For years now I have wanted to build a CNC machine. I don’t know why they have just captured my imagination and stuck there. I think it might be the mix of skills required that appeals, woodwork, metalwork, electronics and software. I’m fortunate that I have a good understanding of the software side of things – I’m a programmer in real life – and the woodwork should be fairly simple but the metal work and electronics is new and exciting.
When I say I’ve wanted to build a CNC for years I really do mean years. I vaguely remember wanting to build one in our first flat and we celebrated the millennium there! Over the years I’ve done a bit of reading so I know the basics of the terminology and roughly what I want to achieve and how to achieve it. Now I’ve decided to actually make a real plan and start sourcing the parts I need.
When I first got interested in building a CNC many people built their own because they couldn’t afford a commercial machine. With machines this the Fireball V90 now available I don’t really think that is as much of a driver as it once was. Even if you fully spec up a V90 it comes to <$2000 and I would be very surprised if the machine I’m planning on building will come to much less than that. My aim for a build cost is <£1000 (I’m in the UK) but I suspect that will be fairly tight.
I’m sure a few jaws hit the ground there when I said the budget was £1K but I think that is probably a fairly good estimate if all the costs are taken into account – it’s very easy to skip costs when you get carried away with a project. I built a belt sander a while back and after I’d bought all the parts it wouldn’t have been much more to just buy a machine off the shelf. It was, however, far more enjoyable to build the machine than it was to buy it.
I’m planning on documenting this project as if it’s a blog for now as I don’t know enough about building a CNC to come up with a good structure. Once I’ve built a machine (or maybe two) I’m going to try and put together a comprehensive set of instructions and reading material so other people don’t have to do as much digging if they want to build a CNC for themselves.
Wish me luck, here I go.