View Full Version : Wood Router Plans questions

05-31-2003, 11:54 AM
If somone else were to come out with planes to make a DIY CNC Wood Router table, what would you like to see for ?

Cost of Plans?

Ease of construction?

Availability of componets?

What size?

What material should it be made out of?

Would componets that could speed up
assembly be important?

What style of movment, sliding table, gantry etc?

I have found that many of those people who sell these plans
really lack in personality and helpfulness.

05-31-2003, 12:03 PM
If you were to do it ( make and sell plans). I think people would want something simple, cheap and easy to build. I think you will find alot of people who try this are nooby's. So you would want someting easy to start with. And a list and cost of where they can get all the parts with out running all over hell looking for them.
I would love to see some more plans out there. With some helpful people on the other end of those plans too!

Laff Riot
05-31-2003, 02:19 PM
If you are looking to put out your own set of plans you have my full support and I offer to be your first customer. I don't care what condition they are in - I could even lend a hand getting them ready for public use.


"Cost of Plans?"
"I have found that many of those people who sell these plans really lack in personality and helpfulness."

Plan cost is not relevant. Everyone else out there is making their money from selling the plans. I would recommend selling the support instead.

The exact thing that makes me shy away from some plans - and we all know which ones - are the support horror stories. Anyone that thinks they will treat someone that gives you $60 bucks the same way 5 months later is in denial. But - if the person asking the "duh" question is actively giving you $20 a month for putting up with their idiocy they have a reasonable assurance you will not dump them on there ass. If they are a real pain then the $20 bucks a month loss isn't a huge loss to you.

Granted, this level of support is not easy to start with but it levels off after a short time.. there are only so many ways to answer the same questions. After the first two months, long before the "new toy" feeling wears off most of your answers will be pointers to previous answers. Long after they have asked all the questions they would probably stick with the forum just to not miss anything. A monthly, automated "Anything I could help with message" would probably go a long way towards retention. Now, don't get me wrong. I think there should be an initial charge for the plans as well as the cost of support.


"Ease of construction?"
"Availability of componets?"
"What size?"
"What material should it be made out of?"
"Would componets that could speed up assembly be important?"
"What style of movment, sliding table, gantry etc?"

Unfortunately what is easy for you may be near impossible for me. Everyone that comes here has something they innately understand and more things that they have had to sweat to learn. What scares me is the idea of unrolling a set of plans and seeing the caption - "wire the motors to the ball screw with a .002 tolerance while using a backwards ratcheted left handed set of needle pliers, but be careful to not get shocked". In case you have not guessed - my weakness is the electrical side.

The one approach that I saw which cancelled out all of these fears was pre-assembly of any or all parts. If this level of work doesn’t float your boat I am confident someone in the forum would give it a try with your blessing.

It would be a hard task to make a set of plans for all sizes and uses. I think you have proven with this forum how helpful other people want to be. Personally I have learned more here than all the other web resources combined. Open up your support forum with pictures of how "Jim made a Y gantry slide by changing these parts" You will acquire all sorts of people that can figure out how to make Part G cheaper because they found a alternative piece at the pet store. Everyone wants their own pat on the back for being innovative - give them a way to show off their talent and they will do the work for you. I bet they would answer 90% of the questions on your behalf before you could get the chance.

Generate the plans with two alternative sources to start. One for the Home Depot weekend warrior, the other a Grainger catalog option. This requires more on your part than the average set of plans but it covers a wider range of users from the experienced to the doe eyed newb. Personally I would try the $15 Home Depot option just to see how well it worked before trying the Grainger version. I loathe the idea that my first machine will be over built just to make sure it will work.

Specifically for the support forum I would offer mpeg video answers to questions when warranted. I did this with some software I authored and the support calls dropped dramatically. The bandwidth is in direct proportion to the number of paying users so it self finances. Lemme know if you need any or all of the items required for this. Make the mpeg library accessible by password.

You are basically putting together FAQ's for use by paying users. A FAQ addendum to this forum, plus the video and question support - SOLD!


My first machine, unfortunately will probably be a complete pre made kit. I really wanted to find and put together each piece and part but there is no guarantee that if I get stuck someone will answer the odd questions. I also have a 3-4 week deadline to get it together. From what I have seen most others here could probably put together the machine for $1500. I'm willing to pay the extra $700.00 for that assurance it will work. I would pay you a monthly fee on top of the original plan price in a New York second if I was assured I could get questions answered.

