Making a CNC Router #3: Part 3: Updates and Need Ideas

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Blog entry by KylesWoodworking posted 03-16-2011 01:36 AM 3127 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Part 2: Making the Stand Part 3 of Making a CNC Router series Part 4: Part 4: Electronics »

I have not had much time or money to work on my CNC lately, but I did make some progress. Here are some of the things I added to it so far:

I added two shelves for the computer and electronics to go on:

I also bought 4 cheap casters from Harbor Freight and installed them:

Also, on an unrelated note, my dog loves the new shelf and sleeps on it all the time:

Now for some ideas:

I need some where to mount a computer screen to use for the CNC and I have a few ideas, but was wondering if anyone can build on them before I start building it. (haha)

This is what I got so far:

I would like to mount it on the end here but I think it might get in the way because it sticks out 8” from the table. I was also thinking about making it so it can fold down but the motor would be in the way. I also cannot mount it on the side because it would be in the way of the x axis. The monitor also cannot fit on the shelf and I would not be able to see it. I would like to have the computer monitor be mobile with the CNC, so it cannot be mounted on the wall or something. So far it looks like I am going to go with my idea but I know someone on LJ can add or give me a better idea.

I am currently working on saving up money to get the electronics for the CNC and hope to start getting them next month. I have been cleaning out my closet and selling all the junk I don’t need on Craig’s List and I have also been looking for a job to save up money. My dad also said he will help me out with buying the electronics so I can get this done sooner. I also want to thank everyone that donated on my website, it helps me out a lot!

All your ideas are welcome!


11 comments so far

View JohnAjluni's profile


102 posts in 2689 days

#1 posted 03-16-2011 02:39 AM

definetly gonna watch this!!!

-- John

View Karson's profile


35128 posts in 4455 days

#2 posted 03-16-2011 02:51 AM

Looks like something to follow.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View SteveMI's profile


1112 posts in 3349 days

#3 posted 03-16-2011 04:59 AM


The cable to connect the computer to your breakout board is going to be parallel port one if you are on a budget. They come in 10’ and longer, so don’t get too hung up on having the computer on the cart.

Just keep the momentum.


View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2748 days

#4 posted 03-16-2011 07:37 AM

The pup needs a bed! That’s the first purchase…

I build computers and server systems both on the side and in conjunction with the job I have.. I think what would be killer for you is a rack-mount monitor setup. You screw the thing in and slide it out, flip it up when you need it and usually includes a keyboard. Something like but any decent computer surplus, recycle/resell centers, or data center in the midst of upgrades will have them for less. With that Dell monitor, you could probably even fab your own 1U/2U sized slide/hinge, especially if its VESA compliant. That way, you won’t run the risk of knocking it over, getting it dirty, or it just being in the way in general.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View KylesWoodworking's profile


281 posts in 2747 days

#5 posted 03-16-2011 01:24 PM

Steve: I already have the parallel port cable, I think it will just be easier and more convenient if the computer was on the cart.

Dan: Every time I buy my dog a bed he just chews it all up, so he just uses my bed, this cart, the floor, or his dog cage. Thanks for the idea of the monitor mount, I just don’t want to get something too expensive.


View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3040 days

#6 posted 03-16-2011 02:44 PM

do you need to mount a whole computer or just the monitor?

I think where you have it may work, but I’d turn the monitor 90 degrees. This makes the shelf a little wider and it would stay out of the way of the rest of the pieces a bit more. Also my personal experience with CNC is that I like working on the long edge rather than the short edge.

My CNC has a swivel mount for the monitor so I can swing it out the way, which I think is the greatest thing ever, but I’m not sure how to replicate that idea on the cheap, unless you happen to find a swivel mount on ebay or something.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2887 days

#7 posted 03-16-2011 02:53 PM

You could add an oversized hamster wheel to have your pup power it… :)
Looks sturdy!

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2709 days

#8 posted 03-16-2011 06:25 PM


I’ve been using a CNC for over 2 years now and the best piece of advice I can give you is to mount the computer away from the CNC. When you are cutting and carving there will be chips and dust flying everywhere. If your computer and monitor are close by, they will get filled with this dust very quickly.

Make sure you have plenty of room around the CNC to work – placing material on the table, changing bits, etc. Having this room is invaluable.

I would also look into a dust collection system you can use hook up to suck some of the chips and dust away. You’d be surprised how fast your work area will disappear when the CNC goes to work. Have a shopvac near by to vacuum up the mess so you can go to work on the next project.

Don’t under estimate the force exerted from these machines as they move around. When the router changes directions there will be a lot of force at work. If your cart isn’t firmly secured to the floor it will move around. If the cart isn’t REALLY, REALLY sturdy you will notice it flexing and twisting when the direction changes take place. I’ve got a large Shopbot CNC and had to add diagonal stiffeners to keep it from flexing as the gantry changed directions.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View KylesWoodworking's profile


281 posts in 2747 days

#9 posted 03-16-2011 10:13 PM

Lis: Just the monitor needs to be mounted and I think I might try and make my own swivel mount.

Thomas: Good idea, wish it was that easy.

Don: I was thinking about enclosing the computer and monitor with pexiglas to keep the dust out. Also, I have a shopvac that I am going to use for the CNC and I think my stand is pretty sturdy and all the casters it is on has locks.


View SteveMI's profile


1112 posts in 3349 days

#10 posted 03-17-2011 01:49 AM

Kyle, I am a three year user of a CNC near your size and Don’s comment on dust can’t be said enough, especially if you are using a wood router. Capturing the dust will be one of your first major problems. Even with spindles and speciality routers that can use a dust shoe, it isn’t a pretty world. Mine has a shoe that goes around the cutting bit and captures quite a bit. One problem is that if you are cutting in steps that the shoe is over the surface with that gap letting a significant amount of dust to escape. Cleaning your lead screws will be a very frequent job if you don’t manage the dust.

Another thing about CNC dust is that it is usually very fine as opposed to a planer or even a table saw. That dust will clog the shop vac filter in 20 minutes if you don’t have a seperator like dust deputy or phil thein.


View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

20767 posts in 3160 days

#11 posted 05-10-2011 04:05 PM

Just a though on the placement of the computer. Dust will be a big problem and you could put the computer in a box with a fan for positive outward air flow. Have the incoming air come through a hose from a remote and cool location. You will want dust collection near the point of the cutter at some time.

One other improvement if you can find it. For the ways, look for some of the hardened round rod with recirculating ball bearings that ride on them. It is used in a lot of automated fixtures. Maybe some die shop will have a set from an old machine that you can buy cheap. I found some in a model shop for my duplicator and they work very well is all kinds of dust.

Great job on that machine!!!!!!!!...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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