a DIY CNC machine

This old topic is closed. If you want to reopen this topic, contact a moderator using the "Report Post" button.
I dunno. It's a big project, and you should already have a shop if you're serious about it. IMO, if your time is worth a nickel an hour, you should just go and buy one of the various mini-CNC machines that are sprouting up all over. I'd have a look at the Tormach (Google is your friend) because it looks like a serious machine you could do a lot with for way under $10k. The very similar Smithy is also worth a look. If you just stick to smaller parts, you can outfit the Sherline machines with NC control. Ten years ago I thought about a diy NC, but it makes a lot less sense today.
I used to dream about CNC milling, but those dreams have been replaced by dreams of 3D printers. I want a Z Corp. 450 or Z510 printer. A 3D printer can do so much more of what I'd like to do that a mill just seems so last century...

Desktop 3D printers are now down to $5k. In a couple more years they'll be like inkjet printers- they will give them away in order to sell the supplies to feed them. When HP gets into the 3D printer biz, expect prices to drop precipitously.

Re: Google CNC Kits....

gurley123 said:
...and this one came up


This is "talking outta my butt" territory but, is MDF ridgid enough to make repeatable, accurate cuts? It looks pretty well braced though. I guess my prejudices are showing here.

MDF's dimensions will respond to changes in relative humidity ! There are MDF's recently on the market which are less susceptible to change. Even without MDF, however, you set all the parameters everytime you start up which would militate against the humididty effects.

You can automate a Grizzly mill for CNC -- one of the young Carnegie Mellon grads down the street has done it.
10-15 years ago I was working in a place where occasionally we would do about 100 to 300 identical PCBs by hand for some of the more unusual items we made. About 100 to 200 holes per board.

we stacked the boards 3 high, taped them together and drilled them by hand.

I doubt it would be worth it, even today, if you are making 50 or less boards in a batch. Let's face it, if you are getting those quantities you would be farming it out these days.
bigpanda said:

I am thinking of a CNC drilling machine to help doing my audio amp. pcbs. Would that be a simple project?


That 'can be done', cheaply and even fairly simply. There are quite a few links to good approaches and even project plans, available by searching at google.com. And there is free cnc-control software out there.

One that I just recently ran across is here:


Here's another random one:


Back when I was going to do it, I found free software here:


Here are some older plans for a stepper driver board that will run from the PC parallel port, with the software above (board might have obsolete ICs. But they're easily replaced with newer types.):


And here's a page about my long-ago first effort toward building a CNC PCB drilling machine 'testbed', which I didn't finish. But there might be some useful information about salvaging nice stepper motors from old dot-matrix and daisywheel printers:


Sorry about the one dead link on that page.
This old topic is closed. If you want to reopen this topic, contact a moderator using the "Report Post" button.