Y-Axis Frame Design, Step 3.

Now that we have looked at the X-axis frame designs and considerations in a do it yourself CNC router design, let’s look at the Y-axis gantry assembly.

The gantry design is the most popular design in the do it yourself CNC router community. It is popular for a reason, it works. When you build a CNC router, it is important to keep the design trade-offs in mind. No matter your budget, the parts you have, or the material you use, there is a design that is best for you.

The gantry design is a proven design for “do it yourself CNC routers.” However, there are still many things that you should be aware of.

From a design standpoint, you want your gantry to be stable and balanced. Design the CNC gantry to meet the forces that it will encounter. This will prevent excess stress and strain on your bearings, lead screw, motor, etc.

In order for you to be able to design and build your gantry to meet the required forces, you first need to identify and understand the forces involved.

Let’s take a look at the forces evolved with a do it yourself CNC router gantry.

The above image illustrates a side view of a typical do it yourself CNC router gantry.

Take a minute to look over the image, there is a lot there. Now let’s discuss what is happening. It may seem confusing at first but it’s rather simple once you understand what is taking place. We will discuss.

Center of gravity/mass

Let quickly identify the labels above:

D1 = the distance between the cutting tool (the router bit) and the centre between the two Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails (D3).

D2 = distance between lead screw/ linear bearings and the bottom Y-axis linear bearing rail/rod.

D3 = distance between the lower and upper Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails.

D4= distance between the 2 linear bearings that sit on the X-axis linear bearing rods/rails.

Now we will look at the forces evolved.

The Technical Explanation: CNC Router Forces
(scroll down for the short Version)

The image above illustrates a gantry that is moving from left to right as you look at the screen. It is being pulled or pushed by the CNC drive system at the bottom. Now, the router spindle at the bottom. Now, the router spindle is lowered and it starts cutting.

The cutting action opposes the movement of the gantry resulting in a cutting force. The cutting force varies according to the gantry acceleration, spindle RPM, and the chip load. The chip load depends on the bit you use, the RPM, and the material. We will get into these details when we discuss the CNC router spindle. For now, just know you have a cutting force opposing the movement of the gantry.

Just so you know, a force is equal to the mass of multiplied by its acceleration. The units of force are lb-f (pounds of force) in the English system or the Newton in the SI system.

The cutting force results in a moment, which is moment A in the figure above. A moment results when you have a force applied at a distance. A moment has units of lbf-in or N-m, we usually call a moment force torque.

Moment A, in the image above, is the result of the cutting force being applied at the distance D1.

Moment A = D1 x Cutting force

If the distance D1= 12 inches and the cutting force is 5 lb of force. Then the Moment A would be 5lb x 1ft = 5 ft-lb of force. ( I converted 12 inches to 1 foot) You can see that even if the cutting force remains the same, the longer the distance of D1 the larger the moment will be.

Moving on, the Moment A results in 2 forces on the Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails.
These resulting forces are forces A and B in the figure above. Force A and Force B are equal to each other Force A = Force B.

Force A = Moment A divided by 2 divided by ½ of D3 this equals to

Force A = Force B = Moment A / D3

You can see that as the vertical distance between the two linear rods/rails (for the Y-axis linear bearings) grows, the resulting forces A and B shrink which is good. Why is this good? It reduces the amount of centralized torque that is on the gantry itself.

Moment B will decrees as force A decreases.

Moment B = D2 x Force A

Moment B is what causes the whole gantry to rock or want to rotate due to the cutting force. This is not a good thing. You want to decrease Moment B as much as possible. Why?

You want to make have equal amounts of force on your set of linear bearings as possible. This will reduce deformation and chatter in your machine.

There are two ways to reduce Moment B.

1) Reduce Force A
2) Reduce the D3

A well-designed machine keeps force C and force D to be as equal as possible. And that is the goal.

Force C and D are the sums of the weight of the machine and resulting forces that occur due to moment B.

We also need to consider the weight of the gantry and try and calculate or guess where the centre of gravity will be and keep that directly in the centre between the two separated bearings (½ D4). The centre of gravity is the point at which the machine would balance.

That is why you often see the gantry upright side arms slanted backwards an a do it yourself CNC router. This compensated for the weight of the spindle which hangs our over the Y-axis linear bearings. When you build a do it yourself CNC router, you want the centre of gravity of the whole gantry assembly to be directly between the two linear bearings. Or if you have a stationary gantry and a mobile bed, you want centre of gravity to be in the centre of the bottom of your gantry side arms.

This assures that your machine is balanced and could stand own its own. This applies equal load on your bearings.

