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How To Build A CNC Router?

CNC router has played an essential role in our daily life, from woodworking to metalworking, advertising, and arts and crafts making; it shows its figure everywhere. To Learn More about CNC Router, Visit:

For mechanics and electronics enthusiasts, the benefits of owning it are self-evident. From drawings to real objects, the CNC router plays an essential role in this process. Custom sign making, personalized wood crafts, and PCB board manufacturing, you will find that your ideas are easy to achieve with it.

How to build your CNC router, of course, the easiest way is to buy one, but this is not in line with the usual style of our DIYers. Do it yourself can not only increase your knowledge and broaden your horizons but also do more with less money; why not do it?

Combined with my own production experience, I want to show you how to make a CNC router kit that meets your requirements in this article.

CNC Router Kit

It is almost the same as the steps for making a CNC milling machine. The difference between the CNC router and the CNC mill is that the two are in different working states. The milling machine requires a drastic operation with low speed and large torque, while the CNC router is a meticulous work with high speed and small torque. The former is suitable for the processing of mechanical parts, especially metal parts. At the same time, the latter is suitable for the processing of some non-metal parts and light-load work such as panel drilling and carving. For electronic enthusiasts, the CNC router is undoubtedly a better choice. For mechanical enthusiasts, perhaps a CNC milling machine is the right machine. Of course, there are some machines that can take care of both.

Here are my 6 easy-to-follow steps to build your CNC router listed below.

DIY CNC Router Design

This DIY CNC router kit adopts the popular gantry shape, with a beautiful appearance, reasonable structure, and high-cost performance.

XYZ axis travel: 130×200×40mm.
Dimensions: 430×360×350mm.
Lead screw: XYZ axis 8mm 304 stainless steel lead screw, pitch 1.25mm, double copper nut spring elimination difference, engineering plastic elastic coupling.
Guide rail: chrome-plated polished rod, XYZ axis diameter 12mm.
Stepper Motor: Used 1.3A 42 stepper motor.
Cutting command: G code, generally using a MACH3 control system.
Mainframe frame: It is made of industrial PVC sheet and CNC-cut.
Accuracy index: Machining accuracy is about 0.1mm, and repeat positioning accuracy is 0.05mm.
Budget: Under $500.

The main frame of the CNC router table is made of a 0.7mm thick industrial PVC plate by CNC machining. The X, Y, and Z three-axis guide adopt a chrome-plated polished rod with a diameter of 12mm and a linear bearing. To eliminate the backlash, the actual X, Y, and Z stroke of the CNC router kit is about 13×20×4cm, and the overall size after assembly is about 430×360×350mm. The machining accuracy of this CNC router machine is about 0.1mm, and the recommended cutting speed is 300mm per minute.

This CNC router machine is mainly used to cut and mill non-metallic materials such as wood, PCB, gypsum, acrylic, bamboo, and wood. It can also mill and cut soft metal materials such as copper and aluminum (which will relatively shorten the life of the machine). It is not suitable for cutting steel.

Assembly Tools Preparation

To successfully assemble a CNC router kit, the following tools are necessary.

Digital multimeter.

The digital multimeter needs to be used in the following processes, one is to measure the lead resistance of the stepper motor to distinguish the categories, the other is to adjust the working current of the driver board, and the third is to measure the polarity and voltage of the switching power supply. Of course, there are many other uses.

Screwdriver and Allen wrench.

The screw types in this kit are 4mm, 6mm standard hexagon socket, 4mm coupling headless hexagon socket, and Phillips self-tapping screws; you should buy the corresponding tools according to your needs; we recommend you to buy a cross long handle and a short handle screwdriver, a set of metric 1.5-6mm hex wrench, one 4mm and 6mm hex wrench, one for needle nose pliers and one vice.

File and sandpaper.

You need to prepare several files and sandpaper to correct the dimensions that require high-precision fits, such as the fit of the screw and the bearing, the fit of the coupling, and the stepper motor.

Welding is related to the electric soldering iron.

You need to prepare an electric soldering iron and some solder wires and rosin. The leads of some second-hand stepper motors are short or damaged, and you need to replace them.

Wire and switch socket.

You need to buy some suitable wires to connect the electric control part of our kit, and you should also prepare a few small switches to control the work and stop of the machine.

Dustproof and soundproof box.

For the safety and health of you and your family, it is recommended that you take the dustproof and soundproof design of the machine into consideration before assembly. It is also a good habit for a DIY enthusiast. With solid protection, you can concentrate on playing with your CNC router machine.

CNC Router Parts & Accessories Preparation

The parts and accessories to make a CNC router kit are listed below.

