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IndustryArena Forum > WoodWorking Machines > DIY CNC Router Table Machines > Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?
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  1. #1

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    Cool Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Hi All! Newly retired and new to the forum. Now that I have time I was hoping to find a simple DIY CNC machine build that I can make with my son. I'm trying to build a better connection with my son and he really seems to like this area of technology. Hopefully there is a simple, not-to-expensive DIY CNC project that we can build together that you folks here can recommend. Any and all advice is appreciated! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    I’ve had good luck and fun with my design: https://hobbycnc.com/product/diy-cnc-router-plans/
    You can download the plans without the measured drawings for free to check it out.
    WoodWorkerB
    HobbyCNC.com, WoodWorkerB.com

  3. #3
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    You might want to check out the Momus. momus CNC | benchtop DIY router plans | home page

    Can you specify a budget range?
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  4. #4
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?


  5. #5
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    If the goal is to have fun and get closer to your son, I'd go with one of the simple t-slot kits.

    The learning curve and difficulty in building a diy machine from scratch can make it very frustrating....

  6. #6

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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Thanks everybody. Don't really know about a budget because I've never built anything like this before. I have done a lot of work on cars, and was trained in electronics and telecommunications, but never tried anything like building a CNC machine from scratch. Sorry to be ignorant but what are the price ranges to build the simple DIY CNC routers cost? And where can I get info on the T-Slot kits? That sounds like a good idea. Ideally we would like to find something that's not too hard to build, nor cost too much. Then the real fun comes in having my son and i mess with the new machine to see all the things it can do.

  7. #7
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldpops View Post
    Thanks everybody. Don't really know about a budget because I've never built anything like this before. I have done a lot of work on cars, and was trained in electronics and telecommunications, but never tried anything like building a CNC machine from scratch. Sorry to be ignorant but what are the price ranges to build the simple DIY CNC routers cost? And where can I get info on the T-Slot kits? That sounds like a good idea. Ideally we would like to find something that's not too hard to build, nor cost too much. Then the real fun comes in having my son and i mess with the new machine to see all the things it can do.
    I

    It's tough, because you know you want to build something, but you don't know what's available or what you want. You'll get there, but I suggest you need to do some research about what's available. It's all part of the process.

    I suggest you take a look at the kit machines from Avid CNC fka CNC Router Parts. They sell 80/20 extrusion-based kits. (Note: 80/20 sells its own version of "T-Slots." I mention this, because "TSlots" is a brand name and is also used as a general description for aluminum extrusions with slots in them). I don't own an Avid machine, and am not affiliated with Avid. I mention Avid, because they are one of the larger kit vendors, and have a super reputation for quality and service. They have a sub-forum here on CNC Zone. Check it out.

    I do not own an Avid kit, and am not affiliated with Avid. I am just finishing up a custom build. I purchased Avid's ballscrew Z axis and a few other parts for my build. I purchased a kit from another vendor the first time around. The kit was just okay and took a lot of work to get it work the way I wanted. I wanted something stouter. My current build it quite a bit beefier than Avid's.

    Here are some links to get you started:

    PRO CNC Machine Kits | Avid CNC | CNC Router Parts Avid's Pro Kits

    Standard CNC Machine Kits | Avid CNC | CNC Router Parts Avid's Standard Kits

    https://www.cnczone.com/forums/diy-c...machinist.html My build thread.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ3...lKOcjcaxkOfr6w CNCNutz - Lots of ideas and information on what you can do with a smaller freestanding machine.



    Talk with you son and decide what you want to do with a CNC. While I recommend the largest machine you can fit in your shop - up to about 5 X 10 - and afford, what you want to do with the machine it a big factor in what you end up with. Do you want to make signs? Cabinets? Workbenches? Cut aluminum parts? Toys? Jigs? Furniture? 3d? Plasma torch rig?

    Don't forget about electronics and software. The cost can add up fast. You can get some ideas from the Avid site and others.

    Bottom line: Settle on what you want a CNC to make, and focus your search for a machine that will fit your needs. Could be a small desktop. Could be a 5 X 10. If you want a CNC metal mill, look for mills suitable for conversion, e.g., G0704, PM 25-MV.

