A Very Professional Homemade CNC Router

[Benne] has a small workshop at home so he decided to make a very versatile CNC router for his final project at school. It took him around 6 months to arrive at the result you can see in the image above and what is even more impressive is that he was only 17 years old at the time.

[Benne] used the free cad program Google Sketchup to draw the different parts he needed around the linear rails and ball screws he already had lying around. The CNC’s travel is 730x650x150mm, uses Nema 23 (3Nm) steppers, 15mm thick aluminum plates and 30x60mm aluminum extrusions. In his article, [Benne] gives great advice to those who would like to design their CNC like his, providing very useful links to manufacturers. He estimated the cost of his CNC to be around 1500 euros (about $2000). We’ll let you browse the many lines of his very detailed build log, which makes us wish to be as talented as him even at our age…

Comments

  1. xyz says:

    Its not impressive that he was only 17. He just had the money and tools most dont have access to at age of 17.

    This and many other DIY projects rely much more on expensive materials, hight quality tools and a good workshop, than for example any software project, which is product of your intelect and dedicated work.

    • Rich says:

      No, this is indeed impressive and overall cool. Although, it may not be as nice as the CNC Machine that you didn’t build.

    • Tech Joker says:

      Bah! If you can’t write your software in machine code then you are relying on high level software to do all your heavy lifting for you. Real programmers write code in Machine Code.

      I think you have had your head stuck somewhere for a very long time. Let’s see your self built CNC router. For that matter, let’s see that software you designed at 17!

      “[Benne] used the free cad program Google Sketchup to draw the different parts he needed around the linear rails and ball screws he already had lying around.”

      Obviously, he used some off the shelf parts, but he also designed parts and built the machine. I know many 50 year olds that couldn’t even take that machine apart, let alone design and build it.

      Not sure how building your own CNC Router is any different than designing your own Accounting Software. Both already exist, and there are many parts that can help you build your own. Considering most 17 year olds I know are only interested in video games and social media, I say this is pretty impressive.

      Perhaps xyz should go back to learn his ABCs.

      • real programmer says:

        Real programmers do not write in assembly level! I use assembly level on occasion for simple imbedded applications which must be where you skill level is. Some programming tasks would take the rest of your life to write and debug without C. Machine code is wiggling the individual bits by hand! Insane. Write the code to control a proportional steering mechanism on a battleship…you would be fired before you could get out “hello world”.

        • Tony says:

          This is the truth. Guy must be an entry level programmer who messed with assembly in ONE project. The fact of the matter is that C assemblers are 100X more efficient than you (or I) could ever be. You use assembly … like you said… to ‘wiggle’ bits around. ( I like that word.. it’s perfect.)

    • josh crawley says:

      I just took apart a non-working CNC machine made by the local hackerspace. It was made out of wood and crazy amounts of epoxy.

      Let me explain: a group of hackers at the hackerspace couldn’t make a properly working CNC… and this 17 yr old did. He has good design principles, whereas the ‘space members who designed this wooden one did NOT have good design principles.

      The motors in question: http://crankylinuxuser.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/pulled-from-a-dead-cnc-machine/

    • pcf11 says:

      A CNC project can rely on expensive materials. This one certainly does. I could put two grand worth of materials in front of a lot of teenagers and get a CNC machine out of it. I suppose it is impressive that this teen was motivated enough to do it themselves though. But with global population being what it is today the law of high numbers rules there. One is bound to do it. Apparently this is the one too.

    • KPL says:

      Probably that just means his parents are spending some money for proper environment and education possibilities for their son, instead of buying another flatscreen TV or SUV. Let’s say big thanks to them, that money is spent extremely well.

      • ADL says:

        Just a comment from his mother. Benne has not got the money from us. He worked during about one year in the local shop three evenings a week and bought the parts when he had enough money.
        ADL

  2. steve says:

    Sad that the first comment on such a nice project is so sour.
    I love to see the plans, just skimmed it, but looks really nice
    keep up the good work, don’t let haters bring you down

    • xyz says:

      I must apologize if my comment sounded hateful or might seem to put down the enormous work he has done. He’s a true professional making commercial quality tools and has a bright future ahead. I just wanted to point out the big difference 2000$ can make.

      I believe there are thousands of talented teenagers, whose designs stay in code, drawings and 3d simulation environments. Only because they cant afford to purchase even a set of screws or plain wooden plank.

