This group will discuss building an entry level, low cost (under $200) CNC machine with basic tools and supplies. I have cut many parts with it, including materials like plastic, wood, acrylic, foam. It is the easiest way to get into the hobby without spending a lot of money.
Building a low cost, accurate and easy to build CNC machine.
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Drawer Slide CNC Machine for under $200
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Like many of us interested in this hobby, I wanted my own machine. But I didn’t want to dive into it, spend $2k plus and have a large paperweight out in my shop. The idea was born for a simple, cheap, somewhat accurate CNC machine that I could modify as I gained knowledge (and funds).
The first step in the process was deciding what hardware I was going to use.
I decided on the TB6560-3 axis driver bought off eBay for $22.00/free shipping. I chose this driver because it was very affordable, and that is how I chose most of the components for this project. Next came the 12V 8.5A Switching Power Supply, also bought off eBay for $14.99/free shipping
For stepper motors, I found a lot of 5 on eBay for $10.00/free shipping. They are small, but they actually have plenty of power for this machine (I’m not milling aluminum and the x-y is quite small).
The spindle is probably the most important part of the machine. If you buy something that has too much run out (movement in the shaft/bearings which makes your cutting tools “wobble”) you will have difficulty achieving any sort of accuracy. This is the mistake I made, I chose a Dremel 100. This is a great tool, don’t get me wrong, but it is made with a plastic housing, and it turns at 35,000 RPM so it has quite a bit of run-out.
There are a lot of misc hardware pieces needed to build this machine, but most of which can be found at your local Lowes, Home Depot or local hardware store. I will detail a list of materials needed here:
(2) Pairs of heavy duty drawer slides (part # coming soon)
(1) small linear slide rail (bought off eBay $5.00/free ship) for Z axis
(1) 2’x2’ 1/8” sheet of luan plywood (could also use Plexiglas)
(1) Sheet of Plexiglas or lexan ¼” to 3/8”
(1) 3/8”x 3/8” aluminum angle
(1) 3/8” aluminum U channel
(1) ½” x 1/8”x 3’ aluminum flat stock
(1) ¼”-20 x 3’ Threaded rod (lead screw)
(3) ¼”-20 hex standoffs 2” long
(1) ¼” fuel line hose for coupling motor to threaded rod
(1) Tube of super glue
(4) Wood screws for securing drawer slides to frame
(16) Nuts and bolts 10-24 x 5/8”
(12) Nuts and bolts 8-32 x 3/8”
(2) drill bushings (for lead screw support)
-For stepper motor hook-up determined by stepper motors (how many wires) and how far your drivers are placed.
-Power cable for power supply (used 3 wire cord of old power tool)
-Small length of 12ga wire for driver power (from power supply) + and –