One piece of CNC router table (length 32.1cm*width 22.5cm) fixing screw holes from top to bottom 1.5cm—8cm—14.5cm—21cm is the center of the hole, the hole diameter is 0.4cm, you can put The holes are widened a bit so that the screw caps are flush with the countertop.
Two reinforcing plates at the bottom of the countertop (length 32.1cm*width 4cm) and the holes at the four corners have a diameter of 0.4cm.
Four X-axis gantry vertical plates (length 23.8cm, width 12.5cm).
One Y-axis fixed stepper motor board (length 23.5cm, width 5cm).
One 625-bearing seat plate (length 23.5cm, width 5cm) is fixed on the Y axis.
Four Y-axis fixed linear bearing slider plates (length 23.5cm*width 4cm).
4 pieces of fixed 625 small bearing seat (length 4cm, width 4cm)
6 fixed stepper motor brackets (length 4.2cm*width 3.8cm).
3 fixed stepper motor pads (length 6cm, width 5.8cm).
Two Z-axis fixed linear bearing slider plates (10cm long, 4.7cm wide).
One Z-axis fixed stepper motor board (length 10cm, width 4.4cm).
One 625-bearing seat plate is fixed on the Z axis (length 10cm, width 4.4cm).
One Z-axis table panel (10cm long, 10cm wide).
Two X-axis fixed linear bearing slider plates (length 11.4cm, width 3.7cm).
One reinforcing plate on the back of the gantry (length 26.8cm, width 12cm).
One X-axis table panel (14cm long, 10cm wide).
6 polished rods with a diameter of 12mm (two with a length of 124mm, two with a length of 235mm, and two with a diameter of 305mm), with a diameter of 1.2cm and a middle aperture of 0.5cm.
3 stainless steel screw rods with a diameter of 8mm.
3 1.3A stepping motors of type 42.
3 couplings with an inner diameter of 5-5mm.
12 LM12UU linear bearings.
6 fixed screw 625 small bearings (diameter 1.6cm).
3 sets of M8 hysteresis copper nuts (internal and external + spring).
One 240W DC spindle.
One transformer.
One silicon rectifier.
One TA8435-GKB three-axis driver (GKB has no half-flow and offline manual control functions).
A new 24V/5A switching power supply.
One parallel port line for the printer.
Screw fasteners.

72 M3×22 self-tapping screws.
68 M3 flat washers.
12 M3 spring washers.
12 M3×12 screws.
18 M4×20 hexagon sockets.
18 M4 nuts.
36 M4 flat washers.
6 M4 spring washers.
16 M4×25 self-tapping screws.
8 M6×16 hexagon sockets.
4 M6×25 hexagon sockets.
12 M6 washers.

DIY CNC Router Assembly

Step 1. Insert 6 625 small bearings into the bearing seat first, 4 of which are placed in the separate square bearing seat, and the remaining 2 are placed in the bearing seat integrated with the gantry.

Step 2. Install the 12 linear bearings on the corresponding fixing plates, respectively. Each linear bearing has 2 fixing plates to fix (4 of which are on the bottom Y axis), and each axis platform has 4 linear bearings to support; the positions of the 4 fixing plates are in order; please do not install them arbitrarily. When assembling the linear bearing, it should be noted that due to the manufacturability of CNC cutting, the inner hole of the fixed plate matched with the linear bearing has a certain machining slope, so the linear bearing should be placed from the large size during assembly and applied pressure.

Step 3. Connect the lead screw with the small bearing. The lead screw of GK2013 is processed with double ends, and the bearings are placed on both sides. The outer diameter of one end is about 0.02mm larger than that of the small bearing, and the outer diameter of the other end is larger than that of the small bearing. About minus 0.02mm, the positive end is used as the support end, and the negative end is used as the guide end. The matching size requirements of the support end and the 625 bearings are relatively high, which is also one of the difficulties in the assembly of this kit. Do not polish the screw before assembling; first, gently plug the screw into the inner hole of the bearing by hand. If it feels very heavy, it is recommended to sand the outer diameter of the screw with sandpaper and then gently plug it according to the above method. , The good effect is that the screw can enter the bearing with a light tap, and after assembly, it cannot be pulled out with a strong hand. After assembly, the screw is more flexible to rotate, without resistance and unevenness, and it is inflexible. All are caused by too small fitting clearance. Never knock the lead screw hard into the small bearing, which will cause the small bearing to be scrapped entirely. If the lead screw is too small, it can be inserted into the bearing without knocking. There is still a way to save it. The specific method is to use it on the lead screw. The sharp punch punches a few small points, which is equivalent to the size of the lead screw becoming larger. Therefore, it can also be said that a large matching gap between the screw and the small bearing is much better than a small matching gap, and at least the parts will not be scrapped if the gap is large.

