CNC Builder’s Guide

Building a CNC router can be a great experience whether you do it for fun, or to help with your professional work. At first glance, building a quality CNC machine may seem like a simple task, but it is easy to get overwhelmed by the wide variety of different design and construction decisions available to you. This series of articles is intended to guide you along the way for designing and constructing a quality, low-cost CNC machine.

There are a variety of topics to discuss, including how many axis you need, what type and style machine is best for you, what sort of linear bearings are best suited for your needs, what to use for linear power transmission, what type of motors are best for you, and so on. It turns out that each of these questions can involve some complicated decisions, many of which there are no ‘right’ answers. But hopefully this builder’s guide to building CNC machines will help guide you toward the best decisions so you can avoid making costly and time-consuming mistakes.

Steps to design and build a CNC machine

  1. Choosing the number of axis for your CNC machine
  2. Choosing the fundamental design for your machine. Mobile bed vs. mobile gantry designs. Partially vs. fully support axis
  3. Choosing what linear bearings to use
  4. Choosing what to use for linear power transmission. Threaded rods vs. ACME rods.
  5. How to couple a threaded or ACME rod to a stepper motor
  6. Choosing a Stepper motor: Why you should choose stepper motors for CNC projects
  7. Bipolar vs. Unipolar stepper motors: Why Bipolar motors are usually better.
  8. Choosing the right stepper motor
  9. Choosing the right stepper motor driver
  10. Choosing the best CNC control software

So be sure to check back soon, as more articles are being uploaded frequently.

You can also view the summaries for each of these steps here.