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home built CNC machines

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Project by H_Stevens posted 04-29-2018 03:30 PM 1070 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These pictures show two home built CNC machines. The bigger machine has a frame made of combinations of plywood and aluminum components. The smaller machine’s frame is made from extruded aluminum. The bigger machine is accurate +/- .005. The smaller machines is accurate to +/- .001.

In the larger (red frame) machine the Gantry moves along the machines X & Y axis. While on the Smaller machine the table moves along the X & Y axis with a fixed gantry.

I built both from high quality components. They both have 3_hp Colombo Spindles. Both were built for 20% of what comparable Commercial Machine would cost.

Lot’s of fun but reasonably difficult to build.. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most difficult, these would be in the 8-9 range.

These machines are excellent for jigs, parts, setup etc. Anywhere you need extreme accuracy.

Hamp

-- Hamp, St. Simons Island, GA http://hampstevens.com/





13 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

2920 posts in 2165 days


#1 posted 04-29-2018 07:01 PM

These are in the most biggest home made CNC routers. Well done.

-- https://dutchypatterns.com/

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

966 posts in 600 days


#2 posted 04-29-2018 07:56 PM

Very cool. So, from what plans/kits did you build them, especially the small one as it would be the one I have room for? (although the “little” one isn’t all that little) :-) Any links you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1095 posts in 2033 days


#3 posted 04-29-2018 10:42 PM

Nice job! Not one – but TWO CNC routers with linear bearings and real spindles. Impressive.
So what is your estimate on cost for each of these?
And what size are their work areas?

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View WhereDidIPutThat's profile

WhereDidIPutThat

36 posts in 1333 days


#4 posted 04-30-2018 02:54 AM

Okay, so i have no idea how to use a CNC, but I always hear that buying the machines is the cheap part of the purchase and that the software is expensive. What software do you use to command your CNC to do work?

-- palette wood connoisseur

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

12281 posts in 2864 days


#5 posted 04-30-2018 04:56 AM

Respect! Great work! I don’t even want to try to figure how you assebled all this – but sure it’s outstanding.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View FoundSheep's profile

FoundSheep

191 posts in 453 days


#6 posted 04-30-2018 05:41 AM

I’ve never made a CNC or comparable machine before. What made them so hard to put together? How did you select the components?

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

494 posts in 571 days


#7 posted 04-30-2018 07:39 AM

Can you estimate the number of hours you researched just to start getting an idea of what you needed? I’m always envious of people making these, yet wonder if they hold the tolerances of CNC’s that are store model has. From your description “3_hp Colombo Spindles” sounds to my ear like a pro model part, made for the long haul. Sure isn’t a drop in “Colt router” type of thing.

Kudos on the work, show us what you can do, plus do you have a link explaining construction, and how it all ties together to software, or IOW a quick path to getting this done?

Thanks for posting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View H_Stevens's profile

H_Stevens

13 posts in 42 days


#8 posted 04-30-2018 12:11 PM

Hi thanks for your comments.

These things are not that hard to build. The hard part, for me, was the electronic components. I used “servo motors’ as opposed to cheap “stepper motors” for directional movement. Servos are more accurate and more durable. I used “Clearpath” motors. Each rotation of the motor shaft can be broken down in 880 increments. The Ball screws I used to make the x & Y axis move are 5MM lead. Meaning that in one revolution of the screw makes the ball nut moves 5mm or a little more than 3/16. The 5mm can be broken down by the motor software into 880 increments or about 0.0002 inches. I use WinCNC control software and computer boards. I use V-carve Pro for creating tool paths.

The big machine all in cost about $7,000. The smaller one about $3,500. But both use the same software, which all in cost about $3,000. The spindles are expensive. About $2,000 each. You could do the same thing with a 3hp Porter Cable router however. But it would be very loud and not as durable as a spindle. The spindles were over kill.

You can buy almost all of the components on Ebay.

Again, the difficulty is the electronics. Each motor has 9 control wires. The spindle has 8 control wire. The motors all have to be wired into a computer control board. The spindle uses three phase current. So it has to be wired into an inverter. Then there are proximity limit switches, and emergency cut offs, etc. It gets complicated.

-- Hamp, St. Simons Island, GA http://hampstevens.com/

View WhereDidIPutThat's profile

WhereDidIPutThat

36 posts in 1333 days


#9 posted 04-30-2018 01:15 PM

Thanks for the detailed response. It’s a lot cheaper than I would imagine.

-- palette wood connoisseur

View stidrvr's profile

stidrvr

35 posts in 3472 days


#10 posted 04-30-2018 01:31 PM

Let me add a few things. The comment about the software being expensive is simply untrue. Sure it can cost thousands but it doesn’t need to. I run my CNC machine on Linux CNC which is free. There is plenty of support on message boards and YouTube Videos to learn how to use it. For design and CAM I use Fusion 360 which is free to use as well. These are two of the most popular options (next to Mach 3) and they’re both free with plenty of support.

In my opinion software is extremely expensive if it is easy to use of fits a niche market. If you have no intentions on doing research and learning how to use something, you’re going to have to Pay!

View H_Stevens's profile

H_Stevens

13 posts in 42 days


#11 posted 04-30-2018 02:24 PM

I don’t know where you get Fusion 360 for free?? The base version from AutoCad is $310 per year. The full blown version from which you can do tool paths is $1500 per year. Unless you are using a Student Version or a pirated version I don’t get the Free part??

I use Vcarve Pro—one time cost $495. WinCNC control software , including computer, necessary boards, software and life time support is approx $2,000. I use Rhino for design, one time cost is $895.

Hamp Stevens

-- Hamp, St. Simons Island, GA http://hampstevens.com/

View stidrvr's profile

stidrvr

35 posts in 3472 days


#12 posted 04-30-2018 02:50 PM

This is from AutoDesks page:

“Startup: If your entitlement has been designated as “Startup, ” You may use the service if You are (a) a company, startup, or home-based business that generates less than $100,000 (or equivalent in other currency) per year from the total sale of goods or services, or (b) an individual using the service for personal non-commercial projects, hobbies, or personal learning.”

So once the trial has ended, you may continue to use the software for free for home/hobby users.


I don t know where you get Fusion 360 for free?? The base version from AutoCad is $310 per year. The full blown version from which you can do tool paths is $1500 per year. Unless you are using a Student Version or a pirated version I don t get the Free part??

I use Vcarve Pro—one time cost $495. WinCNC control software , including computer, necessary boards, software and life time support is approx $2,000. I use Rhino for design, one time cost is $895.

Hamp Stevens

- H_Stevens


View harrywho's profile

harrywho

120 posts in 3229 days


#13 posted 04-30-2018 04:25 PM

Hamp Stevens
Where did you get Vcarve Pro for $495?

-- Harry, Indiana

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