Desktop CNC – Work In Progress

To make my projects smaller and more durable, it would be better to make custom PCB’s rather than jamming a wad of wires into already small cases.

To make this possible, I’ve made a desktop CNC. To keep the costs down, it will be made using mostly surplus parts. To cut back on costs further the sides and 3D printed parts where redesigned to fit 8mm smooth rods, rather than 12mm, which are considerably more expensive and harder to find.

There are many revisions of the CNC design I chose and I had to piece together parts from 2 or more of them, notably the X-carriage – most of them where designed as a single piece, which would need supports.

I increased thickness of most of the CNC parts to 9mm (from 6mm). During the stepper motor testing, I noticed that I should have done the same for the front and back, possibly eliminating the need to use aluminium rails at the top and bottom of them.

Unlike the controller used in the instructible, I’m using a Ramps 1.4 board to control the steppers, mainly due to familiarity and flexibility. At this stage I’m not sure how the gerber files, and how well they will be converted to g-code.

Initial tests with the motor running, chuck and engraver bit installed where slightly unexpected. because the bit is ground in half, it’s off center so the tip spins in a circle rather than on it’s tip. Making thin precise lines impossible. I tried another balanced bit and it was far better, but not suitable for cutting from the end.

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