      And insulting my lack of skills feels so much more hateful than my neutral remark.

    • wolfy02 says:

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But you’re right, it’s too bad that xyz is a total d-bag….and that’s my opinion.

  3. fallen says:

    That’s a really solid looking CNC router! I wish I could have pulled that off when I was 17. Now I’m waiting to finish school, get a job, buy a house etc before I can even start building one. Kudos to that kid!

  4. Wretch says:

    I just saw this the other day on Instructables. I thought it’s something relatively simple that I could copy, but, bloody hell, I’ve seen commercial kits that aren’t nearly as well made. Very well done!

    Now, can I borrow it? (c:

  5. dave says:

    I built a CNC router from scratch too. While the steps to get one running aren’t terrible difficult, designing one and getting it working requires skills in CAD, planning spacial relationships, calculating loads and power requirements for the motors and screws, interfacing hardware to a computer, installing and configuring CNC software, and a bunch of creativity. Being funded is only part of the equation. For a 17 year old to pull this off is no small feat. That’s a nice tool you got there.

  6. George says:

    Kudos to the kid! The construction seems very rigid. Most of the people who are complaining that it isn’t a full CNC (I believe that means that it is based on MACH3) should try and make their own and not saying that they could make one but they are not doing it because it is “easy”!!! Stop criticizing, start doing things!

  7. Josh Martin says:

    Here is my random story of when I was a teenager of when I owned a CNC machine that has spanned a few years.
    I bought a new Microcarve A4 when I was 18 for $800 shipped to Hawaii.
    It included a decent Xylotex stepper motor drive setup using the cheap allegero choppers, some higher inductance steppers, a bosch colt, precise bits collet kit, and a bosch mount.
    Even with all of that it took forever to get a finished product. The final product are topographically accurate Hawaiian Island CNC milled from solid hardwoods that people are fond of in Hawaii.

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/854/pwrf.jpg/

    Anyways back to my experiences….

    I ended up replacing a stepper with a lower inductance one on accident (I didn’t tighten a coupling and had to replace the stepper since it was impacted into itr), that brought my feedrate on the X axis up to about 80 IPM. Then I eventually replaced the 12 TPI acme screws with 12 TPI double start screws. That got me to 150 IPM or so but I still got stalls (ugly resonance) if I wasn’t careful so I stayed at 70 or so IPM.

    The kicker was when I went from a 30 volt PSU to 48 volts, and replaced the Xylotex with THB6064AH kit by massmind. I also replaced the other two steppers. I was too cheap for the G540 but it still got my rapids up to about 280 IPM but my old Linux box can’t handle that much speed at 8x microstepping withiout latency issues. I get a solid 80 IPM with 3d profiling at.007″ accuracy. With that upgrade things changed and my productivity actually went somewhere. Anyways even with me buying everything and using a kit it was hard to get where I wanted. I can’t imagine doing it all yourself, well for myself I can’t.

  8. Rob says:

    This is really impressive… I wish I was that far along at that age. He’s got a bright future ahead!

  9. Now add a y axis and turn it into a 3d printer :)

  10. alfie275 says:

    This is quite inspiring :) I’m a 17 year-old student currently doing a 3D printer/cnc machine (3D printer officially in regards to the project, will likely expand it once that’s been marked etc) for my Electronics A2 coursework. I decided to go for a timing belt H-bot horizontal movement, which should be done pretty soon.

  11. Mick says:

    I am a 50 something year old Elec / Mech engineer, and looking at the design and build quality i think this young man has built an incredible tool which is a lot better quality than the vast amount of units available at a higher price.He should be very proud of his achievment and disregard the negative comments.Hopefully he will continue into a lifetime of fun and enjoyment with his new found skills. Good luck for the future.

  12. Jules says:

    I just have to say that I am envious since I had to work to pay my college fees, I had a lot of motivation but not enough time nor money to build any of my ideas and it was rather disappointing experience to see so many engineering “students” having the resources and the time and not doing anything with it. Now I have a family to take care of so still not a lot of time but some more resources to do something and actually doing it.
    So congrats to Benne who decided to do something with whatever he had handy (doesn’t really matter were it came from (unless in an illegal way in which case I must say “you don’t do that”)). It is not the resources but the motivation to build and curiosity about how things work.

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