View Full Version : My 1st CNC Router (SK1)

09-22-2006, 08:00 AM

After many, many months of reading and studying cnczone I have finally started my project. I have also had a significant amount of guidance from Rodm1954. Rod is passionate about CNC and his machines are outstanding.

I have nicknamed my CNC Router - SK1. I am an amateur guitar maker who is looking to take some of the grunt work out of carving bodies and necks. What started out as a curious interest in the possibilities of CNC has turned into a hobby in itself. I am sure I am not the only one this has happened to!!

So far I have built the base frame and painted it. The dimensions are x=1010mm, y=450mm and z=250mm. I chose this size to accommodate the width of a guitar body and the length of the neck.

Here are some photos of my progress to date:

09-22-2006, 09:27 AM
What started out as a curious interest in the possibilities of CNC has turned into a hobby in itself. I am sure I am not the only one this has happened to!!

Lol no I don't think you are the only one, it was fishing lures for me, now I am planning my 2nd and 3rd machine even though I haven't finished my first yet...

You could do some pretty cool stuff on guitar bodies with CNC, I would like to have a crack at it myself, though I can't play for s#%t

Your machine is lookin good so far, keep the pics comin!!!


09-22-2006, 09:30 AM
Nice work so far. I bet that thing is not easy to lug around. Smart move to use quality componets so far on your first build. It makes things easier and will reduce frustration as you learn.

09-22-2006, 09:41 AM
Thanks for your comments guys.

I actually weighed it yesterday and it is 30kg already! I have got to get myself a strong table to support it! I estimate that there will be another 15kg with the gantry.

09-22-2006, 10:09 AM
Look very nice! How you move that x-axis? ballscrew in the midle of or...?

09-22-2006, 11:42 AM
Where are you locating your ballscrew on the x-axis?

09-22-2006, 05:58 PM
The X ballscrew will be located under the flat section the runs through the middle of the base. There is a 30mm gap under the side for the Gantry to connect to the ballscrew.

09-22-2006, 07:17 PM
I actually weighed it yesterday and it is 30kg already! I have got to get myself a strong table to support it! I estimate that there will be another 15kg with the gantry.

Know what you mean, I'd hate to weigh mine, just the base needs two people to lift properly, gonna be a bag of fun when I move house in 6 months time. At least I am only moving next door !!! :)


09-24-2006, 05:11 AM
Well I got started on the Gantry this weekend and it was my first attempt at cutting aluminium. It went better than I expected, noisy though. I picked up a piece of 950mm x 550mm x 10mm Aluminium sheet which was perfect for what I needed.

My Y rails should arrive this week so I am looking forward to attaching them to the Gantry.

Here are some more Photos -

09-24-2006, 06:26 AM
Hi Jason,

Where did you get your ballscrew from? I'm in Melbourne and I'm about to undertake my own cnc mill. I'm currently making an interface and stepper motor driver boards before I try a jgro type design


09-24-2006, 10:58 AM
Hi Calculus,

I bought the ballscrews from Homeshopcnc. These guys are in the US but provide very speedy delivery.


I was initially going build a jgro but after a lot of investigation decided on a steel and aluminium.

hugo carradini
09-24-2006, 11:50 AM
Nice work Jason.
I also decide to build a second machine instead of wood rigt away of steel and of course is going to be heavier. ¿What sizes of step motor are you using for SK1?
Thanks for your answer.
Hugo Carradini

09-25-2006, 07:19 AM
What sizes of step motor are you using for SK1?
Thanks for your answer.
Hugo Carradini

Hi Hugo,

Thank you. The Stepper Motors are "Compumotor LN57-83". They are 100oz/in and I have been assured that they are suited to my build. If anyone out there has an alternate opinion on this, I'd be happy to hear it. I am definitely learning as I go.

Good luck with your machine Hugo.

hugo carradini
09-25-2006, 11:03 AM
Hello Jason.
¿Did you say 100 or 1.000?
I am very green but I think that 100onz/in sounds like small for a steel machine that size.
Any way keep going that looks a great machine. . You got my interest and post pictures of your progress.
Hugo Carradini

09-25-2006, 11:36 AM
Very nice looking machine! Keep the pictures flowing.....

09-25-2006, 10:24 PM
Way to go Jason.

Looking good mate:cheers:

09-26-2006, 08:46 AM
100 oz could work, if geared properly. It will move very slow. You may want to consider larger motors.

