Trash Can CNC Gets A Stepper Upgrade

[HomoFaciens] is back at the bench again and working on improvements to his cheap and simple CNC machine.

The video below will no doubt remind you about previous versions of [HomoFaciens]’ CNC builds, which we’ve covered in depth. With an eye to spending as little as possible on his builds, most parts are recovered from e-waste, with a fair amount of Dumpster diving thrown in. For this upgrade, the salvaged brushed DC motors with their signature gap-toothed encoder disks are replaced with genuine bipolar steppers. The primary intention of his build is to learn (and teach) as much as possible, so he spends a good amount of time going over steppers and their control – how to determine phase wiring, how to wire up the not-salvaged-but-still-cheap drivers, directional control, and half-stepping. The mechanics are decidedly dodgy, but there are clever expedients aplenty – we especially like the oil cup fabricated from a brass tube and a bolt with a hole drilled in it. Everything just works, and the results to expense ratio is hard to beat.

While we appreciate the upgrades here, we’re still keen to see how junky his other trash can CNC can get. And we’re still waiting on the paper clip and cardboard challenge.

12 thoughts on “Trash Can CNC Gets A Stepper Upgrade

  1. This may be a dumb question but… can a DIY CNC device fabricate parts for another design that is actually more accurate? Can your really bootstrap your CNC machines this way or is it all an illusion that relies on buying prefabricated key parts that embody the precision that you need? If you can bootstrap what is the guiding principle that you need to follow?

    1. Using my CNC v2.1 to build a better successor is in fact an idea I have in mind. What principles to follow? Well, that’s what I can’t say until that machine is build…
      One key part to buy is the stepper motors (or use those of scrapped printers). The material I’d like to use is acrylic plastics and the machine will be smaller than 2.1 (approximately 20x20cm work area). I won’t give up until the precision is at least as good as that of v2.1, a more accurate and faster machine is the real challenge.

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