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View Full Version : Want to build CNC Router for routing 3/4" MDF and solid wood



Darren_T
10-09-2003, 06:20 PM
I'd love to build a CNC router for cutting out recesses and holes in 3/4" MDF and 3/4" solid hardwoods. I can't afford to spend thousands on a commercial machine for a hobby. I've looked at several of the popular designs but the affordable ones seems to be far too delicate for such work. Most are for balsa wood and circuit boards etc... Is there a DIY design that might meet my needs?

Thanks.

Darren

balsaman
10-09-2003, 06:41 PM
How much you want to spend?

Eric

Darren_T
10-09-2003, 06:53 PM
Well, I was hoping to accomplish something with $500 or so for everything. I have a computer and router. I'm a woodworker hobbiest with a full woodshop so a design that utilizes MDF or similar substrate would be great.

I realize this is a tall order for little $$ but I thought I'd give it a shot. I'd be using the router for smaller projects about 12"w X 24"L.

Am I outta luck?

Darren

balsaman
10-09-2003, 07:22 PM
No.

The small size helps because you can build it from MDF and it will still be plenty rigid to do what you want. My first machine was exactly that size, made from MDF and I used it to cut MDF, hardwood, and aluminum.

I have some plans for my first router in DXF format. I will dig them up tonight and post here.

Eric

Darren_T
10-09-2003, 08:10 PM
That would be wonderful. I don't have any software yet, can you recommend some? I'm a newbie when it comes to CNC but a quick study. I've used some very basic CAD systems like Graphicad and Casmate for plotters.

Darren

balsaman
10-09-2003, 09:48 PM
you can download Turbocad for free here: http://nct.digitalriver.com/fulfill/0002.16

Just a disclaimer. These are rough plans and in no way complete. It's just an idea to get you started. I used THK linear rail/bearings but they tend to be expensive, you can maybe adapt cheaper round rod and linear ball bearings or??

Eric

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 12:07 AM
Thanks, I'll take a look at the plans and see what I have ahead of me. I'm completely comfortable building it, it's the drive system electronics and software I'm a little sketchy on.

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 12:21 AM
I'm getting a file format error and it won't open the dxf file you provided... any ideas?

turmite
10-10-2003, 01:03 AM
Darren I am going to ask a question and I hope it dosen't offend you. Do you have a cad package on your computer that will import dxf or at least some drawing package that will do it? If not that is the reason for the error.

turmite

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 01:09 AM
I have turbocad installed... do I need something else?

Don't worry, you ain't insulting me. I'm new and know it. I have worked with some older CAD software before but I'm starting from zilch again now.

Darren

turmite
10-10-2003, 01:13 AM
I don't think so. I just didn't want you to sit there beating you head against the keyboard any longer than you had to.:D I have never used Turbocad so I can't help.

turmite

lsfoils
10-10-2003, 01:25 AM
Hi Darren,

I opened his file in Rhino and resaved it as autocad12. Maybe this will work. Uh, dxf, that is...

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 01:30 AM
Originally posted by lsfoils
Hi Darren,

I opened his file in Rhino and resaved it as autocad12. Maybe this will work. Uh, dxf, that is...


That was the ticket! Thanks for the help!

Darren

lsfoils
10-10-2003, 01:34 AM
Any time Darren,

Doug

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 01:42 AM
Ok, I've already admitted I'm new :) I've looked this file over a bit and from what I can tell it's a nice design. I am confident I can build something similar but need some more basic info. Could I get a kick in the right direction?

I guess I need to learn everything else. :( I know, you've all probably heard that a thousand times. I'm a quick study. Any good resources? I'd like to find a drive system and the electronics etc... that all work together to make it simple. I don't want to make this any harder than it is. Oh, and please forgive my lack of correct terminology. I'm still learning the cool new words :)

Darren
I be a Woodworker... not even close to a machinist :D

turmite
10-10-2003, 01:45 AM
Duhhhhh Isfoils I never thought of that! I also didn't know you were a Rhino user! You're from somewhere up in the northwest aren't you.

How long did it take you to get proficent with Rhino? I am self teaching and I want to let you know I don't have a very good student! Can you take a rendered image and turn it solid in Rhino. I know it is probably in the tuts but I have been so busy trying to make a living I can't spend as much time as I really need to on the program.

turmite

lsfoils
10-10-2003, 01:56 AM
Darren,

Check out ebay. There are lots of CNC Controllers being offered there. If you have had experience with electronics then you might try your hand at making one. I didn't. I purchased a 3 axis controller that had the power supplies on the board with the basic hook up for the printer cable and drivers mounted. The guy offered 3 stepper motors with purchase of the board @ 30.00 each and I got those as well. Worked out. The system worked great as the guy knew what he was doing. I was into it at 350.00 with shipping when it was all said and done. There are cheaper ways to do this and you should check out other threads in the Zone. I also purchase Mach1. Its the software that lets your computer talk to your machine. 125, I think.

Turmite,

I am self taught with Rhino as well. Man, what a kick butt program! I have created solids using it. But, I am sure I am doing it the hard way. Be glad to share the misery if you have q's.
Yep, I'm just south of the boarder and very near the water. (even get to sail once in a while)

Doug

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 02:04 AM
IsFoils,

I'm pretty good with electronics, used to work in the industry a while ago as an electronic assembler so I have no problem as long as there are plans and schematics. I'll take a look around the forum and see if I can find something that looks intersting.

Thanks again.

