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.


12 thoughts on “DIY Bolt Together CNC Router

  1. @Tim, Thanks! I added a price list on my CNC page, including my staff discount at a hardware store but not including all my mistakes It would have cost about $750-$850.

  2. While this is awesome and all, and a great engineering challenge, I wonder if your money might have been better spent on a store-bought CNC machine like a Sherline which are available for about what you spent in materials. Similarly, maybe your engineering energies could be applied to making a CNC X-Y table to expand the working area of the router.

  3. Metal sections from a hardware store are ridiculously expensive. Using steel tubing and purchasing from a metals supplier would be about half of what the aluminum cost.
    Increased mass from the steel will also improve overall machine rigidity.
    Additionally, welding the assembly saves the cost of all those fasteners — not to mention the time saved by not drilling all those holes!

  4. @Steve

    ?? Apparently you’ve never worked with OSB. That looks like at least 1″, It’s extremely stiff and heavy. It’s also what pretty much every professionally made router uses for a bed. Their isn’t a damn thing wrong with using it the way he did. You can go in plenty of professional fab shops and see it used in similar ways.

    Where the hell can you get a 4×8′ CNC router for $750 new?

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