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Cnc1Rheslip made his own CNC machine – “I looked at a bunch of designs and decided to try a fairly simple 3 axis machine as my first effort. The idea was to use a Dremel tool for the cutting head and use the machine to engrave aluminum front panels for my guitar amps. As it turned out the machine isn’t accurate or rigid enough for that. A dremel just has too much slop in the bearings for accurate machining. The machine will do a reasonable job machining soft materials like plastic and soft woods, and it does quite a good job of plotting PCBs. I haven’t tried drilling PCBs yet but I’m pretty sure it’ll handle that too.” Thanks Star! Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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  1. aolshove says:

    Cool simple machine that might work well as a vinyl cutter or such. As it is, the steppers are too weak and the platform too large. Not my words, The author admits this on his web site. Save yourselves alot of hassle and get some plans. Proven designs from the like of Kleinbauer and HobbyCNC.com already implement the rules of thumb a home-built CNC should be constructed by. You don’t have to buy extrusions to get rigidity nor linear slides. A 7th Sojourn with a Dremel or a panel router mounted on it (and using the appropriate engraving bit) would have been able to engrave the aluminum for the author albeit at a slower rate of travel than a regular aluminum milling machine.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t experiment, just maybe educate yourself a little first to save yourself some time and money.

  2. fignoggle says:

    pretty cool. this really looks like a weekend project one can do. since it’s made of wood, and only a few pieces of metal rod and leadscrews, it doesn’t require specialized tooling. nice work! to do heavier duty work in metal, you probably want to go with a real mill and do a cnc conversion. of course, i’m biased :) http://www.fignoggle.com/plans/cncplans.htm

  3. fignoggle says:

    pretty cool. this really looks like a weekend project one can do. since it’s made of wood, and only a few pieces of metal rod and leadscrews, it doesn’t require specialized tooling. nice work! to do heavier duty work in metal, you probably want to go with a real mill and do a cnc conversion. of course, i’m biased :) http://www.fignoggle.com/plans/cncplans.htm

  4. Kwaliteg says:

    A friend of mine has got a cnc machine shop:
    http://www.cnc-machining.co.za/
    I wonder if this projects would be something for his apprentices. More of those projects will be definetly of interest to us in South Africa, since there is actually an initiative going on improving the tooling industry.

  5. PlasmaCAM says:

    This is nice informative post. I like the idea but agree that a dremel tool is a little to lightweight. If you need a cnc machine you can always go with a pre-built CNC plasma cutting machine.

  6. StahlGear says:

    Search AllMaterialsDesign CenterProcessesUnits and ConstantsFormulasMathematics for

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    Machining: An Introduction

    In terms of annual dollars spent, machining is the most important of the manufacturing processes. Machining can be defined as the process of removing material from a workpiece in the form of chips. The term metal cutting is used when the material is metallic. Most machining has very low set-up cost compared to forming, molding, and casting processes. However, machining is much more expensive for high volumes. examples provided at http://stahlgear.com Machining is necessary where tight tolerances on dimensions and finishes are required.

  7. StahlGear says:

    Drilling: Introduction

    Drilling is easily the most common machining process. One estimate is that 75% of all metal-cutting material removed comes from drilling operations.

    Drilling involves the creation of holes that are right circular cylinders. Examples listed http://stahlgear.com/services.htm This is accomplished most typically by using a twist drill, something most readers will have seen before. The figure below illustrates a cross section of a hole being cut by a common twist drill:

  8. adrahn says:

    Very Cool, here is antother site that contains some more tips and builders of CNCs. http://www.CNCexpo.com/

  9. Daniel says:

    I actually built a whole line of CNC machines. I couldn’t find any other CNC machine shop that would build what I was looking for, so I decided to build my own. Here’s a little bio on it: http://www.ez-router.com/index.asp?PageAction=COMPANY