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Building my CNC Router.  


Update - 25th Nov 2007.

I've put together a new web site all about my CNC router.
For more information on the CNC build, visit http://www.thebackshed.com/cnc

I've wanted to make a CNC router for some time now. I first used a cnc router about 3 years ago when I worked for a jigsaw making business. We had one cnc router and 2 300watt laser cutters.

Multicam CNC router, 1200X1200 bed, vacuum table.

I started building my router after visiting Terrys windmill site. Terry had a couple of movies your could watch of his router in action, and I was hooked. I just had to build one.

So I started some internet research into other home made cnc routers, and soon realised there was a lot more to home made routers than I first thought. Its a big learning curve, with a lot of redesign and rebuilding along the way.

First up I designed and built the Z axis. I figured it was the easiest part to make and I could learn from it before I designed the rest of the router. Luckily I have access to a industrial laser cutter, so I designed the parts in CAD and cut them from 3mm plate.

I used had a couple of linear bearings from an old Telix machine, and some stepper motors from a junked laser printer. Next I ordered in 3 stepper controllers from Oatley Electronics, and put together the control box.

The power supply was a transformer from a UPS and this gave me a bus voltage of 16v. The box is a old PC case. I wired up a printer port lead and installed KCam software from http://www.kellyware.com. A bit of software set up and I had the thing moving back and forth along the axis.

I designed, laser cut and assembled the Y axis. I'm using roller bearings on box section as the linear bearings, and allthread as the lead screw. Yeah pretty crude, but cheap.

Next up was the X axis. Overall bed size is 1200 by 600. And a coat of paint, hammer finish always looks good.

The X axis has two leadscrews, one at each end of the gantry. These are driven by one stepper motor. I've used chain and sprockets on my machine because its easy to change gear rations. Chain is easy to cut and join to any length, and very cheap, but noisy. Once I have the router fully sorted, I will replace the chains and sprockets with toothed belts and pulleys, but chain will do for now.

Now I needed a router head. My hobby lathe had a milling attachment that I think I've used once in the last 3 years. The mill has a variable speed control, and 2 speed gearbox. So I mounted it on the Z axis, fitted a 4mm router bit and tried some test routs.

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