Not long ago CNC (which stands for computer numerical control, by the way) machines were so expensive that only large companies could own them. But we’re in the middle of a full-fledged CNC revolution, reaching all the way down to the grassroots level. Now a dedicated average Joe whip up a precise fabricating tool with little more than some plans, basic tools, and a PC.
The internet abounds with plans like Rockcliff Machine’s router design. They claim their design can be completed for as low as $300 — though luck is a factor. You’ll have to shop sales and scrounge materials to hit that number, and settle for common materials like MDF.
Controlling this marvel of modern technology involves software, but luckily the open source community has created free (as in speech) software like EMC. The EMC package offers most — if not all the features of commercial software — without the price.
More specialized gear like stepper motors and polished guide rods and bearings will make up the bulk of the cost of the machine. But sites like CNCzone.com offer links to suppliers as well as a whole community of folks willing to answer questions and give advice.
A whole world of computer controlled tools has been opened to the do-it-your-selfer. Don’t miss out; get out there and give it a look!
Rockcliff Machine [Offical Site]
CNCzone [Community Site]
Video how-to [Instructables.com]
Book “CNC Robotics: Build Your Own Workshop Bot” Via Amazon [What’s This?]
(Thanks to Max Wilson for the great picture. Check out his blog for more information on the pictured router.)