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The CNC project begins!!

01-31-2010, 09:59 PM
I took the plung today an bought X, Y stepper motors and controlers. I also purchased a Z assembly without a controler. I spent $265.00 on everything. The CNC project begins!!

01-31-2010, 11:32 PM

Could you provide some details on the items you purchased. It sounds like a pretty good price. Are you planning on using 2 steppers to move the gantry plus the one on the gantry? Are you using purchased plans? Thanks for any info. Sounds great.


02-01-2010, 07:09 AM
Sounds like a good start Keith. Keep us posted on the progress. Is this going to be a plasma CNC or router?

02-01-2010, 09:11 AM
I have been slowly collecting parts for my CNC project. Right now I am super busy so I haven't had time to do much on it.

I found these on McMaster Car and I think they would work for the guides for a CNC plamsa.

McMaster-Carr (http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/116/1089/=5mo0v4)

I ordered 3 feet of "High-Capacity Side-Mount Track Roller Guide Blocks and Rails" Just to see what it looked like. It seems like it will work well. It cost me ~$150 for one 3 foot rail and roller block. It is a little bit pricey but since I have more money than time at the moment I figured they may be a good choice. I don't know if they would work for a router but for just a plasma it should work great. (I hope)


02-01-2010, 09:57 AM
I bought the Orential motor ASM(motor) and ASD(Controller) series. These are for the X, Y axis. They are 5 phase closed loop assemblies. For the Z axis I bought an assembly that includes PH(motor) and no controler Total movement is 2in. I bought every thing on ebay. I have broken the bank for January!! I will have to wait for late Feburary to buy some more parts. I am planing to write the driver code for the project. I do not have plans, I am just winging it. The Z axis assembly may be to light for a router, but it will be fine for plasma. Keep in mind that none of my desigh is proven, so I would NOT use any info for your design. When the project is complete and fully functional I will release ALL information. I am sure that there WILL be mistakes and a lot of trial and error

02-01-2010, 11:13 AM
You might want to look into the Ubuntu Linux EMC2 controller program Keith, it is open source and works well. Also look into Sheetcam TNG to convert dxf files to GCode. I use it and like it very much.

02-01-2010, 01:35 PM
Nice, I need to get with the program and get mine going so that I can follow along.

There are some rails on eBay that look good, but may not be long enough for me - I am still trying to find them again, looked at them a while back and neglected to watch one so I could find them again. The ones I see now are a bit more pricey.

Uncle Ed
02-01-2010, 06:15 PM
Oh Lordy! Dan has created a monster. A whole tribe of monsters!

"Here Honey, let me cut the birthday cake! Muahaha!" as he chucks in a knife and each person gets a .250 inch thick piece.

You could serve hundreds with a half sheet pastry. Think of the savings! :)

02-18-2010, 01:28 PM
I received two motors and controlers on Monday. They have a guarentee for not being a DOA that lasts for 12 days. I had to make a test rig to verify that they worked. Picture attached. Both motors and controllers work just fine. You don't know they could have been JUNK. These two are for the X & Y axis. The Z axis has also arrived but with out a controller I can't test it. I purchased a controller and anouther motor for the Z axis Tuesday for $59.00 It was a package deal. I have the X & Y axis guide rails. I expect to fab the table next week.

02-18-2010, 01:54 PM
Looking good Keith.

02-18-2010, 04:05 PM
Sooner or later you guys are going to shame me into building one of these!

Art R.

02-18-2010, 04:26 PM
I'm certainly impressed. Probably all over my head and I will end up just buying a unit instead of making it.

02-21-2010, 11:05 AM
I was going to write the code for my CNC. I took a look at MACH3 for $150.00 it would take me YEARS to program all the functions that MACH3 has. Even though I don't have the money, it would be foolish for me to take on such a huge project. I know that there other programs for <$$ still looking. Still waiting for parts.

02-21-2010, 11:37 AM
Keith check out Ubuntu EMC2. I use it and am very happy with how it works. It is a free download of Ubuntu Linux with the EMC2 already compiled. All you have to do is configure it for your motors and controllers. The download site is at
LinuxCNC.org - Download information (http://www.linuxcnc.org/content/view/2/4/lang,en/)
An EMC support forum is here LinuxCNC.org - Download information (http://www.linuxcnc.org/content/view/2/4/lang,en/)

02-21-2010, 01:14 PM
I will check it out. Thanks Gadget

02-21-2010, 03:13 PM
I will check it out. Thanks Gadget

I'll have a video up soon showing the EMC2 at work Keith. As soon as Youtube finishes processing I will post it.

02-24-2010, 03:38 PM
I loaded EMC2 on a computer. WOW Lynix has gone a long way. I have not messed with it for about 10 years. They say that a built in video card will not work properly and that nVIDIA won't work either. They state that they will work but in real time they will become speratic. I will not use in real time for quite a while, so I can play with the software to see what it does.

02-24-2010, 04:26 PM
Let me know if you need any help Keith. I have been using it on my CNC for nearly 2 years now.

03-05-2010, 10:29 PM
Gadget, What did you do to shield the keyboard and mouse from RF?

I made the x rails this week and made a shelf for the computer. Pictures to follow.

03-06-2010, 06:04 AM
Gadget, What did you do to shield the keyboard and mouse from RF?

The keyboard and mouse are on a metal shelf with aluminum screen over it for shielding. I just slide my hands under the screen to type or move the mouse. No hinge, just the flex of the screen allows access.
I bought some braided shield wire to cover all lead wires. A romex type connector makes connecting them to the case easy.

03-06-2010, 06:43 AM
Wow that is some heavy duty shielding. So is the shielding for the HF of the plasma cutter?

03-06-2010, 07:33 AM
Wow that is some heavy duty shielding. So is the shielding for the HF of the plasma cutter?

Yes, and other RF when TIG welding, etc

Attached is a few pictures. The first two are the X axis guide rails. They are made from 1 in dia 1/8 wall tubeing welded to some BED rail.
The second two are of some .070 SS to make a tray for the computer.

03-06-2010, 07:43 AM
I mounted my computer, controller, and torch controller inside a metal cabinet. I cut vent holes in it and covered them with aluminum screening. If the controllers or computer are left exposed you will lose steps in a big way when the torch fires and quits.

Your X rails look nice, how long are they? Will they mount to another metal base?

03-06-2010, 03:05 PM
Gadget, The rails are 36 in long. They will be attached together. I am thinking that the base will be made of steel, but with a small footprint.

03-14-2010, 09:32 AM
Keith, Check out FreeMill for generating 3d Gcode. You are somewhat limited as to the input type of files but it is free. I downloaded it and installed it but don't have a program that writes to that file type so I can't say how well it works.