 at 08:16 PM.
Agree 100% with Eddy thou I'm going to suggest you keep the size down to the minimum length you need because it gets quite a bit more involved building a good machine has the length increases and 2mtr+ machine I wouldn't recommend for a first time builder unless you either study in detail what's required for both design and components or seek advice from someone who's actually built a working machine at this length.!
Like Eddy suggests I wouldn't waste time or money on plans has everything you need is here on the forum and most plans I've ever seen have been crap and designed to be made from wood which is a recipe for disaster and disappointment.
Read some Threads then read again until you understand the pitfalls, post a build thread with what you have in mind and ask for advise on anything you don't understand.
Don't Rush in with building or buying components until your 100% sure they are the correct for your needs.
I too started with the Solsylvania plans but when I started to price it up for decent wood, aluminium excursions was cheaper and stronger! I completely agree with the previous posters and suggest you follow their advice. These guys have helped me greatly with the advice and help which has saved me from costly errors. I am now building a aluminium router and will post my build log shortly. I has taken me 2.5 years to get to this stage and there is still more to learn!
Instead of buying plans, just make a plan:
-read the build logs
-learn Sketchup/free/ to draw your machine/ very simple to learn and extremely fast to draw using 5-6 buttons and mouse/
-make a build thread
One thing to say. Ok , i have to say it because its true- This is the best forum in internet for CNC. The knowledgeable and friendly people make it so. But mostly, you will see here far better designs than the typical "plans for sale", even than most of the commercial routers.
Thanks very much for the replies. It's not really what I want to hear! This is for a professional application so I need to make a full-sized machine (2m x 1m x 0.2m approx) and I don't have time to make a smaller prototype. If I had tons of cash I'd buy a top end 5-axis machine, but my budget pretty limited, so it looks like a 3-axis self-build for me.
My problem isn't really the design as such it's the choice of parts. I can use SketchUp and AutoCAD but that's not the problem. For example, given my desired machine size, one fundamental problem is to make two runners 2m long and 1m apart. These have to be absolutely level and parallel to each other. I need to know what type of materials are ideal for that and what kind of equipment and processes are used to install and measure them. That's obviously just the start. I read the CNC cookbook so I do have an idea of the various components.
I'm thinking that perhaps instead of 'plans' I should have said 'plans/kit'. I looked briefly at this site here:
And judging from their specs and few blogs from people who've assembled their kits, it looks good (any views?)
One issue is that they are US-based, but they would ship to the UK for a cost. Perhaps there is a company in the UK like that?
In summary: not a huge amount of free time, limited budget, large-ish machine for commercial use.
It's sounding like ebay is going to be your friend, a second hand ready built may be the best bet here.
Aligning and getting rails aligned etc isn't difficult has it first appears and there are a few tricks which can be employed like having an adjustable top rail which gets shimmed or using epoxy resin. Because your only cutting wood then the tolerances are relatively low so it's quite easy and quick to get rails close enough just using shims.
Regards Components then be careful when reading sites like Cnc cookbook because they are quite heavily Mill orientated and while routers use the same Kind of components the sizes and speeds they run at are much higher so are very different specs. Then you have other things to consider like best Linear motion for the Job, IE Ballscrews or Rack & pinion which again are very different spec to mills and critical to good performing machines.
It's actually here where new users most commonly fall foul and buy the wrong parts for the job which leads to at best an under performing machine or worst one not fit for purpose. Next is weak design and trying to cut corners.!!
So IMO given your Brief of Commercial duty and Low Budget then your only option is to self build but PLEASE PLEASE LISTEN and do the home work on the forum because if not then you'll waste valuable time and Money.!
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 29-12-2013 at 06:22 PM.
My concern with these books is that often the authors are just that "authors" and much is taken from research in industry, some times dated research and presuming perfect building conditions with little to NO hands on experience with DIY CNC.
DIY Cnc is very different, very easy to get wrong or under estimate what's needed(Some also Actually over do it for there needs which is better but wasteful) which has to be built in very much less than perfect conditions so Advice from people who have actually built machines is price less IMO.
Now here's another Warning regards Forums, (which if your used to forums and I'm teaching Dad to suck eggs then I apologise) and why your much better looking around the build logs to spot the tyre kicking "KNow-it-Alls" who have never actually built a machine but dish advise like expert builders can be just has misleading has a Dated unrealistic Book.!
Edit: Ah ah forgot to say thankfully this forum doesn't have many of those types around other Than Jonathan and John S and Me. .
Crack on and get reading.!!
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 01-01-2014 at 09:35 PM.
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