CNC V0.6 Testing

Testing the CNC V0.6 on a sheet of 3mm plastic. Photography and diagram by Norbert Heinz

There’s been a surge in affordable desktop CNC routers over the past few years, but you’d be surprised at how easily you can cobble your own together. Using dirt-cheap chipboard, an Arduino, motor breakout board, angled aluminum, and a few gears and servos pulled from a tray-style computer CD drive, Norbert Heinz has created an unbelievably inexpensive CNC router — the total cost for Norbert was around €150 (or about $160 in US dollars).

While not as cute or portable as the Raspberry Pi-based CNC drawbot Norbert shared with us a few months ago, the CNC V0.6 (as he calls it) can handle more serious work. During testing, the machine was able to engrave wood, glass, plastic, aluminum, and Depron foam with surprising precision. One drawback for woodwork, however, is that the setup as-shown can’t handle woodcuts deeper than 5mm without overheating.

CNC V0.6 Wiring Diagram

Wiring diagram of the CNC V0.6

CNC V0.6 Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes of the CNC V0.6 you’ll find an Arduino Uno, H-Bridge dual-motor driver, power supply, relay, and plenty of wires.

The software used to drive the CNC machine is written in C and runs from the command line. Designs must be saved as Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) files with outlines converted to polygons.

Full instructions, including chipboard templates, software downloads, and schematics are available from Norbert’s web site, HomoFaciens.

CNC V0.6 engraving glass

A shot of the CNC V0.6 engraving glass. Soapy water was introduced during the process to keep the engraving bit cool.

Update: Norbert Heinz has since upgraded his machine to version 0.6.1. A video of this improved version can be seen here.