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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So as I have alluded to in some other posts, I am in the process of build my own CNC. I started the process earlier in the year, and have spent much time planning and procure (as the budget allowed) the various components for the machine. I worked with a friend who designed and built his own CNC a number of years ago to design my machine.

The build got started in July when I assembled the frame for the gantry. From there I built the stand. So far the most time spent was making the bed. Which is a torsion box design made out of MDF. I went this route as the torsion box design is very strong, flat and stable, with the added benefit of the MDF being heavy, which makes a solid foundation for the machine, and to help dampen vibration.

Last night I reached the milestone where I successfully attached the gantry to the bed, and was able to (With ease!) move it back and forth. I posted a couple pics, and here is a link to a quick video of me moving it: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZAPFd_F4bv/

Materials used so far:
Plywood for the stand
MDF for the bed
8020 (30 series) extruded metal (size 6060 for the side rails, and the uprights for the gantry, 6030 for the rails of the gantry)
Linear Bearing Rails are SBR20
Lead screws are C7 Ballscrews
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Starting to look like something! hope the project is as enjoyable as it is educational.
So far it has been both! I have never done precision work with any metals till now, so that has been very educational. So far all my metal pieces were pre-cut. However, after ordering the wrong connectors, and re-ordering the right connectors, I had to precision drill some holes. The setup at the drill press took me longer than the actual drilling of the holes. Despite the fact I have been woodworking as serious hobby for over 8 years, and have made plenty of boxes, the torsion box pushed my woodworking skills more than I thought it would. I used some techniques I never used before, and took a lot of time, patience, and skill at the table saw to get the pieces and joinery cut exactly right.

I attached a couple pics, one shows the web structure of the torsion box, the other shows the setup I used to create a dead flat surface to assemble the torsion box on. The 2x4s were all jointed on one edge, and the sent through the planer on the opposite side. Using shims they were all leveled. Using a precision straight edge, I verified I had them flat.
 

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Rick
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Looking good Mike ,and looking forward to seeing her in action . Looking at the design , are you going to have a single acme threaded rod underneath to move the Y axis?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looking good Mike ,and looking forward to seeing her in action . Looking at the design , are you going to have a single acme threaded rod underneath to move the Y axis?
Thanks! I will actually be using ball screws over acme screws. The machine is fairly narrow, so I am using a single screw to drive the gantry. For a wider machine, I likely would have used two screws with two steppers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's really looking good, Mike! Are you going to be doing the electronics yourself or buying a ready to use enclosure?

David
I plan on wiring the electronic components myself. In fact, that is something I have been starting researching is what to use as an enclosure. Maybe I am being cheap, but it seems like electronics enclosures in the size I need are very expensive! Right now, I am thinking about making a plywood box (with appropriate venting for fans!).
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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I plan on wiring the electronic components myself. In fact, that is something I have been starting researching is what to use as an enclosure. Maybe I am being cheap, but it seems like electronics enclosures in the size I need are very expensive! Right now, I am thinking about making a plywood box (with appropriate venting for fans!).
If it will help, Mike, I've attached the spreadsheet for the items I used in my build, including the enclosure. I've stripped the prices off because they will certainly have changed in a year and some items may no longer be available. I've also attached a PDF of the electrical schematic I created and followed to wire our CNC. Please understand, though, I am not an electrician and don't claim to be. Use at your own risk. Having said that, though, it did work the first time and continues to so I guess it must be pretty close.

Photobucket hosed up all the photos of my build, which is posted here. so I'm thinking about putting all of those photos in a document then uploading so it can be seen again.

Holler if I can assist -

David
 

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Rick
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I plan on wiring the electronic components myself. In fact, that is something I have been starting researching is what to use as an enclosure. Maybe I am being cheap, but it seems like electronics enclosures in the size I need are very expensive! Right now, I am thinking about making a plywood box (with appropriate venting for fans!).
I don't think that's being cheap , as pre built electronics seem way overpriced imo to. I want to buy the pro version of the 4x4 router table from CNCrouterparts , but with Daves direction I'm going to build the electronics myself .
In theory , you would think it would be much easier troubleshooting in the future if you assembled it yourself , as it would give you a better understanding of how it all functions . I'm looking forward to it actually.