Heck I would pay a monthly price for the existing forum right along with everyone that uses it for free if I had the same assurance of an answer. I flatly refuse to dominate a open forum with the number of questions I really have. I think most people have the same etiquette values and probably the same number of questions. I don’t think many people would buy plans and support just to ask every question under the sun before reading FAQ's and previous posts - you have to be motivated to want to build one of these machines.

Highest regards.

So that you do not think I am a hypocrite your paypal account will be one of the first stops after my new router is making bank, up to then all the pennies are going into the high speed spindle jar ! :) This forum has been well worth it.

05-31-2003, 02:52 PM
Laff Riot,
Fantastic Post, Well Said, Two thunbs up. A must Read.

05-31-2003, 04:52 PM
Laff Riot
Are you saying that someone should pay $20 bucks a month for plans!!!???

Laff Riot
05-31-2003, 05:30 PM
Not at all.

I am saying that the plans are an initial purchase, and different levels of support are another optional purchase if you feel you need more support than the experienced customer.

I personally would pay $20 a month for questions and FAQ's that may not be answered in the plans. Some would say that the plans must answer all questions initially or that it is the plan providers responsibility to answer all of these subsequent answers. I think its a bit unrealistic for someone to continue to answer irregular questions month after month for an initial outlay of funds. No professional trade that I know of offers unlimited lifetime support and I would not expect it of a plan provider either.

The downside of purchasing just the plans is that until you have built a system and have the experience, it is impossible to evaluate an unseen set of plans prior to purchase as relates to your specific need.

As per the cost - $20 a month seems low enough that I might let a subscription ride for 2-3 months but relevant enough to the administrator to take the 5-10 minutes for a sufficient answer.

But again.. its just my opinion :)

05-31-2003, 06:44 PM
Well what if the plan maker had a FAQ page and he answered question on that page so everybody could read it. That might help somebody that has a question. It might already be on the FAQ page. Personally I would not feel right about haveing to pay to ask a question! If you take the time to make the plans and sell them on the net. Then you should be ready to answer any and all questions or it should not be done. Thats my opinion.
Take for instance a board I bought off Jeff at Xylotex, He has answered all my questions, very fast and very good! And believe me I have asked him a ton of questions. That to me makes his product the best I have ever bought. And I in turn would buy more stuff off him. Now that customer support!!!
People who are getting into this hobby need help and there questions answered. Alot of them dont want or have the extra money to pay. They Just want to learn to build a cheap hobby cnc routing machine. I believe this is the market that cncadmin was thinking about. This to me would be the market where the most potential of money will be made!

05-31-2003, 08:13 PM
My tip.....be sure to answer all questions promptly!!

I have been battling to get any answer back from Machine Tool Camp on their machine. I have the 4 x 4 plan and it looks great. The engineering book is very clear and seems very well presented. However, I had a few questions before ordering some components from them (a good idea for a plan selling business...value added components) but they have left 3 emails unanswered over a week period. Their fax number as listed on the letterhead is not active anymore...... At this point I am not sure they are even in business.

Be available to answer question.


05-31-2003, 08:26 PM
I think the most important thing about plans is a source for the materials. It still seems if some one had a cnc set up then they could sell plans plus a kit or partial kit. Also maybe work a deal with Dave at Turbo CNC and sell a legal copy of software to make it more or less a turn key system. Turbo CNC is only 20 dollars to register.

In my case time is my biggest problem and chasing down parts without a source is a big problem. Also have a thick skin as there will be critisim and that shouldn't be a reason to cease support. I think Art of Maxh1&2 seems to handle it the best.

I would have to think real hard about an ongoing payment. I will have a cnc system its just a mater of time.


I got a fatel error when I tried the spell check box...

05-31-2003, 09:30 PM
I think plans to buils a machine in the $1000 - $1500 range would be great. Something with around 24" x 36" working area. I'm talking about a wood router, btw. I'm currently designing/building just such a machine. Part hardware store (rollerblade bearings) part linear bearings with acme screws. Construction is wood (Baltic Birch for rigidity). If all goes well I would like to get in to the plan business. I'm photographing the construction, and documenting all parts, costs and suppliers. I'll include detailed plans of all wood parts that need to be made. It will probably need average to above average woodworking skills, but it is a wood router, targeted somewhat to woodworkers I guess. I guess the price would be around $50, maybe more, maybe less. But I'd probably be a year or more away from this right now. Is there a market for this? I seem to see a lot of requests for machines this size. What do you guys think.