The short answer (summary)

When you design or build a do it yourself CNC router, keep the following in mind:

Try and keep the distance between the X-axis lead screw and linear bearings, as close as possible to the bottom Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails. Or as close to the centre distance between the top and bottom Y-axis linear rods/rails. (Minimize D2)

Keep the spindle plunge arm on the Z-axis assembly as short as possible and make that arm out of rigid material to prevent flexing. A normal Z-axis arm travel is anywhere from 3 to 6 inches. (Minimize D1)

Calculate or estimate where the centre of gravity of the gantry will be located, including the spindle. Design your gantry side arms to compensate and place the centre of gravity (CG) between the front and back X-axis linear bearings per arm. (CG should be located at ½ D4 and as close to X-axis lead screw as possible)

Maximize the distance between the upper and lower Y-axis linear bearing rods/rails but still allow for clearance under the bottom rod/rail for your max Z travel. (Maximize D3)

Other considerations

A good gantry design is one of the most crucial factors for a quality do it yourself CNC router. As with all DIY CNC routers, the budget is a concern which means the material is also a concern. Try and visualize and estimate the forces evolved and make your do it yourself CNC router design work with the materials you have.

If you would like a more thorough analysis you may consult us. We offer free engineering design analysis of your machine. We can help you find:

Specific CG location
Material stress and strain analysis
Dynamic simulation of your machine
Material selection
And more

Remember, we will discuss more on the gantry design in a later section. Topics such as lead screw placement, motor placement, linear bearing attachments, etc. Which are all important consideration with a do it yourself CNC router project?

Now let’s take a look at Step 4: the Z-axis assembly design for the do it yourself CNC router.

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The Z-Axis Assembly, Step 4

So from the picture below, we can see two types of Z-axis assemblies and the Y-Axis CNC Machine Gantry behind the Z-Axis assembly.


Just like the last discussions, when building or designing a CNC machine, it is imperative to understand the forces that are derived from its movement. By so doing, you can modify your design and also establish that it will meet the requirements of your design. In any case, for you to design and as well build your machine to meet your requirements, you need to acknowledge the forces that are involved.



Forces that are on the Z-Axis Assembly



Let’s translate the above picture.

The dimensions are explained by the following:

D1 = the vertical distance between the upper as well as The lower area of Y-axis linear which bears rods and rails.

D2 = the distance between the upper and lower sets of Z-axis linear bearing which is vertical.

D3 = the spindle’s length attachment plunge arm.

D4 = the Z-axis assembly’s width

D5 = the horizontal distance between the Z-axis linear bearing rods and rails.

D6 = the plunge arm’s thickness

D7 = the gap between the cutting force (approx., a tip of the cutting tool) and 1/2 D2.


Now we have an understanding of what the labellings are, let’s have an analysis of the forces and moments.


Forces and Moments on the Z-Axis Assembly

Building a CNC router machine can be simple or complicated. Certain people over think and others just create it and check whether it works or fails. I think it’s best to mix the two concepts. So let’s understand what’s happening first.

The above image explains how the Z-axis assembly are assembled this is shown in a front and a side view. Take a look at the front view and observe that the Z-axis assembly is moving to the right while riding on the Y-axis linear that bears the rails and rods.

The plunge arm is at max Z travel and is as well cutting into a material as-as well as it goes from left to right. This action that is cutting creates a cutting force that connects the movement of the Z-axis assembly.

The cutting force is a variable of spindle RPMs, the number of flutes on the cutting instrument, the rate of feed, and the material that is being cut. You can know more on the most proficient method to calculate cutting force here. When setting up a CNC router, an essential choice to make is the sorts of material you might want to have the capacity to cut, which was talked about in stage 1.

For the primary time, just understand that there is a force in the other way than the Z-axis assembly is moving. Right now let’s see what happens due to this cutting force.


The cutting force makes a moment, which is explained in the image above as Moment A.

A moment is only force applied at a distance. We covered moments in more details in Stage 3.


Moment A = D6 x Cutting force.Z-Axis

Moment A torques the diving arm in the opposing direction of the cutting force, which torques the entire Z-axis assembly.

Br> This very moment results in resultant forces which are applied to the Z-axis linear bearing rails/rods and the Z-axis linear bearing themselves. (Yellow arrows)

As D5 and D2 increment length, the resulting forces reduce. You can see that when you are making a design or building a CNC router, it is vital to maximizing the horizontal distance between the Z-axis linear rails (D5), and the vertical distance between the Z-axis linear bearing block.


The Plunge Arm

D2 affects while cutting along the X-axis as well. See the image below.

The cutting force brings about another moment; Moment B.