Dave has a really good thread on his entire build . He did one heck of a job on his electronics, as it looks pro :)
 

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Have you seen the Maslow CNC 4' x 8' router? They were a successful Kickstarter campaign and sold as a kit for $500. They've made 750 so far with electronics & SW. I was an early backer and have received mine, so they're real. They're software and electronics are open source as well so it can be hacked. You may want to check it out here: http://www.maslowcnc.com and on KS
 

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@MikeMa Certainly will let people know how it turns out. As usual, building the kit depends on spare time! It comes in a USPS box that's 12x8x6 so amazingly compact to ship. The buyer provides the back support and stand. Not pretty, but very cost effective and compact. There are many YouTube videos of the first cut.
 

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Have you seen the Maslow CNC 4' x 8' router? They were a successful Kickstarter campaign and sold as a kit for $500. They've made 750 so far with electronics & SW. I was an early backer and have received mine, so they're real. They're software and electronics are open source as well so it can be hacked. You may want to check it out here: Maslow and on KS
if they used a four wire system, the unit could be layed down, and also, be less susceptible to kickbacks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have made a little more progress on my build. I completed installing the lead screw for the bed axis. I made and glued brackets to the bottom of the bed to hold the mounting blocks for the screw. I drilled a hole in the center of the 8020 bar on the bottom of the gantry so that the screw can pass through it. I also fabricated a nut adapter out of aluminum plate so I could get the screw nut attached securely to the 8020. There were a few first for me on this, as I have never worked with a blank of any metal to make it into something useful. I have also never tapped screw threads either. I was able to get everything assembled, and tested it by attaching a battery powered drill to the screw, and was able to move the gantry back and forth with it.
 

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Congratulations on your progress! I have been rooting for you as another intrepid DIY router builder, but realized I had not posted any encouragements to your build log. Don't be afraid of a simple wood box for your electronics - its what I did. I did add a plexiglas cover - it helps troubleshooting if you can see all the blinky lights inside!

My electronics were very simple, Ethernet Smoothstepper, Gecko 540 stepper driver, a 48V Power supply and a simple relay (which actually could be eliminated, but it works and was cheap).

Have you figured out what control software you will use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@BalloonEngineer Thank you for your encouragement! While this project is one of my most challenging and complex projects, I have been having a LOT of fun building it.

I have been leaning towards a wood box as well as using a plexiglas cover, especially since I have more than enough from another project.

As for software, I am going to start out using LinuxCNC, largely because it is free, and seems well regarded. I do have a PC with parallel port on the motherboard, and I do have some working knowledge of using Linux. Since parallel ports are getting to be a rarity on PCs, I eventually will be adding a Smoothstepper, and switching to Mach 3 on a Windows machine.

For the CAD/CAM side, I plan on using Fusion360, which is also free for hobbyists. While it is used more for the 3D printers, it does work well with CNC Routers as well. As the budget allows, I do hope to get VCarve at some point.
 

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Its true electronics enclosures are expensive but don’t forget they are for a reason, they are used by professionals. I build cnc as a hobby and I make my enclosures with 1/8” thick aluminum plates which my local supplier cuts to my dimensions.

Sometimes if I have to trim these plates I made a jig and along with my Skill Saw (with aluminum cut blade) I can cut these plates to what I want

The average size is about 20”x20”x12” deep but it depends what you want to put inside – you don’t want the enclosure to be crowded. To make for a nice looking job I always use DIN rails for all my connections plus wiring ducts to enclose all wiring.

Don’t forget you want to have 1 or 2 fans inside to help with the air circulation. I buy all my 22.5mm ON/OFF push buttons from eBay (hard to find because most are momentary switches)
 
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