Hobbyist CNC router

Invent-O-DocInvent-O-Doc Posts: 767
Anybody have an idea of how to get hooked up with a cheap and easy to use CNC router? I'm thinking of something mainly for putting shaped holes and square cut outs into plastic enclosures.

I've heard about kits for several hundred dollars out there. Does anyone know of anything?

Thomas Talbot, MD - New Market, Maryland, USA


  • 10 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Spiral_72Spiral_72 Posts: 791
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I lost all my bookmarks on this subject when the computer died.... BUT, Google Desktop CNC. There was a company that sold one about 12x18" for suprisingly cheap. It's made out of MDF though. I don't know how you feel about that.

    There are also lots of resources for building your own for next to nothing. A good one was on Instructables, several on CNC Zone (they have a whole section for this) and several very good sites devoted to the DIY'er.
    " puff ".... Crap, there went another one!

    My Parallax projects submission: http://www.parallax.com/MattTrakv7/tabid/908/Default.aspx
  • txmarshtxmarsh Posts: 58
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    www.buildyourcnc.com is a great site. Their cheapest kit is around $1450 total (if I recall) but includes motors etc and is larger than most desk top cncs.

    I've also been thinking about a CBC but just can't get myself to pull the trigger... Man are they cool!
  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Easy, Cheap, Features

    Pick any two...

    (Features being flexibility, capability, working envelope, accuracy etc.)
    John R.
    Beaver Dam, WisCOWnsin
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
  • Invent-O-DocInvent-O-Doc Posts: 767
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Thanks. I'll check it out. I mostly want to do clean cut outs on plastic cases and control panels - nothing special. Thanks.

    Here is something I did find:


    $599 for a base kit, but probably $900-1000 complete. Looks pretty good.

    Thomas Talbot, MD - New Market, Maryland, USA
  • pjvpjv Posts: 1,897
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hi Doc;

    I'm working on creating a unit for sale through Parallax.

    Have not yet decided if it will be a kit or pe-assembled. Perhaps the precision things pre-assembled but in a "knock-down" format. The small unit has a work envelope of 8.5 x 11 inches. The Z stroke probably several options.... 4 to 8 inches.

    An optional high speed spindle (up to 60,000 RPM) will be available for the purpose of drilling, isolation routing and cutting out printed circuit boards. The automatic tool changer (1/8 dia shank) is starting to working nicely.... some more tweaking required.

    I'm targetting a precision of 3 thou, and have precision lead screws and recirculating linear ball slides on all three axes. The maximum travel speed is just over 3 inches/sec.

    There will also be an optional plastics extruder for 3 D "printing" solid models.

    Lots more details to come, but these are the basics. I am not yet sure of the price, but anticipate being competitive with comparable equipment.

    Later a next generation machine will have an 11 x 17 inch work envelope.

    All specs still subject to change.

    When ? Be a bit yet.... hopefully this year, but not sure.


    Peter (pjv)
  • txmarshtxmarsh Posts: 58
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Doc - I saw that unit too but the "options" (many don't really seem like options) add up fast.

    @pjv - sounds very cool... keep us informed on your progress.
  • Tim H.Tim H. Posts: 9
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'm putting one of these together right now.

    Hopefully should work ok for light duty.

  • Chris_DChris_D Posts: 305
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Small CNC machines in the form of kits are available from several resources. I would expect to pay around $1000.00 for something of decent quality.

    The unfortunate side of these cheap/small CNC machines is that many are only a CNC machine in principle - they look like one. Some kits use old surplus motors and other parts, which when inventory runs out, they are gone for good. Some machines are made from wood or other unacceptable materials (plastic etc.)

    At a glance features to look for in a small machine...
    Aluminum construction - forget all other materials
    Linear ways that are not "home made"
    Square case steppers - bi polar
    MACH CNC software - huge YAHOO group for help

    Someone already suggested Probotix which looks decent, ane other one is http://www.romaxxcnc.com/ which are very good machines.

    I make both little and big CNC machines. The big ones I build for a living sell for around a million dollars, the little ones I build for fun at home typically cost around $1000.00 to $1500.00. This link should take you to my youtube channel which shows my most recent machine and control that I am creating - it uses the propeller chip in the control so that might be worth a watch ;-)

  • Invent-O-DocInvent-O-Doc Posts: 767
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Excellent Chris. Thanks for the link.

    @pjv: sounds like a great project. I like that your concept has a lot of travel on the Z-axis - I'm in no hurry so it's worth waiting to see what you come up with.

    Thomas Talbot, MD - New Market, Maryland, USA
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