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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2021

    5x12 router build electronics?

    Hi everyone, this is my first post on cnczone. I've read many of the build threads and have had been on the learning curve towards building my own cnc router.
    Great respect for all you guys here for sharing your expertise and experience. I thank you in advance for all the help you can provide.
    I'm in the final planning stages and currently building a list of the materials I will need.

    My working goals are :

    3 axis 5' x 10' cutting area
    8" z travel
    200ipm cutting speed
    accuracy and repeatability (even at tradeoff of speed)
    space at end for vertical clamped work
    option to add second z axis in future (either side by side or front to back)

    Primary use will be for cutting wood sheet products, but it would be nice to have ability for cutting aluminum even at slower speed.
    I do realize one machine can't be an all-in-one solution and cutting aluminum may not be an option.
    So I may build a smaller more rigid machine for aluminum in the future.
    My design is based on the Avid 60x120 Pro.

    So far my design is as follows:
    Overall table is 5'x12'
    Main frame is 40mm x 120mm x 3620mm t-slot 8020.net
    Gantry is 80mm x 160mm x 1850mm t-slot 8020.net
    Hiwin 20mm linear rails for all axis motion constrained
    rack & pinion rails Avid cnc
    3:1 pinion drive kits Avid cnc
    proximity sensor kit Avid cnc

    I'll use Fusion 360 for CAD/CAM

    question 1:
    For the z axis, I'm leaning towards purchasing from Avid cnc at 689.00. Any advise for alternate suppliers or a design I could build with standard shop tools would be welcome.

    question 2:
    The electronics is where I'm currently stuck, there are sooo many options available.
    I've looked over the Avid nema34 plug and play kit at 2800.00 and wonder for same or less money I could have a better system (human nature).
    Other than Avid, my second choice is the acorn cnc controller from Centroid.

    I'm also still undecided between stepper vs. servo. I've read about the tradeoffs of each. I worry about setting up and tuning servos for my first build, but also like the fact that the servo motors don't draw power and heat up while at rest vs. steppers which are more easily setup but waste energy and create heat.

    I need help to choose all the components I need for the controller / motors
    what components and suppliers would you suggest best for my setup
    1. controller
    2. servos or steppers
    3. drivers
    3. power supplies
    All recommendations are welcome and appreciated

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2021

    Re: 5x12 router build electronics?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Re: 5x12 router build electronics?

    Hi Tim - your Q's
    1) which controller? machine controller? I use UCCNC and have no complaints
    2) Servos are considerably more $$$ then steppers but they provide more performance. You need to establish a budget and the answer will be self evident
    3) Drivers and PS get from stepperonline or any other automation supplier. Look at a buildbotics box

    So establish your budget, divide it up to the components, review, redistribute $$$ and get a CAD model going... Since most of your bits are from AVID pick their machine that suits and haggle. Then you get warrantee, support and encouragement Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Re: 5x12 router build electronics?

    the single biggest and toughest hurdle in ANY machine is to make it rigid. If you require rigidity 'R' to machine wood without undue flexure and consequent loss of accuracy
    and vibration, then you'll need '5R' to do aluminum and '15R minimum' to do steel.

    Your intended size (5'x12') is very ambitious, I understand you want big but that means expensive to build rigidly. I suspect that your use of T-slot material will be flexy as hell.
    Most commercial machines of that size are welded steel heavy wall square or rectangular sections. Welded steel frames usually require post welding heat treatment
    and critical surfaces must be machined for accuracy, both expensive operations.....but they are still by far and away the cheapest way to produce a rigid machine.

    To make a rigid machine but down to a budget you might have to consider a much smaller machine. For instance if you build a machine with 650mm x650mm X,Y travels and
    have no fore and aft restrictions you can machine 'half size sheets' just by moving the sheet along by 600mm or 'indexing' as it is called. To build an rigid machine of 650 x 650
    is VASTLY cheaper than a machine of 5' x12'.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Re: 5x12 router build electronics?

    Hi Tim - Here's a good stepper vs servo article. Peter


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2021

    Re: 5x12 router build electronics?

    Thanks Peter and Craig for your response and advise.

    After much reading & debate, I decided to got with the Avid 960oz nema34 steppers. I still haven't fully decided on the stepper drives & control board and would welcome suggestions. So far I'm leaning towards the Gecko G203V and the Centroid acorn. The CNC12 software from Centroid seems like best choice over mach4.

    My budget is $10,000

    Component purchased so far:

    T-slot profiles 1405.00
    linear rails 1200.00

    Avid 4200.00
    R&P 39" geartrack (4)
    R&P 52" geartrack (4)
    R&P nema34 drive (3)
    PRO z axis assembly
    link chain
    proximity sensor kit
    proximity sensor cable connectors (5)
    960oz Nema34 steppers & cables (4)
    stepper cable connectors (4)
    48V 20A power supply
    E stop switch

    I started out using using Sketchup and made beginning model, but I've almost finished a CAD model of design in Fusion.

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