CNC Build process

I started working on this project in 2012 year. It all began as a small venture which enabled me to enter a new field of engineering. At first I wanted to build small and simple CNC router that would allow me to machine some simple parts mostly made from wood, plastic and other soft materials but later I scale it up a little so I’ve got real industrial machine that weights over 700Kg.

I had some vision in my head about the design so I’ve jumped right in and bought the main parts from eBay. The first parts that I ordered were the axis lead screws. I was not sure about the details of the machine so I went with the general parts that were mostly available from the eBay stores.

After receiving the parts I had better picture of how the machine would look. The first design was with only one X axis lead screw but after a little thinking I decided that dual lead screws for the X axis would be much better solution.

From that point, everything was growing exponentially. I was using Google Sketchup to draw the concept of the machine. Every part was measured and carefully designed in Google Sketchup software.


When I was happy with the final concept that I made in Sketchup, I started redrawing every single part in AutoCAD so I can later export them to PowerMill for machining. Almost all of the parts are made out of stainless steel but some of them are machined from aluminum. I decided to use stainless steel because the machine would be much more rigid and allow me to work on harder materials like aluminum and steel.

Specs of the machine:

  • Working Size: X-1200mm / Y-900mm / Z-130mm
  • Spindle: 3Kw 220V Water Cooled
  • Spindle Driver: 3KW Chinese VFD Huanyang Inverter (Very good quality)
  • Industrial Cooler: Chinese Industrial cooler
  • Axis Motors: 3A 420 oz stepper motors Code: 23HS2430
  • Motor Drivers: 2M542
  • Main PSU: 800W 50V Switching Power Supply.
  • Logic PSU: MeanWell 24V-1A / 12V-4A / 5V-1A
  • Software: Mach3
  • Controller: USB SmoothStepper (I recommend the Ethernet Version)
  • Breakout Boards:
    C11 – Multifunction CNC Board
    Logic Realy Board with 4 relays
  • MPG Handle: WHB04-L LHB04
  • Computer: HP Thin Client: T5720 – Link

The router came out really good and rigid. I can work on almost any material with great precision and speed. The only drawback is the stainless steel which is limiting me to use 8mm or less end-flutes size. I can reach speeds of up to 2500 mm / min working feedrate.
The machine has plenty of power using this type of stepper motors and it is almost impossible to stop it. I had never experienced missed steps or sticking axis.
I am very satisfied with the end-results.

In the next posts I’ll write about every little detail separately. We will talk about the mechanical part, the electrical part and the software. This is only a intro to the project. So stay tuned and subscribe for more.

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