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

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.


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XZ32GHJIYRUHDDF2IIGBKEA6XE Ken Norris

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

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XZ32GHJIYRUHDDF2IIGBKEA6XE Ken Norris

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

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XZ32GHJIYRUHDDF2IIGBKEA6XE Ken Norris

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jay-Alexander/891230321 Jay Alexander

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

  • http://twitter.com/halfvastcnsprtr Halfvast Conspirator

    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

    • Alden Hart

      The link is up now

    • Alden Hart

      The link is up now

  • http://twitter.com/halfvastcnsprtr Halfvast Conspirator

    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

  • http://twitter.com/halfvastcnsprtr Halfvast Conspirator

    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

  • Anonymous
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500671262 Andrew Sayler

    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.

    • http://twitter.com/rileyporter riley porter

      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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500671262 Andrew Sayler

    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.

  • joe gagner

    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