06-01-2003, 12:55 AM
I offer my customers full email support when they buy my plans. I make sure they are successful. I tell them that they will have a great machine when they are done. I give them a full parts list with two different sources to get the purchased parts from. I must have very clear documented plans because I don’t get many questions from my customers.

06-03-2003, 12:46 PM
Originally posted by HomeCNC
I offer my customers full email support when they buy my plans. I make sure they are successful. I tell them that they will have a great machine when they are done. I give them a full parts list with two different sources to get the purchased parts from. I must have very clear documented plans because I don’t get many questions from my customers.

I have never bought your plans, but I can see that you have spent allot of time to give a complete package of info. Get one of your customers to show us them end reslut, I'd love to support your plans than Hob____CNC and Jho_____K plans. ( you fill in the blanks) :):rainfro:

07-13-2003, 11:32 PM

I also bought plans from Machine Tool Camp. The 'engineering plan' he sells is pretty complete but I must agree that his support needs a boost. I have talked to him a few times, asking questions and have come to learn more about him. He does that along with sales of large CNC equipment full time. He is VERY slow to answer an email - IF you even get an answer but he has returned a few of mine.
The thing that bothered me the most dealoing with him was that I wanted to ask him about a few differant ideas - and he did not want to offer ANY help outside of what was covered in his plans... a REAL turnoff.... I realize you have to stop somewhere but he stops a little short.... but I cant say what it may be like if I actually built his plans... I designed my own.
I also bought plans from DATA-CUT. Great plans - great support - and he also knows CNC very well and has a great machine. I built something a lot differant, but Chris at Data-Cut was wonderful to work with and has been a huge help... he's got my vote !

07-15-2003, 12:31 AM
I also bought both companies plans. I still like the MTC plans over the Datacut plans. I finally got an answer back from MTC. Seems they have moved and that is why the fax machine line was disconnected. Kind of poor planning, but I will accept it as an explanation

08-27-2003, 10:21 PM
Are there any plans out there for purchase right now? I don't need anything real big just some type of plans to build a CNC router set up so I can use my KCAM program. Any info or web links to CNC Router Table Plans would be much appreciated!

08-27-2003, 10:28 PM

For a hobby type machine you can look at Machine Tool Camp, or for a more robust machine look at Data-Cut machine - the data cut is a much tighter built machine but will cost you 5-6 K were the MTC machine will run 3-4 depending on the machine....

Chris of Data-Cut was VERY helpful to me in designing my machine and gave me a lot of advice. I purchased his plans as well as the MTC plans - both good plans, the MTC plans are more friendly, however the Data cut plans are much better PLANS as far as drawings and desrciptions of each and every part.... Scott at MTC was also helpful in any questions I had....

I liked differant things about each... MTC plans cant be beat for the information..... Data plans for the quality of the drawings and the amouint of detail - especially if you get the digital pacjkage.

08-28-2003, 11:29 PM
For me, one issue with purchasing plans is that it is really a blind purchase. You generally don't know what the plans consist of, and what has not been covered in the plan. Showing some readable sample pages is very helpful, as well as a thumbnail view (non readable) of ALL pages so that we can see the extent of the documentation.

Another idea which I've not seen out there is video. The video doesn't need to be pretty, but getting to watch each step can be immensely helpful for a complete novice.

Many schools have eliminated their shops because of liability concerns. So, unless you have a dad to learn this stuff from, you just don't have a clue. If you've never been exposed to metal working (which described me 10 years ago) it is very satisfying to see little things like a hole being threaded, or how an experienced man saws off a piece of metal by holding it in a vice. You don't need to vocally describe every minute step... just seeing you work is educational.

Joe Dunfee

08-29-2003, 02:24 AM
In my opinion, plans should focus more on techniques and design styles than verbatim measured documents. For example, you could focus on the differences between end-supported shafts and fully supported shafts and give the reader some idea of what to expect when they choose one or the other. Topics like making shaft couplings, selecting steppers and guesstimating IPM rates, controller options, choosing a type of slide, choosing materials for the structure, reducing flex, etc. would be discussed.

If you take the example of John C Kleinbauer's plans you'll be hard pressed to find a single example of someone that duplicated the scale and mechanisms exactly (except perhaps John himself :). Basically, the plans should offer more "wisdom" than "instruction". If you could do that and do it well, none of us would ever have to make that "second" (third?) CNC machine.