    I hope this helps.

    Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    AvidCNC: $4000-$5000 is a bit too much for a kid's toy no matter how much you earning in my opinion, he will be spoiled.
    You can get small mini machines on ebay and amazon for a few hundreds, that's enough to start playing.

  9. #9

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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Thank you Gary and everyone one else who has offered advice - I DO appreciate it! I will check into what you suggest to get an idea of which way to go. Out of curiosity, how big is the custom build you are working on, and what kind of total cost are you looking at when you are completely finished building it?

  10. #10
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Part of the answer here how well equipped are you shop wise. T-Slot kits are great for people with little tooling or machinery. Beyond that I find the hard to recommend. Mainly because they are costly for what you get.

    There are many ways to go about a build but I wouldn’t expect it to be a good way to bond. It really depends upon the specifics of your relationship. It would be far better if you built the machine because you need it.

  11. #11
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldpops View Post
    Thank you Gary and everyone one else who has offered advice - I DO appreciate it! I will check into what you suggest to get an idea of which way to go. Out of curiosity, how big is the custom build you are working on, and what kind of total cost are you looking at when you are completely finished building it?

    I have all of my costs into it, but it's difficult to give you a hard figure. I already had my electronics from my first build, and I didn't keep close track of all my costs. The extrusions I used came in at about $3,000. The Hiwin linear rails were about $1,000. All in, including Mach4, Vectric Aspire CAD/CAM ($1,995.), 2.2kw water cooled spindle & VFD, etc., probably between $7K to $9K. Comparing apples and apples, my aluminum parts probably came out just under the cost of a kit of a similar size. On the other hand, the extrusions I used were twice the size of a kit (about 3"x3" vs about 1.5"x 3" cross sections), with the exception of the gantry. The 80mm X 160mm gantry extrusion is the largest available. The weight of my frame is roughly double that of a similar sized kit. Heavier is virtually always better.

    My current CNC has a 52" X 52" work envelope. The overall size is 74" wide X 60" long, excluding the stepper motors and stepper drives, which stick out on each side beyond the 74" measurement. These puppies can take up a lot of space.

    Keep in mind that a basic kit is just the beginning of the blood letting. Seems like about everything costs a lot. I went on the higher end on most things, so that jacked up the costs more. You are going to need stepper motors, stepper drivers, complete electronics, some sort of limit switches, wires to connect everything. It all adds up pretty fast.

    You will note that there are folks with strong feelings about using aluminum extrusions. Many of us believe that with patience, care and a few precision tools, you can make a fine machine. Others believe that aluminum extrusions have no place in CNCs and welded steel is the one and only way to go. The steel is probably cheaper in terms of material cost, but to go the steel route, you need welders, a metal cutting band or chop saw, grinders, etc. and the skill to put it all together. You also need the means to move a very heavy piece of equipment around. I have the equipment and skills, but went with aluminum anyway. To go with welded steel, you need a pro who can do stress relieving and a machine shop with large format mills to mill the surfaces. I have the shops available in my state, but those with the big equipment work in aerospace, marine and other industrial endeavors. If you can get them to even talk to you, they ain't cheap. Oh, and don't forget having to have the wherewithal to move a big machine from your shop to the machine shops and back. Too much for me. Your mileage may differ.

    If you happen to trip over the Saturn 2 in your reading, don't believe the hype and avoid it like the plague. I bought one and had to send it back. It's welded steel and so badly put together that it's a total loss right out of the box. A very few got good ones before the quality went to hell. Now, it appears they are just junk. I was attracted to the claim of jig welding, stress relief and good precision. None of the advertising was true. Here's a link to my experience, if you need some extra convincing: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/finel...cnc-posts.html

    Keep the questions coming. The folks here on the Zone are here to help.

    Gary

  12. #12
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    Re: Need simple DIY CNC machine my son and I could build?

    Hi Pops - Here's a good starter type machine as an example. Its economical will get you through the learning curve and is adequate to make a better machine the second time around if the enthusiasm and need keeps going.

    https://www.sharpsoftware.com.au/cnc-machines

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