Step 4. Pre-assembly of hysteresis nut and lead screw. The backlash nut should be tested and assembled outside the machine before being assembled into the machine. The double copper nut should remove some process burrs and use a file. The head of the screw should also be corrected with a file first, and then the upper and lower parts of the nut should be adjusted separately. Rotate to the screw rod. Note that the first step is to screw each into the screw rod without a spring, then move on to the screw rod flexibly before proceeding to the second step below. The second step is to pre-assemble the lead screw, spring, and upper and lower backlash nut. For cutting non-metallic soft materials, the spring is generally only slightly compressed. During pre-assembly, first, screw the nut, then put the spring, and then compress the spring. Then put down the nut, and the specific user can test it. If it is not flexible, the nut can be reversed 180 degrees to test. All is well and ready for assembly.

Step 5. Assemble the stepper motor and the coupling. Since it is a second-hand stepper motor, if it is found that the coupling is not easy to fit with it, the user can use sandpaper to slightly polish the shaft of the stepper motor to solve the problem, which is probably an error of 1-2 wires.

Step 6. Rack assembly.

It has become quite easy after finishing the pre-assembly. Install the bottom Y axis first, then the X axis, then the Z axis. After the three-axis platform is installed, install 3 stepper motors. The general principle is that after the machine is assembled, turn the coupling by hand, and the screw should move as flexibly as possible with uniform resistance. When you feel that the machine assembly meets the DIY standard in your heart, add the CNC router table top, bottom reinforcing plate, and back reinforcing plate, connect the electric control accessories and start the power-on test.

Step 7. Connect the electronic control device.

Stepper Motor Wiring.

Usually, our second-hand motors generally use a four-wire center tap suspended high-torque connection. Because there are many types and colors of stepper motors, please measure the resistance of the multimeter. The 3 wires of the 6-wire stepper motor are in a group, and the small resistance in a group is the tap line. Note that the tap needs to be well insulated. The remaining 4 lines are divided into 2 groups, each connected to A A- and B B- of the driver board. It is found that the direction is wrong. You can swap the two lines in any group. Of course, you can also set the motor reversal in the MACH3 software.

Here we use a 6-wire stepper motor. We divide the six wires into two groups and use a multimeter to measure the one with the smallest resistance in each group (black-white). We separate them and wrap them with adhesive tape. It is good. For the remaining four wires, we will find a four-core wire whose color corresponds to the color of the stepper motor and then wrap it up. I have not found one of the four-core wires with the same color here (the stepper motor is orange. Mine is black). Everyone must pay attention.

Spindle Motor Connection.

The 220V current enters the transformer (transformer is red in and blackout), then connect to the silicon rectifier, and then connects it to the positive and negative poles of the spindle motor.

Connection Of Switching Power Supply And Driver Board

First, the 220V power supply is connected, and then AC (L is positive and N negative) output, +V is positive, and COM is negative.

Then connect to the driver board, and then connect to the X, Y, and Z axes. You can see the figure below.

So far, our DIY CNC router assembly is complete; the rest is to install the MACH3 software for design and start-up cutting.

Setting CNC Router Controller & Software

This CNC router is recommended to use the desktop computer host of the Windows system. At present, the commonly used CNC router software is generally the MACH3 control system, which is simple and easy to use for novices. Please pay special attention to the use of the MACH3 control system requires a computer with a 25-pin parallel port for printing because the software itself is based on the parallel port to develop the stability and reliability of the USB adapter card. The trial version of the relevant MACH3 software can be downloaded from the official website of MACH3. The settings of the MACH3 software are related to the driver board you are using. For details, please refer to the detailed instructions of the relevant driver board.

Power-On Operation

After all, preparations are completed, the power-on test operation can be carried out. First, connect the connecting wires between the motors of the power driver board and install the main motor. Before the machine is used, some lubricating oil should be added to the screw rod. In order to ensure long-term work, you can also add a small graphics card fan to the 3 stepper motor motors to cool down. After power on, open the MACH3 software; after a series of basic settings, press the emergency stop to start and import the code machine to work.

Things To Consider

So far, we have finished building a CNC router kit with parts, accessories, software, and a controller. It cost me $475 for all hardware and software.

Building your CNC router machine is fun, and you can learn a lot. But you have to study and research helpful CNC knowledge online and offline and go to the CNC DIY forum to communicate to get useful files and resources, designs, and making advice. Finally, I wish everyone to avoid detours and no bugs on the road of DIY CNC routers.