Are you looking at making your own homemade milling machine? Well making a diy homemade milling machine is actually fairly straight forward. Below is my guide on how to get the best plans and make an awesome machine:
Homemade cnc machine plans – Router
Below are some options I have come across to help you make a great low cost cnc machine:
Instructables – Instructables has a great article (over 600 comments) on how to make a 3 axis cnc machine cheaply and easily right here. (free)
Free CNC Plans – Not sure who founded this site, but there are some good recommendations for free cnc hobby milling machine plans here. (free)
Build your CNC – This is a great resource that gives you a step by step guide on how to build a solid cnc machine. Check it out here. (free)
My DIY cnc – These guys have a guide that you have to buy to make your own cnc hobby machine. It is pretty reasonable however, only $15 for the e-book. I can’t attest to it being any good as I haven’t read the e-book yet. Check them out here. (paid)
DIY CNC laser cutter
Instructables – Once again, there is some great stuff to be found on this site. Click here for a great tutorial on how to make a laser cutter for under $50. Definitely something I will have to try one day!
DIY 40W laser cutter – Check out this tutorial on blog.makezine.com right here. This laser cutter comes in at under $1000.
Buying a Laser Cutting Machine
Universal Laser Systems – These guys have some quality products and machines for your laser cutting. Their site is easy to navigate. From larger products to smaller more desktop applications, this is a great place to start. Check’em out here.
Torchmate – Torchmate have their own range of freestanding laser cutters that are definitely worth checking out. They also allow upgrades between certain machines which is pretty cool. Check’em out here.
Buying vs. DIY
With laser cutters, especially between the 20-50W mark, it might actually be easier and cheaper to just buy one instead making a diy laser cutter. You would be looking at around $2-3k plus to get everything set up in a turnkey manner.
So it really is not that much more expensive to just buy a laser cutter (well yeah double or triple the price), but really only 1-2 grand more. You will also get something a lot more reliable and something that comes with a warranty.
Also its a matter of function. Do you need something with a larger cutting bed, or will you be cutting tougher material? Things such as balsa wood will require a more powerful laser (hint: definitely over 40W). With paper or vinyl stickers, something around the 40W mark should be fine.
Think about software costs for your homemade cnc router. For cheap parts you could do a search for ebay cnc router, or check out Amazon for a range of controllers. For software, this can get expensive. You will probably need great cad/cam and cnc controller software, which can cost more than the actual machine. Check out my previous article on beginner g-code programming for some ideas on programmnig and software
Many of the top software brands such as AutoCAD etc. offer a free trial of some sort. Download and test to see what will suit you and your hobby cnc milling machine.
While making a hobby cnc machine is a great idea with some of the resources above, support is often limited. People who make their own hobby cnc machines should head on over to the cnczone.com forum. There are tons of people there that will be able to give you some great advice. You will probably pick up some resources there and with the help of the above resources on how to really make a cheap cnc machine.
There are a ton of other plans out there for other types of machine, such as a diy cnc plasma or cnc hot wire cutter. I have listed some resources above for making a router or laser cnc milling machine hobby, but be sure to keep on hunting, as there has bound to be someone who has done it before. Good luck!