The type of CNC machine within the financial reach of most DIYers is generally a three-axis affair, with a modest work envelope and a spindle that never quite seems powerful enough. That’s not to say that we don’t covet such a machine for our own shop of course, but comparing small machines with the “big boy” five-axis tools might leave the home-gamer feeling a tad inadequate.
Luckily, there’s a fix that won’t necessarily break the bank: adding a fourth axis to your CNC router. [This Old Tony] tore into his CNC router – a build we’ve featured before and greatly admire – to add a machine spindle that lets him work with the machine much as if it was a CNC lathe. The first video below covers the mechanical part of the build, which involves welding and machining a sturdy assembly to hold a spindle connecting a four-jaw chuck to a Lexium MDrive, a stepper motor with integrated driver and feedback that makes it act more like a servo. [Old Tony] covered integrating the drive into Mach4 in a previous video.
The assembled machine spindle is a beefy looking affair that can smoothly ramp up to 3000 rpm and has decent enough holding torque to allow it to act as an indexing head in addition to a lathe. The second video below shows some tests turning aluminum and steel; we were surprised by how aggressive the cuts can be before stalling the spindle.
No, it’s not a Tormach or Haas or even a Pocket NC, but it’s a great addition to an already capable machine, and we’re looking forward to what [Old Tony] cranks out with it.
6 thoughts on “Already Impressive CNC Router Gets An Extra Axis”
Impressive. I also have a mill/lathe CNC combo Frankensteined from China parts. Works for me, but nothing nearly as fancy as your get up. Love the puns and innuendos and funny stuff. Keep it coming.
one of my favorite time travelers!
and karate expert too!. I really enjoy his videos. Also check out clickspring too!
I love the sneaky subscribe prompts in his videos. Check out the Thinkpad logo in the recent ‘intro to cnc’ vid :p
Guy’s a legend among dad jokers.
TOT has just started a series of videos – “Build Your Own CNC!” where he explores DIY CNC fundamentals through the medium of an etch-a-sketch.
That’s interesting to learn how this CNC router can reach 3000 rpm. What is the fastest speed a CNC router can usually ramp up to? CNC machines are something that I would love to learn more about. https://www.signessentials.com/category/646-routers
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