08-29-2003, 09:20 AM
Joe and Chag,

I agree 100% After purchasing 2 sets of plans to 'learn' from I learned a lot. I learned the most from answering my own questions. I designed and built my machine after a TON or reading from the internet, and asking a lot of questions to many differant people. Some of the simple things not covered in either set of plans were not big issues really but simply things that stump or make a novice worry..... I have compiled quite a list of information from my own research that if I was in the plan business would include like :
A list of things not to do when designing !
Areas of the machine that need special attention
Wiring the machine ( MTC Plans cover this VERY well)
Drill sizes for various taps
Simple torque and speed calculations
various wiring explanations for steppers wired in Series, Paralel, or Half Coil and why you should look at those options
Differant types of wire and where to use it
Simple explanations of how bearings are fitted and installed to hold drive screws (ball or Acme)
Hints and tips for counterboring
Locating accurate holes (how too) and drilling them
Some basic must have tools
Getting a machine level

and the list goes on......

All these items when covered with basic answers can make a beginners project MUCH easier as I learned !!!!


09-24-2003, 12:31 AM
Hi - newbie here.

I'd like to find a plans that offered to sell the components for the complete project. The ideal machine would be 4'x8'x8" capable with simutaneous 3 axis with servo drive on ballscrews, moving gantry, steel or aluminum framed with bolt-down to wood table. Dust vacuum system and vacuum holddown would be nice. Completed machine should be less than 10K.

It would be sweet if it had the capability to quick-change from router to laser to plasma to hot wire.

10-01-2003, 04:21 PM
Hey Guys

As some of you know i am offering the plans for my 4 X 8 router now for sale....... I have tried my best to cover a lot of the issues mentioned above......After doing this myself.... I learned the value of customer support........ and clean drawings..... I believe that everyone will be happy with them - but Ill be improving them per any customer input........... My plans are all printed on 2' X 3' sheets - again to make it easier.... but as far as customer support - I agree you have to have good support. One of the plans I purchased while learning was from somoeone who basically had the attiturde " Its on the plans, if its not pay me for the answer" which was a real turnoff...... by the way it was NOT Data-Cut.....
I am going to try the FAQ page also on my new website.... I think your right Laf.... good idea ....... Im going to start working on it. As far as the Home Depot thing....... It wouldnt work on my machine.... at least i dont have the desire to figure out that one !

Anyway......... Plans are ready !!!

11-06-2003, 08:52 PM
Hi Andrew,
your wish is not at all unrealistc on the first part. There are small cnc shops that sell their entry level machines on ebay for a few thousand. You can talk to them and they will usually do whatever it takes to take care of you. Kit level or modification.

If you build it yourself you will have a complete understanding of it and save a little cash in the process. Get recent references and do hold back some payment untill after deliivery. One of my consulting clients just dumped forty thousand dollars on a custom bargain machine that has not run yet (seven months )

Your laser will not be happy in a router environment normally.

You hot wire machine will normally have to have two co-ordinated terminals for the wire if you are talking about large scale stuff.

The router to plasma works fine, just make preparations for the heat.

There are a couple of commercial companies that specialize in cnc kits with all the mechanincal components ready to put on your table, just do a Google search for cnc router kits.

You have done the most important part already, getting on this forum. There are some pro quality guys in here daily and it is one of the best ( only in cnc ) disciplined forums around.

My personal suggestion is to do all of it you can yourself, you can beat your budget, even with new electronics and hardware.

Best of luck,

Phill Pittman

11-08-2003, 04:02 PM
Try the shopbot site they have 4x8 for well under 10k

03-24-2004, 01:09 AM
John Kleinbauer, crankorgan guy has some plans that are probably ok for begineers, i bought them a long time ago, and didnt like them, they were most usefull as a source of 1 coherant idea. search "crankorgan", i bet hed comes up.. anyhow, the plans were very plain. The only thing i kept from them was the use of this nice aluminum window channel that mr. kleinbauer probably first introduced for use. It is a nice C-channel configuration, and when used as basic blocks and riveted together they make very nice large ridgid spars for a gantry.

Also on the plans note - i think its time for "opensource" plans. a set of simple plans that describe 1 or 2 machines and how they can be built. the userbase here is full of pictures of machines built entirely from hardware store components! sure, some people put their high-precision linear guides in their MDF cabinet-makers envy... Dunno. I would contribute some graphic design help to such a project.

Here, ill also post that stuff in the files, in a .pdf. gotta copress it, what a pain. anyways, its a set of redraws I did of the plans i bought long ago. There are like 18 pages, but i dont know if i will ever finish them.