B moment is the result of the cutting force being duplicated by the distance between the cutting strength and ½ D2.

Z-AxisThis moment will apply forces with a result on the Z-axis bearing. As the distance between these bearing (D2) increments, these effects will reduce. That is the reason it is best to maximize D2.

As a policy of thumb when setting up a CNC router, D2 ought to never be any less than half portion of the length of the plunger arm. Additionally, you want the thickness of the plunger arm (D6) to be sufficiently thick to not flex under your greatest cutting force.

The flex will rely upon the most extreme cutting force you are designing your machine around, the thickness of the material (d6), plunge arm length (D3), and the material it is made of.

If you require help calculating your cutting power you desire or the measure of deformation a particular material and size will have, you may get in touch with us. We offer free design consultation and other engineering services.



Remember the following when you design or set up a CNC router:

Maximize D1, diminishes the forces because of torque caused by the cutting force in the X-axis.

Maximize D2 diminishes the forces because of torque caused by the cutting force in the X-axis.

Maximize D3, yet still, permit your desired Z-axis travel.

Maximize D4, diminishes the forces because of torque caused by the cutting force in the Y-axis.


Different Contemplations

In later areas of the building, a CNC router guide, we will talk about other features such, for example, lead screws, motor placement, linear bearing and so on.

Do not forget that you may get in touch with us with any questions in regards to CNC machines in general or your design. We will help out any way imaginable.

The motor mount that is utilized in the above image might be purchased pre-fabricated from ebay or banggood for an assortment of router spindles.



So now we have taken a look at the initial four stages when setting up a CNC router machine,

Step 1: Key design Choices, HomeMade Hobby CNC Router Machine

Step 2: The Base and X-axis frame Design Understanding

Step 3: The Y-axis Gantry Assembly and Design Understanding

Step 4: The Z-axis Assembly and Design Understanding

MakeMyIdeas Homepage

Right now let’s keep on one of the most critical features when designing or setting up a CNC router machine system, the linear motion system.

X-Axis Frame Design, Step 2

If you are going to design and build your own CNC Router machine, the first thing you should consider designing is the Base Frame. Many people design their machines from the spindle down, but we are going to do it from the frame up.

Base Frame Oversight.

The base frame is and always will be the main structural element of your CNC machine. The base frame is what holds everything together and all your components will attach to.

The base frame design will depend on what materials and supplies you have got, the number of lead screws and motors your budget can cover. Firstly we need to cover the basics of the designs so we can buy parts to fit our design.

If for some reason you cant find a part for your design or your budget cannot cover your design you will need to go back to the drawing board and optimise your design and materials you have used. This is a common problem found by most when designing and building a project.

Firstly take a look at other CNC designs you can find anything that will benefit your own design.

Also, you must choose now whether you will be building a mobile gantry or mobile bed.

CNC Routers X Axis Frame Design

When you’re building your own CNC Router machine, the X-axis is the base frame axis, why because it supports the X-axis linear rails.

This part of the machine servers 3 main tasks:

1) It’s the main structural element, acting as the base.

2) Supports the X-axis linear rails.

3) Supports the cutting table.

The most used designs for the base are.

Fully Supported Base Frame

with a fully supported frame is one of the greatest designs it is also the main design used in industrial and professional router machines.

X Axis

The fully supported frame design means that both X-axis and Y-axis will rest on the floor or other structure. There is nothing across the Y-axis gantry (connecting). This results in a very sturdy CNC Base design that will not flex under the cutting table or its own or external weight.

For this frame design to be able to flex or deform the material would have to compress.

But keep in mind that the kind of flex we are talking about isn’t a massive amount, and if we revert back to the question in step one and that was how accurate do you want to build your machine and hold that accuracy. A deformation of 0.01 is acceptable if you only expect 0.1mm with your machine.

There are also drawbacks with this design they are, You will need to add an extra stepper, lead screw, ball screw and proximity sensor or limit switch, so this alone will bump up the cost of your design. You could employ a fully supported frame design and only use one motor (stepper) and use a pulley belt system, but for this system you would need to ensure your motor is up to the job as it will be under a lot of loads, this will be covered in the CNC drive system section where we will show you how to work that out. With the fully supported design, you can get away with lighter materials because it is supported by the floor and other structure.

Now on to the next design.

Full supporting frame vs full supporting linear rails.

This design is fully supported and does not have anything obstructing or sweeping across the axis while operating

later we will cover fully and end supported linear rails, but that is later, for now, we will just cover this heading, so focusing on this frame design it is possible to have fully supported linear rails and not have a fully supported frame like this.


partially supported X-axis fully supported Y-axis frame

The most common design found in the DIY hobby CNC router out there is this one.


