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Bay Area maker John Knoll (of ILM and PhotoShop fame) just finished converting his old manual milling machine to CNC with a GRBLshield and took the time to thoroughly document the process. If you’ve ever thought about attempting this conversion, you won’t want to miss this informative overview. In it John runs through the entire process from start to finish, beginning with converting a model using a Python script, sending G-code to the board using a Processing sketch, and ending with cutting the part. [Thanks, John!]

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. Ken Norris says:

    Very impressive. Excellent job of documentation. Makes me wish I had a Milling machine.

  2. Ken Norris says:

    Very impressive. Excellent job of documentation. Makes me wish I had a Milling machine.

  3. Ken Norris says:

    Very impressive. Excellent job of documentation. Makes me wish I had a Milling machine.

  4. That is awesome!  Thanks for the great video.  Really makes me want to build my own.

  5. This link for the shield does not work.  How would actually go about getting one of these boards? 

    https://www.synthetos.com/webstore/index.php/assembled-electronics/grblshield-grbl-arduino-diy-cnc-shield.html

    1. Alden Hart says:

      The link is up now

    2. Alden Hart says:

      The link is up now

  6. This link for the shield does not work.  How would actually go about getting one of these boards? 

    https://www.synthetos.com/webstore/index.php/assembled-electronics/grblshield-grbl-arduino-diy-cnc-shield.html

  7. This link for the shield does not work.  How would actually go about getting one of these boards? 

    https://www.synthetos.com/webstore/index.php/assembled-electronics/grblshield-grbl-arduino-diy-cnc-shield.html

  8. Beautiful project with wonderful results.  I’m curious, how did you account for backlash in the lead screws? Commercial CNc’s use recirculating ballscrews, which are very nearly backlash free, but the typical manual mill has ordinary acme threads with a fair amount of clearance, enough to mess up even moderately precise work.

    1. riley porter says:

      i asked that question to him too.  He accounted for it in his python code, he said.  But a more accurate setup is to replace the leadscrews with higher quality ones and place backlash nuts on it.

  9. Beautiful project with wonderful results.  I’m curious, how did you account for backlash in the lead screws? Commercial CNc’s use recirculating ballscrews, which are very nearly backlash free, but the typical manual mill has ordinary acme threads with a fair amount of clearance, enough to mess up even moderately precise work.

  10. joe gagner says:

    john, i am very interested in converting my msc mill to cnc, are there any plans and/or parts list(s)that you can offer? i have the sister mill to yours, anything you have to offer would be greatly appreciated!!! thank you joe