View Full Version : 5 Axis Rotery Head Home Cnc Router

09-06-2003, 01:47 PM
Hello all cnc and router gurus

I am Planning on designing and building a 5 axis router

1. I need input about servos or stepper motors

2. Machine controller software package for 5 axis or more

3. Spindles (porter cable 3 1/4 horsepower possible or What?)

4. input about custom designed toolchanger (possibly )
This machines envolpe will be approx. 50."X 30." X20."

I have pretty much decided on THK rail (ebay) for xy and z axis
4th and 5th axis will be custom design and built by me and Pro E (stainless steel machined weldments, custum gear driven most likly)

If I get enough input from everyone I will make pdf engineering drawings (very detailed) of whole project step 1 through 350 Material lists etc...

To all that would like to be involved and eventually build your own Please start posting.

The designs will be posted step by step and displayed as we go in this Thread So all can be envovled that want to be in designing !!! (however I will have final say )

Money i will spend on this project will be approx $3500.

I get all metals at cost From the machine shop i work for and also have alot of steel tubing i can use for free.

So materials is pretty much coved What i need for you guys is knowledge of home cnc.

Expect to see 1st designs in 3 weeks from now


09-06-2003, 02:11 PM
!. I would go servo's and Gecko320 drives

2. TurboCNC does up to 8 axis, Not sure about Mach 1

3. That router works great.

4. Add this later. Get up and going first.

It would be great to see. I look forwarsd to seeing what will happen!


09-06-2003, 06:35 PM
You may want to take a look here
this guy has a homemade 6 axis machine and software for programing it.

09-07-2003, 11:32 AM
Here is preliminary design of base with thk rail

09-07-2003, 12:57 PM
Choose "Attach file". make sure your image is in JPG format.


09-07-2003, 02:04 PM
This going to be a moving table or moving gantry design? If moving gantry, you need to think about the leadscrew location and getting a table on top there somehwhere. I put my thk rails on the side, so I had a spot to put the table. If I did it again, I would put the thk rails under the frame for two reasons: to keep them out of the dust, and to equalize the wear so it's not always on the one side of the bearings.

Have a look:


09-07-2003, 08:48 PM
im a newb at home cnc. im planing on making a 3+ axis machine in the near future. id love to see your plans, sounds very promising.

09-09-2003, 05:37 PM
I will be starting to design rotary late this week

09-09-2003, 07:21 PM

A couple of comments. If you are using one x axis leadscrew, you need to tie the angle brakets together underneeth, for a place to attach a nut. Even with two screws, tieing it together here will help keep it more rigid.

The z-axis plate for holding your spindle needs to extend beyond the bottom bearings by the amount of z axis clearance it has. Otherwise, the spindle won't reach the table. I am not saying it needs to be like my machine, but here is a pic of what I mean.

Not being critical, just pointing out some stuff that I learned the hard way...:)


09-09-2003, 07:49 PM
But dont forget about 4th and 5th axis rotary on the front z plate
the mechanics and assembly of this device will bring placment of router down I have A vision but not modeled in Proe yet remember this is all preliminery design in proe this can all be ajusted in a matter of minutes.

So I am not so worried about every aspect like the ball screws until i have all the major components designed and modeled.

I acually plan on having major changes after major design is done.

This is really just A design concept.


09-09-2003, 10:04 PM
But dont forget about 4th and 5th axis rotary on the front z plate

Of course. I am starting to see it now. I will keep watching for updates.


09-10-2003, 01:09 AM
Hi mace. While I may not have very much to input I am very interested in the 5 axis head design since this is something I want to do in the future except I want to build a really small one.
I am talking something on the table top size that can be picked up and carried by one person.

Are you thinking of using belts to drive the 4 and 5 or round spur gears?


09-10-2003, 08:23 AM
I have not decieded on gears or timing belt system yet.

An engineer that I work with is saying to use belt drive easier cheaper and wont wear out.

But I am concerned that when making 5 axis cuts 4th and 5th axis would have to much play and slop.

So any input is helpful!!!!


09-10-2003, 11:58 AM
A belt system will have the least backlash.


