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Thread: DIY CNC My Journey

  1. #1

    Default DIY CNC My Journey

    I kind of fancy myself as an inventor of sorts. I always new a CNC machine would help me bring my designs to fruition. Several years back I owned a Sherline mini mill with a CNC add-on kit. I had used that CNC to do some small repetitive work on plastic. Now keep in mind that back then there was not much available for the DIY CNCer, so I sold the machine.

    A while back I started building PC cases, like the one shown here.

    I spent hours working on the legs of this PC case. Later a friend asked me if I would build one for him. I remember all the time spent on the legs, and had to turn him down.

    Knowing that building some of the parts for my PC cases would be perfect for a router based CNC, I started doing research. I was astounded at the information available for the CNC do-it-yourselfer. I decided to build my first machine.

    I purchased several plans, a couple of books, and read several hundred posts on the various forums. While my first two machines worked. They had a difficult time creating consistent parts.

    Building the first two machines was not a complete failure. I learned a log about CNC. My third build shown below was a complete success.

    ""]Build 3 Video

    I could cut parts consistently, and was able to build complex projects like this clock.

    In the early designs I had used a Bosch Colt router, but it has issues that left it far from ideal for use as a CNC router. In the third build, I used a Festool MFK700 router and it made all the difference. Using some of my woodworking skills I added adjustable fences.

    I got quite a few requests for plans, so I decided to write a step-by-step guide on building it. In order to do this I had to re-build the machine in order to take pictures of the process. I also needed to make a couple small tweaks in the design. Build 4 was born.

    I started the write-up. That's when I realized why there were no step-by-step guides on building a CNC.


    I took over 2000 photos and honestly, I would get to an area of the documentation and the picture just could not convey the information I wanted. The other problem is that the machine was made from melamine coated particle board, the gantry shapes made the plans very complicated and difficult to reproduce. I was not happy with the quality of the guide. I needed to go back to square one.

    I decided to build a totally new machine. The new machine would be pretty much bolt together. I needed to increase the table cutting size in order to build larger projects. I also wanted a lower gantry design for rigidity. That still left the problem of pictures.
    I had access to an AutoCAD workstation so I decided to teach myself AutoCAD. This way I could create illustrations of any angle.

    The KRMx01 CNC was born.

    I designed and built the machine first, then modeled it. The model includes every single nut, bolt, and lock washer. With the model in place I could start the documentation.

    Sooooo, here we are. A man and his CNC. I decided to create my first piece of furniture. I was working on a small table to hold my Oneida mini cyclone bucket, when I had an idea for a small end table.

    Being my first furniture project with the CNC, I decided to use some scrap particle board for the project. Here is a video showing the process.

    ""]End Table Video

    My daughter quickly snapped up this piece and wants me to make a matching basin stand.

    OK what about something a little more complicated. This piece was commissioned by a local coffee house. Its a pour over filter stand. A cup sits on the bottom shelf and a ceramic filter sits in the hole on the top shelf. Hot water is poured into the filter and it drips into the cup. This piece was cut with a 3/32" bit. The material is all 5/16" popular that has been dyed and gel coated.

    What about something a little more utilitarian. This is a small outlet cover made from a solid piece of popular. It's a two sided cut. With two sided cuts an accurate fence system is invaluable.

    This circuit board was cut and isolation routed with the KRMx01 CNC.

    ""]See the complete process here

    Iím working on a very large clock. This is one of 9 gears that will be on the clock. Its over 2 feet in diameter. The actual clock mechanism will be over 5 feet tall.

    I designed and cut everything on these two robots. Including the gears and wheels.

    Here is a RDS bot I am working on. All the parts were cut on my KRMx01 CNC.

    ""]RDS Bot Video

    The bot was stripping the main motor hub so I cut them out of aluminum shown here:

    ""]Cutting Aluminum Video


    The KRMx01 has been my most versatile build to date. Since I have written the book I have made upgrades which can be viewed and downloaded here:


    Some of these upgrades, like the dragon cable could be used on other DIY CNC builds.

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    Last edited by msimpson99; 11-23-2011 at 08:22 AM.

  2. #2


    Impressive DIY machine!!!
    What is the DIY cost of your setup minus the Steppers/Controller/PC/Software?

  3. #3


    Including the cost of the Electrics (Steppers, PS, controller, cables) about $2500. Less than $1900 if you already have those. Less than $1700 if you provide your own stand.

    The cool thing is each chapter is setup so you can budget the build. You only purchase what you need for that portion of the build.

    You can find a complete breakdown of the book here:
    Building the KRMx01 CNC

    Last edited by msimpson99; 11-23-2011 at 06:56 PM.

  4. #4


    One other thing. The book is more than just then a set of plans. Its 230 pages spread out over 20 chapters.

    I cover Mach3 installation and configuration. I take you through basic operation by cuting some clamps. Later you will cut and build your own E cable system.

    Here is a chapter breakdown.

    Getting Started
    Stand Assembly
    Y-beam Assembly
    Table And Rails
    Y-carriage Construction
    Motor Mounts
    Installing the ACME Screws
    KRMx01 Electronics
    Mach 3
    Installing Stepper Motors
    Cable Hookup
    Adjusting the Drive Train
    Clamp Table
    Router Hookup
    Basic Operation

    You can find more details about the chapters at:
    KRMx01 Book Contents

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