$400 DIY CNC Machine is Surprisingly Simple!

drawer slide cnc

Once you go CNC you never go back — they’re just too darn convenient! [Drez20001] shows us how he made one for around $400. Who needs expensive roller bearings when you can use drawer slides?

That’s right — the majority of the cost of this CNC machine are the things you can’t really get any cheaper — the servos (or steppers), the belts (or leadscrews), and of course the motor controller plus computer interface. Everything else? Plywood, drawer slides, and a bunch of fasteners can be had for next to nothing!

He had wanted to build a CNC for years but was mostly hesitant in doing so due to the cost and apparent complexity of the build, but when he started to look into it seriously, he found it really wasn’t the case! It’s built on the basic gantry system design where the X-axis drives a bridge containing both the Y and Z-axis. It’s not a heavy duty machine by any means (he just has a small dremel-like tool in it right now), but for his purposes it’s more than enough.

One rather creative way he saved a few dollars is with his motor couplers — he’s actually taken rubber gas line and cinched it onto both shafts, which he says works quite well!

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CD Drive CNC Machine Steals Matt Groening’s Job, Says ‘Ha Ha’

CD Drive CNC Machine

DIY CNC Machines are fun to build. There are a lot of different designs all over the internet. Some are large and some small. Some are made from new material and others from recycled parts. [Leonardo's] newest project is at the absolute far end of the small and recycled spectra. His CNC Machine is made from CD Drives and can draw a mean Nelson.

First, the CD Drives were disassembled to gain access to the carriages. These were then mounted to a quick and dirty wooden frame. Notice the Y Axis carriage is mounted with bolts and nuts that allow for leveling of the bed, not a bad idea. A Bic pen mounted to the Z axis carriage is responsible for the drawing duties.

[Leonardo] does something a little different for generating his g-code. First he takes a bitmap image and converts it to monochrome using MS Paint. The image is then imported into Cadsoft Eagle and using a modified import_bmp.ulp script. The bitmap is converted into what Eagle considers wire traces and then outputted as x and y coordinates for each wire complete with a command for lifting and lowering the pen.

A PC sends the move commands via USB, through a PL2303HX USB-Serial TTL Converter, to a PIC16F628A which, in turn, sends step and direction signals to the three Easy Driver stepper motor drivers. The stepper motor drivers are connected directly to the original CD Drive motors.

Check out the video after the break….

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DIY Bolt Together CNC Router

Before I decided to build my own CNC machine I had seen a few bolt together machines on the internet, usually constructed using 80/20 aluminum extrusion. My write up describes my attempt at a completely DIY bolt together machine made from 25mm aluminum SHS, 50mm shelving brackets and lots and lots of gutter bolts.

Building the machine involved drilling and tapping about 400 holes (if I can still count) and assembling the machine over a 3 month period. I designed it mostly on the fly which lead to a few headaches, but in the end a machine that works quite well (if slowly and noisily). I go through each major component of the machine and describe how and why I would have changed it if I had followed the normal plan-design-build methodology.

I have tried two versions of stepper motor drivers and you can find the schematics for the DIY version on my site. The entire thing runs from a Linux PC running EMC2, check out a video after the break to see it in action and here are some photos of a few of my machined items.

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