09-10-2003, 01:22 PM
My current cnc machine uses belts and there is no backlash that is perceivable {I haven't indicated it} while the motors are entergized. I think the belt system is the way to go if you have the room for it. On the little one I am wanting to build I don't think I will have the room and keep it as compact as I want. On the other hand all I will ever carve on it will be wax, wood and maybe some really soft metals.


09-16-2003, 08:34 PM
I am looking for servos to continuing the design I need help on locating and compatabilitiy with GECKO and size

I would like to be able to cut 6061 AL. with 1/2 " cutter 1/2" deep with mist

I am considering going to 96 inches on X axis

1.What size should i get for extra power?

2. Do they all have to be the same size ?

3. Should it be direct or reduced ?

4. Should and could I make 4th and 5th axis reduced for power and accuracy?

5.Will mach2 and or turbocnc adjust for 4th and 5th axis reduced

6. Where can I look at assortment with prices ?

I am pretty sure that c axis (rotates around z axis ) will have no hard limit switch so that i can spin more that 360 degrees each
B axis which rotates +90 and -90 will have limit switchesalong with x y z axis .

So any thoughts are welcome !!!

oppss this was suppose to go in 5 axis router thread

09-16-2003, 09:31 PM
I merged them for you.

1) at least ~1/4 hp is my guess.

2) No

3) Reduced usually. Depends on motor voltage and RPM, and powersupply voltage.

4) You could, and probably should. They generally rotate less that 360 degrees. I don't think you would want direct drive here.

5) yes

6) Do a search on ebay for servo or DC motor (if you want to attach seperate encoders).


09-17-2003, 01:30 AM
Just a note. You may find that when you power off the servos your z axis will fall with the extra weight on the screw. I have the Porter Cable 3 1/4 router and my z axis just barely holds at 2:1 ratio.

09-17-2003, 06:39 AM
balsaman is there not a company that sells at resonable prices?

09-17-2003, 07:54 AM
For servos and drives try Jeffs place : http://www.homecnc.info/

09-17-2003, 03:07 PM
I do have new servo motors from Poly-Sci. I pass most of the savings on to my customers. You can't believe how much they want for the same motors in small quantities. If you buy just one from the factory it's a little over $300 !!!!

Still you can get DC motors from ebay for less. You will have to find encoders and such, but that's not to hard.

I don't carry the Gecko drives. I don't think Mariss has dealer discounts so buying them from him is the same as anywhere else.

09-18-2003, 12:23 AM
I don't think Mariss has dealer discounts so buying them from him is the same as anywhere else.

I wonder about this. I believe that I have a catalog (my memory gets fuzzy) that has what I believe to be gecko drives sold under another name at gouging prices. Someone can correct me if I am wrong (I will look for the catalog). It is all marketing. The catalog that I am talking about had about 5 or so drive systems and I believe that they manufactured none of them(while obviously trying to hide this fact).
I found It! Do a search for the MicroKinetics DM 8007 Motor Driver. Very interesting!

It seems that this drive may be no longer available at their website.

I like geckodrive and *know* that they are great business people (and EXTREMELY helpful). However, I do dislike selling the same product at different prices to different people (somewhat verboten, at least in my book). I know that this is a gross oversimplification and that I could be totally wrong (please let me know if I am and I will apologize), but it concerns me. But then again, business is business, money is money, but then yet again, people are people. Perhaps this is not an issue anymore (if it ever was).
Just curious (as always),

09-18-2003, 12:29 PM
When Mariss was first selling his Gecko drives he did have a dealer selling structure setup. Later he changed his mind (from what I remember) and now he does not sell his drives do dealers to re-market. I think some people still have a stock of the older drives around and I do believe they are only the stepper ones.
Way back when I was doing my first CNC conversion on my Enco mill/drill I just first heard of the Gecko drives. I was looking for the G320 drive and went to a what I thought was the Gecko drive site. I went to geckodrives.com , not geckodrive.com. Notice the 'S' at the end of the first one.

This took me to a site that for all intent looked like I was at the manufactures site, but I could not find the G320. This site was selling only the stepper G201/210 drives. When I asked about this on the CAD_CAM_EDM site I got a reply back from some guy that could not believe someone was posing as the factory. He just verbally beat this guy up to no end.

Now if you go to www.geckodrives.com you will be going to the same site as www.geckodrive.com. Mariss must have purchased the domain. Maybe this is one reason why there are no dealers anymore :D