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Max Wilson's CNC Router

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]
EMC [LinuxCNC.org]
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.)


8 Responses to The CNC Revolution Will Not be Televised

  1. Steven Fine says:

    I built a home made CNC router from plans I bought from John Kleinbauer (www.crankorgan.com). The goal of his design is it be able to find all the parts from your local hardware store. His plans are also very clear and affordable at between $30 and $40. It has been very rewarding and interesting to build one of these machines. By building it yourself you get a great understanding of how they work. To be able to actually create something with this tool is even more rewarding.

  2. fjr says:

    I’ve been watching videos of these the last few days ( http://youtube.com/results?search_query=homemade+cnc&search=Search ). Had a Huge desire to build one ever since I first started seeing webpages about DIY CNC a few years ago. Seems to me like every inventive idea I have could benefit from being able to CNC it.

    I especially like the idea of building this one –> http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-to-Build-Desk-Top-3-Axis-CNC-Milling-Machine/
    Then using it to make some items to sell to fund the better future machine, and using it to cut out parts for that bigger better machine.

  3. mac says:

    I would not recommend industructables design, the steel bearings ride on soft aluminum angle, this design is very bad, the hard steel bearings will eat and wear the soft aluminum instantly, you would not be very happy with the final results

  4. Thomas says:

    I made the ROCKCLIFF router almost a year ago now cost arpund $400 total I made the base model in a few days like the one one in the picture but smaller 12″ by 12″ The machine is still going strong works and cuts perfect I am amazed at what this thing will cut I am still learning CNC and finding new ways to make stuff everyday I will never go back to manual cutting again and my workshop will never be without a CNC

  5. Steven Fine says:

    If you want to build a CNC machine don’t be too concerned with how strong or sturdy the machine will be. For an inexpensive homemade machine you will be building it more for the experience than for the long haul. You probably aren’t going to do heavy production with it. It’s a learning experience. You will find out first hand what’s good or bad about your machine design. None of the cheap homemade designs will be perfect. Best of all you will know how to fix it… upgrade it… improve it… SO JUST DO IT!

  6. Max Wilson says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for linking! But it appears the link is not correct, I have a full article of that CNC build over at my other site techimoto at: http://www.techimoto.com/2008/04/12/build-your-own-cnc-machine/

    Great site you have here, I will have to check it out more often.


  7. hany says:

    price list cnc

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