View Full Version : OK, I have finally taken the plunge

04-24-2006, 03:38 PM
Hello all,

I have been lurking and asking questions and researching for a while now. Well, I finally got the nerve to start building my own router. I have decided to go with a stock JGRO design with the exception of using 3/8-16 allthread for the leadscrews. I am not sure how to post pictures here but am documenting it on my website if you want to look.

You can find it here:

Joe Hildreth's - My Heap Website (http://www.myheap.com/projects/cncmill/98_buildlog/98_buildlog.php)

At this point I have the motors and controller (HobbyCNC 4 axis) and power supply done. I have the Z Axis finished and have started on the X axis.

I want to thank you all for the vast amount of very helpful information you guys and gals have provided!


Joe Hildreth

04-24-2006, 03:45 PM
Lookin good. I'm just barely ahead of you on the mechanicals, and slightly behind on the electronics.

Looks like yours is going together much more accurately than mine is :D I kinda went overboard on that "First Cut Fever" mines more like "First Machine Fever" LOL

04-24-2006, 04:10 PM
Well, that is why I started from the inside (z axis) so to speak and am working my way out. I figure it is going WAY too good and I will probably notice a little to late that I have something off and will have to compensate.

Thanks for looking!

Joe H.

04-24-2006, 06:12 PM
I just ordered the electronics (hobbycnc 4-axis kit) and some bearings so you guys are waaay ahead of me! I'm not following plans - instead I'm stealing ideas from all over these forums. If that doesn't work, then I'll follow some plans! :D


04-24-2006, 09:01 PM
I thought long and hard about doing that, but everytime I sat down and started drawing a machine from the "stolen" ideas it ended up looking just like a jgro anyway LOL

04-24-2006, 10:06 PM
good luck with build looks good so far. the hobbycnc kit should work good for you.


04-24-2006, 10:07 PM
Your plunge seems to have paid off, the project looks very good.


I couldn't take the extra hours to research, so I bought a 4 x 8 kit someone else started off ebay. I have picked it up and it is in parts in my shop.

Looking at your project it appears your investment in research paid off.

I will check back to see how you advance in the next while.

Thanks for the inspiration, and maybe now I will research some more.

Brad y

04-24-2006, 10:17 PM

It was a slow start for me but once I got started it kinda gets into your blood or something. I don't have much time to work on it, but try to find 30 - 60 minutes a few nights a week to work on it. You may think we are ahead of you now, but just wait till you get into the project. You may pass us up!


I commend you. I thought about designing a machine and chickened out. I finally decided if I was going to do this thing, I just needed to get started. JGRO plans were a good starting point for me. They were easy to understand and the construction method seemed easy enough for my limited wood working abilities. :-)


Thanks for the vote of confidence. It was your builds that finally put me over the edge to think I could start it. Another person that was a Huge inspiration was Bob from Bob's Metal Casting.


Well, to be truthful I have had electronic training in the Military and in college when I decided to grow up and become a computer guy.

As far as research goes, well I was so intimidated by this project, I felt like I had to know a little something before I started. But the research has just begun. I have _never_ done any CAD, CAM or G Code before so I still have that obstacle to over come.


Thanks guys for all your support!

Joe H.

04-24-2006, 10:44 PM
I want to thank you all for the vast amount of very helpful information you guys and gals have provided!

I was a little surprised to see my name and web site linked from yours! Glad that I could provide some useful information for your project. Really, you have to thank jgro (John) as he is the inspiration for this design.

You seemed to have gotten off to a fast start. Took me almost a half a year to get to the point where you’re at. Impressive!

I'm still changing my jgro, trying to improve the accuracy. I have cut new bearing blocks again as my originals were causing too much leadscrew whip. I'll add some pictures to my web site soon for this new design. My jgro will be used to cut out Joe2000che's latest design. I'll be making his latest creation a little smaller than as his original as the jrgo is a little too small to cut his parts out. I'll start a thread on my web site sometime this summer for this. I’m in the process of converting his design in BobCad now.

What kind of speed do you expect for your rapids? I'm using 118oz/in motors, so I'll only can get about 30-40ipm without losing steps. It's underpowered. I have purchased Mach3 software to control the machine. This software will run smoother than Turbocnc. Turbocnc is OK, but does not run as fast on arc cuttings. That issue can really increase your cutting time.

The Hobbycnc is a great little kit. Works like a charm!

I noticed that you used MDF for your adjusting blocks. Be careful with these as the tapped holes will probably tear lose when adjusting the screws. I would suggest using some plastic for these as I did for mine.

Good luck with your build and I look forward to seeing the finished product...


04-24-2006, 10:58 PM

Looking forward to seeing your build, you guys let me know if you need anything, files also.


04-25-2006, 12:26 AM
Wow, Genicom motors. Small world. I have worked for Genicom, now TallyGenicom (read globalization) for over 20 years. I design laser controllers, but have a few contacts with the stepper guys if you need some help. Looks like you are doing all right by your self.


04-25-2006, 11:56 AM

Maybe I am a little strange, but giving credit where it is due is important to me, especially if my name is attached to it. I leached your image if I remember correctly. I am pretty sure I sent you an email asking if it was OK, if not PM me and I will make it right.

I think you are right about the MDF adjusting blocks. I still need to find plastic for the antilash nuts. Maybe Joe2000che can help me there. Thanks for the support! If it were not for folks like you I may have never gathered the courage to get it all started.


I would be intersted in some plastic parts depending on the cost. You can email me if you like with details if you still do that sort of thing. Or maybe share the G-Code to cut them out when I get there. That would actually be better in a way for me, It would help me get past that learning curve.