Darren

turmite
10-10-2003, 02:21 AM
Doug if you will pm or email me you email address I will send you the 3dm file to look at. There is a fellow in Bellingham right now that is going to do it into Solidworks for the moldmaker that is making the mold. I want a good solid from Rhino to test 4 axis cams programs with to see which I am going to buy. Another option would be to post it here if I knew how. Talk me thru that if you want to.
Mike aka turmite

ger21
10-10-2003, 08:41 AM
http://www.xylotex.com


Probably the best performance for the price. And you can get everything you need from him. Also, great support. Email him any questions you might have, and he'll answer them promptly. For a little less money, you might want to look at http://www.hobbycnc.com
but you'll have to assemble the boards yourself.

Gerry

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 10:43 AM
Wow, the Xylotex looks like a great deal, hardly seems worth it to assemble my own for the price difference. That and the support is a big plus.

Another nice looking package: http://www.hobbycnc.com/package.htm

Would the 125oz motors be sufficient for what I want? Sorry, still researching.

Ok, I've been doing a bit of reading, let me know if I'm thinking correctly. I'm trying to learn fast as usual.

The design of the actual machine is just whatever works and is solid, many different implementations. The items that need to be "standardized" if that is the correct term would be the drive mechanism and it's mechanics. So, the threaded rod, step motors, and the drive board correct?

Could someone recommend a good step motor for cutting 3/4" MDF, hard wood, and aluminum? I'm assuming a minimum torque would be required for a reasonable cutting speed. I suppose I should be considering that it would possibly take multiple passes to reduce the possibility of chatter etc...

Thanks for all the help so far guys.

Darren

ger21
10-10-2003, 11:24 AM
You probably won't find a better deal than the 3 116oz-in motors from Xylotex for $60. Although you might be able to get the same motors from Ebay for a little less. ( It's the same guy that Xylotex get's theirs from.) I got some 250oz-in motors on Ebay for about $65 each, but they don't turn up very often.

Gerry

balsaman
10-10-2003, 01:23 PM
On that machine I used 100 oz motors. With a xylotex board and thier 116 oz motors and 1/2-10 acme rod with a 24 volt power supply you will be able to cut your MDF and hardwood no problem. Rapid moves will be in the 20 to 40" per minute range as long as the machine is built straight.

For software you can run Turbocnc (inexpensive) or Mach 1 (a little more).

Don't worry about the software now. Just get the mechanical end done. Plenty of time to play with the saftware later...:)

Eric

P.S. I just looked at the plans again, sorry they are such a mess. I should clean them up.

Darren_T
10-10-2003, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by balsaman
On that machine I used 100 oz motors. With a xylotex board and thier 116 oz motors and 1/2-10 acme rod with a 24 volt power supply you will be able to cut your MDF and hardwood no problem. Rapid moves will be in the 20 to 40" per minute range as long as the machine is built straight.

For software you can run Turbocnc (inexpensive) or Mach 1 (a little more).

Don't worry about the software now. Just get the mechanical end done. Plenty of time to play with the saftware later...:)

Eric

P.S. I just looked at the plans again, sorry they are such a mess. I should clean them up.

Thanks for the additional info, you are making this much easier. It looks like I'll be able to get what I want within my budget for my first CNC Router. I can see myself doing what you did later on down the road and build a bigger better faster router using the first one :)

So, I order the xylotex board and motors, build the machine, then get the software and tie it all together right?

Is there anything else I need. I noticed in your most recent project you have a break-out board etc... will I need to have some other interface?

Thanks again for all the help from you and the others. I'm getting a real good feel for what I'll need.

Darren

lsfoils
10-11-2003, 02:49 AM
Hi Mike aka Turmite,

I tried to email you but it didn't get through?
Doug

ger21
10-11-2003, 09:14 AM
You don't need a break out board with the xylotex, but it is a little tricky to wire up limit switches to it. There are some .pdf's with wiring diagrams on the website. But I believe you'll have to wire up some new connectors to plug into the board. As both TurboCNC and Mach1/2 support at least 2 partallel ports, you can always buy a seperate breakout board for limit switches and relays and plug it into a seperate parallel port. Just buy a $20 parallel port card to add ports. It's a good idea to not use the motherboards built in port anyway, so just get a card with 2 new ports. Look here for a nice inexpensive breakout board with relay capabilities built in
http://members.shaw.ca/axxus/db1v20.htm

Hope this helps.

Gerry

balsaman
10-12-2003, 02:29 PM
No need for a breakout board. Limits switches can be added any time, and are optional anyways.

Eric

gloomyandy
10-13-2003, 09:01 AM
Hi Darren,
If you have some time on your hands you may want to take a look at this thread (sorry about posting a link to another board but this really is a very good thread). There is lots of information and you get to follow a few people actually building a machine. All good stuff...... Oh and you also get to meet Eric and understand his background in cnc....

rcforum cnc link (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=62920&perpage=15&pagenumber=1)

stu99
10-15-2006, 10:31 PM
i would love to build my own cnc machine for various things i would like to make but what i'd like to know is if anyone has blueprints or plans or whatever i can get from them free over the net to make one myself but i would need very detailed plans cause i'm not very good with this stuff even though if i have the plans i'll be able to make one no problem oh i would need step by step pics too so if anyone can help i'd greatly appreciate it cause i make wrestling belts and i need one to engrave the design on the belt so please if anyone can help let me know either by my e-mail
stu2050@hotmail.com or on here thanks

stu99