Make your own CNC

I normally don’t like posting links to other sites… but this is just plain cool:

Apparently $600 later, you can have a CNC machine. :yikes:

The documents included are very extensive.

Please Note!: I have not built one of these… so I’m not sure how it actually turns out. Seems plausible though.


My dad would love that! Then again, so would I:D . Not to bad either, and it looks like it would work great.

Thanks for posting:D

When I was looking to buy a CNC mill last year I did a lot of searching on I ran across many businesses that were closing down and looking to get rid of mills and lathes. Many of these companies were willing to give the machines away for free, promised you paid for the moving… which was way to expensive for me :ahh:

See also This Thread.

If you can build a FIRST robot, you’ll have no trouble with a CNC 3 or 4 axis mill. The problem is that once you start increasing capacity (not just size, but ‘power’) costs get very high very quick. But, pay close attention to details and scrounge for parts, a few hundred dollars can get you something quite nice…and use THAT to build a big one! :smiley:


This is the first real comprehensive tutorial I have seen. I was even following the other thread when it was alive. This one must be pretty tough being made out of 1/2" MDF and all. If you cut everything right it should have no play anywhere. But yea like Don, said build a small one then use that to build one that is much better. I am sure on this one if you get the right kind of spindle motor and chuck you could do aluminum, though it may be slow, you could still do it. Just let it run all day or something.


The tutorial seems good. however I seem a bit sceptical that this thing can handle anything more then soft plastic. i have a MAXNC 3 axis CNC machine which has it’s limitations, so this would definatly not be suitable for any heavy duty machining. Although it would be great for engraveing!(it could also possibly be beefed up and made out of different materials)

Just as a side note, i would not advise leaving CNC machines alone for extended periods without monitoing them. if a bit breaks the machine wont know that, and will ruin a part that could have been saved; Or various parts could get damaged if the broken bit get stuck, Just thought people should know =)

Ehh I knew not to leave it alone but if it were in my basement I would still leave it alone for periods.

Do you have a link to the mill you have?


If you want to go cheap, I suggest you buy a used manual Knee mill or Drill/Mill, then replace the handwheels with your own actuators.

Knee Mills and Drill/Mills are available all ovr if you’re buying new from companies like Enco and Grizzly. But, you Ebay mavericks out there can find them for cheaper i’m sure.

Many handwheel pitches on manual mills are such that stepping motors can be used GEARBOX FREE for X,Y, and Quill axes (if you use the quill for Z) and directly mouted through a coupler (aquired from Helical for about 20 bucks) to the shaft the handwheels mount to.

However, if you want to use the Knee as the Z axis, you will most likely need to make a gear reduction, but shouldnt be anything above the 4:1 range… not too bad.

I suggest you use stepping motors for your axis drives since they are very very accurate and repeatable, not to mention easier to make your own controller for (if you are software inclined). I suggest you use the step motors available from Automation Direct. The NEMA23 doublestack @276oz-in torque should be fine for most X and Y axes, however some that will be doing heavier milling may need the NEMA34 @434oz-in.

Drives and power supplies for the motors are available here. Usually up to 2 (sometimes 3) motors can be run per power supply, and you’ll need one drive for each motor. The drives are pulse driven, one pulse in = one step… more on that later if anyone’s interested.

If you don’t want to make your own CNC control, then you have two options. One, the DeskCNC control provides a 100% deterministic control board and accompanying software… we’re going to use one of these controls to run a 15’x10’x2’ cnc machine.

If you want to run straight out of a computer… Mach3CNC from ArtSoftruns off of a PC. and controls frequency drive motors straight out of your PC. I dont have any experience with this but it gets good reviews.

Well anyhow, hope some of that helps… if anyone has any questions or want to talk more of the hardware side than control just post…

-q is an awesome operateing system for homebuilt equipment.

heres a link to the mill I have. It’s a good mill as long as you arent trying anything larger then 4 inches.

I’ve been working on a much larger CNC mill, however the cost of parts is about $300 per axis for a decently sized mill.