I would really like to get my hands on the specs for the PJT80A2 motors that I have. I am assuming they are similar to the PJ80A1 that I have the specs for. (Got them here.) I made that assumption because they are the same size and both motors are rated at 1.68 Ohm / Phase. Any help or direction would be wonderful!

Thanks All,

I really appreciate the kind comments and the support you have extended to me!

Joe H.

04-26-2006, 08:48 PM
I am pretty sure I sent you an email asking if it was OK; if not PM me and I will make it right.
I don't remember the email or I haven't checked lately. In any event, it's OK. The image came from jrgo's plans anyways.

I still need to find plastic for the anti-backlash nuts.
Try "On-line Metals" at http://www.onlinemetals.com/ . They carry Acetal (Delrin) in various size sheets and thickness.
I used what I had on hand. I had some UHMW plastic sheets. Not as good as Delrin, but it worked for me. You could buy from "DumpsterCNC" http://gonebowlin.com/dumpsterCNC/. He has some nifty anti-backlash nuts already made for sale at reasonable prices.


04-26-2006, 09:42 PM

Thanks fo the sources. I will check them out. I have not update the web page yet, but I have the X Axis done except for some hardware and finished the Gantry bottom tonight.

I never seem to have too much spare time to work on it, but I try to get a half hour to and hour each night. I should be further but last night I had to do some work related stuff. I hardly ever have to bring work home but I hate when I have to.

Anyway, I have a meeting at the corporate office tomorrow, so maybe during the lull time I can find some time to update the page.

Do you have any sources for learning cad? I can't draw a straight line with a ruler so CAD should be fun.

Joe H.

04-27-2006, 08:11 AM
Do you have any sources for learning cad? I can't draw a straight line with a ruler so CAD should be fun.
Alibre Inc. has a free version of their CAD system called "Alibre Design Xpress 3D Solid Modeler" It comes with some excellent tutorials. You can find it here: https://www.alibre.com/xpress/software/alibre-design-xpress.asp


04-28-2006, 09:18 AM
Thanks Thunterman, I will give it a good look when I get caught up.

Joe H.

05-01-2006, 04:58 PM
Well, I thought I would post and let you know I am making progress. I have the Z and X axis finished and am just about done with the Gantry. I have to make the bearing slides for it yet and super glue a bunch of threads.

It is funny in a way. The more I get done the more I want to get it done and the more I think of things it can be used for. What started as something I could make patterns from foam with has turned into a tool that really with a little imagination is quite versatile.

Thanks for all the encouragement fellas!

Joe H.

05-23-2006, 12:31 PM
Well things are coming along pretty good. I have the X and Y axis running from the computer and have drawn circles and sqaures with the machine. I still have the Z axis to do and some detailing but I am hoping to make my first cuts by June 1st. If you are interested in the build log you can find it here:

Joe Hildreth's Buildlog (http://www.myheap.com/projects/cncmill/98_buildlog/98_buildlog.php)

Also, I am going to try to attach a picture of where I am at so far.

Joe Hildreth

05-23-2006, 10:33 PM
If you are interested in the build log you can find it here:
I looked at your build log. This is a great way to document your progress to help others with their own projects. That is the purpose on why I setup my web site.

Your rapids are similar to mine. I can run anywhere from 30ipm to about 50ipm using 118oz/in motors. Depends on how tight I have the bearings stressed at. My Z axis can run at 30ipm with a 800w trim router mounted. Probably could run it somewhat higher but, I kept it slower to prevent lost steps. I'm running a HobbyCNC board at 1/4 micro steps.

My biggest problem with my jgro is with the bearings I'm using. They are not tight enough on the 3/8" lead screws. This causes considerable noise when the screw turns as they will rack back and forth in the bearing sleeve. Would be better to have a lathe and turn the screw ends to a smooth shaft and the have a tight fit in the bearing sleeve.

I'll be looking forward to your future progress on the Z axis and your first cut.

One other thing, PAINT your machine before you start using it! Looks much better and will prevent it from warping. MDF likes to adsorb water. At the very least, put a coat of shellac on it, on all sides.


05-26-2006, 03:40 PM

Thanks for your response. I will paint it when I have it all done. Right now I just want to make it work, then I will paint and make some adjustments.

I am not so crazy about the bearings I bought either. They have a 3/8" bore but the threaded rod is a little sloppy. I think I like the idea of turning down a larger screw but for now I want to see it work.

Speaking of which, how hot do the motors get. What is too hot?

Joe H.

05-26-2006, 03:49 PM
Speaking of which, how hot do the motors get. What is too hot?
I've run the motors for over an hour and they are only warm to the touch. My motors are rated at 5.4vdc, but I run them at 36vdc with a HobbyCNC board controlling them. I really don't know the rated temperature of my motors. If they were hot to the touch, then I would be worried.

05-26-2006, 04:25 PM
How many amps are you using on them? That determines how hot they get

05-26-2006, 05:06 PM
I am running them at 2 AMP per Phase.

I think they are rated at 70 deg C. = 158 Deg F I think.


05-26-2006, 05:40 PM
High voltages will cause excess heating, but not until you're 15-25x the rated voltage.

05-26-2006, 06:24 PM
Great Build log. I found your info on microsteeping, jogging etc very helpful. Hopefully you will demistify software, g-code for us newbies.


05-26-2006, 06:53 PM
Hi WJHildreth, I'd just like to say that I had a look at your site and added it to my favourites list! :) The info and copious pics are great. I've been nibbling with the idea of DIY foundry, and I know Im going to have to get around to it next year when I have the rest of my workshop set up but I find it as daunting as my inevitable DIY router and plasma cnc tables. Anyway, at some point next year I'll be in touch!! ;)