10-08-2006, 10:06 AM
I got a fair bit done this weekend. I completed the gantry parts and attached the backing plate to the Gantry. I decided to tap a thread on the sides instead of using angle - it worked out pretty well. I also bought a prefab table from the hardware store and it is surprisingly very solid

I also worked on the Z axis assembly to ensure it has the right clearance for my ballscrews and bearing blocks. The photos should tell the story...

10-09-2006, 05:40 AM
Hello again Jason,

Your project is looking great! May I ask your cost for the aluminium? I was going to build a jrgo out of mdf but I think I'd like to construct the gantry from aluminium also and build a base from steel

10-09-2006, 09:08 AM
Hi Calculus,

It was about $80 in scrap pieces from various places, that I was able to fashion into the gantry and other pieces. The steel cost me about the same too. I am really happy that I made the decision to go with Steel and Aluminium - although I hadn't had much experience in cutting metal.

10-15-2006, 08:31 AM
I test assembled the Gantry and Z axis to the base to check the squareness and clearances - all good so far. I will be attaching the ball screws and motors this week and also testing the driver board. I am also on the look out for a quiet router because noise is a factor in my environment. I'd appreciate any suggestions.

10-15-2006, 08:50 AM
Great build Jason, as far as routers go, I bought an "el cheapo" from super cheap, only cost about $80.00 and I am surprised at how quiet it is, has variable speed and runs quieter than your average battery drill on the slowest speed. Can't say much more on it as my build is pretty much at the same stage as yours, next week though...


10-15-2006, 09:26 AM
Looking the goods there Jason.
It it a credit to you for a non metal head to get SK1 to to that stage and looking so good, you'll enjoy the next stage I'm sure.
As far as the noise factor goes it is difficult to put a guage on it, I am on half an acre so I can go over to the neighbours for a beer while my machine is cutting a job and cant hear a thing, but if you're in a tight housing environment then best get you're neighbors interested too, cos I find I cant keep my neighbuor away whenever he sees the shed door open.

The Millwaukee die grinder I have is a nice machine ( pictured) and well priced at 260 aud
and as far as decibells go I rekon it's ok. Our mate Rod says it also provides a beeter finish than the el-cheapos he was using before in his machines.

Anyhow keep us posted , it's getting close to comming alive now

Cheers Gary

10-15-2006, 10:38 AM
I have burnt out three identical cheap routers purchased for $49.00 but this has been over some five hundred hours of cutting so I figure they have done their job. I think the problem with the cheap routers is that they are not made to run for a couple of hours continuous and the heat build up finally gets to them.

The Milwaukee is the same as Gary's and was a welcome addition being a much higher quality spindle. It is about half the noise of the cheap routers I was using. As Gary has said I am getting a much better surface finish and I expect this is to do with better quality bearing and less run out at the collet. The die grinder is easier to mount on a CNC machine as well.

I have tried all sorts of things for reducing noise and even though the Milwaukee is much quieter when you are cutting materials like aluminum the cutter noise is something that cannot be avoided.

My last machine I went for an aluminum build and a 12 volt brushless spindle in an attempt to make a portable and quiet machine. Unfortunately as soon as you start cutting the noise transmits through the aluminum and it is almost as bad as using a router.

I built a dust and sound hood on my second machine and this seems to be the answer. It is inconvenient and your vision is restricted by the hood but it does reduce the noise by about two thirds.

My shed is about two metres from the neighbors house so I am very conscious of noise. I can be easily shut down by the current Noise Abatement Act so it is in my best interest to make sure I keep the sound levels down and use my machines at an appropriate time so I don't cause a problem. A friend of mine was required to fit a sound hood on a pool pump because it annoyed the neighbor so it seems enforcement of the Act favors the complainant.

That is a solid build Jason and I am looking forward to seeing your machine in full flight.

10-16-2006, 07:35 AM
Just noticed what the time was when you posted Rod, and I thought I was addicted to sifting through this forum, is there such a thing as CNCAA... or CNC Addicts Anonymous...:D


10-16-2006, 08:27 AM
It sure looks like it. Is there are cure? :)

10-17-2006, 01:03 AM
Not that I know of, better keep looking through the forums...


10-29-2006, 07:18 AM
Well almost... I still have little bits and pieces to do and some fine tuning, but otherwise I am up and going. I have cut a few things already and I am just amazed how accurate the cuts are. Anyway, no time to write - so much cnc, so little time....

hugo carradini
10-29-2006, 08:57 AM
Nice work.
Hugo Carradini

10-30-2006, 07:06 AM
Awesome !!! great job man


10-31-2006, 04:24 AM
Thanks guys... I appreciate the feedback. I will be keeping a keen eye on your projects too.