This illustration shows Y-axis and ends support the X-axis frame.

In this design the gantry would be an undercarriage design that would link the Y-axis underneath utilising only one stepper motor lead screw and proximity sensor, this would allow for a fully supported linear rail setup, however, the supported rail will still flex but nowhere near the same extent of a non supported rail.#

a downside to this design is that you would need to add feet either end of the frame allowing the Y-axis undercarriage to pass back and forth without any obstruction, this would still be classed as an X-axis supported system since the frame would not interfere with the gantry.

This makes a very sturdy design because the Y-axis has no flex within it, it also makes for a very strong cutting bed that is also very rigid, only downside is where we have supported the x-axis up with legs this will allow for the X-axis to deform under the Y-axis weight or cutting force.

Building this frame out f solid aluminium measuring 38mm x 115mm with X-axis length of 1520mm your frame will sag 2.5mm in the centre. That is only under its own weight this does not include gantry weight or anything else like cutting force.

This would be a nightmare if (back to step one) you decided you wanted a machine with a tolerance of 0.01mm in the z-axis, this machine would definitely flex and you could probably compensate for it, but the machine could and probably would vibrate and bouncy even while trying to cut a straight line.

If you choose to use this design I would say to use a small x-axis length 600mm to 800mm max this would lower the amount of sag in your x-axis.

This frame design is the easiest design to set up and gets going but not without its known issues, there are other solutions out there for design.

Full Support on X-Axis Partly Supported Y-Axis

For this design lets say you only have one stepper motor and lead screw available for your X-axis but still wish to obtain a high tolerance machine. What we could do is move the Y-axis gantry inside the base frame, this would allow for a fully supported X-axis the machine would not be able to cut under the x-axis frame, however using this system the y-axis would not be a fully supported.


With this design you can see, the X-axis is fully supported (its grounded) however the gantry would be able to cut through any frame within the Y-axis so limiters would need to be in place to protect the frame.

With this setup no matter how much weight was placed on the gantry or cutting bed the X-axis frame would not deform rather the material would deform then cause an issue.

However, for this frame to work for the cutting bed would have to be separate from the overall machine, this means the machine table could deform if wasn’t built with adequate strength and support, there is also a pro to this design once the bed is set you could use your machine to plane it smooth and level.

This would mean the cutting bed is true to the machine.

When designing and building your own CNC Router Machine, you will have to decide what is more important to your design. Have a machine that remains constant or having a bed that will flex with your machine, this will be covered more when we cover the cutting bed.

Alternatives To The Above

there is always another alternative and depend on how creative you wish to get with your CNC router design.

We could create a design in which both X-axis and cutting bed are both very supported, if you look at my design below you will see the X-axis is raised this allows for a small gantry in height it is also fully supported x-axis frame it sits on the ground and carry all the weight, as for the cutting bed it could easily be integrated into the design either fixed to the machine so it can flex with the machine or a free-standing bed that will remain constant and milled to always sit true to the machine.

Mobile Bed Design

mobile bed

Personally not a fan, Why, well to make this machine the X-axis has to be twice the size of the cutting bed so if your bed is 500mm your X-axis would have to be 1m in length, large footprint small cutting bed.

But with the design, the cutting bed is fully supported and attached to the machine it also allows for the machine to plane the bed to sit true so it does have its advantages

your only need one stepper motor and lead screw to get it to work this is a great design if you wish for a small high precision machine that will not break the bank.

Mobile gantry machines are great for PCB and engraving machines.

Considerations to think about

So when it comes to designing and building your own CNC router machine, firstly you will need to consider what material you will cut the frame from as it will play a big part in your overall design.

Different materials will have different tolerances and all will deform differently, but the most common materials to choose from are:

1) MDF, easy to work with relatively strong but will flex and warp if in a humid environment.

Will degrade over time and will need to be remade.

2) Plywood, only use structural marine ply very strong easy to work with and can create a good machine but over time will become weaker and lose precision.

3) Aluminium Stock, flat plate, angle etc again this is a great material, but aluminium can deform very easily over a small distance so if your machine X-Axis is 1500mm it will need a lot of support to stop it flexing.

4) Aluminium Extrusion, this is probably your best option it is designed to have a very low deform over a long distance it strong and easy to work with but does come with a price tag. But your machine will last a long time and always remain strong and precise.

5) Steel. You’re not going to get anything stronger than steel to build your machine but you will need a welder and you will have to take into consideration the weight of the materials as they accumulate on your machine.

All 5 materials have pros and cons all can be used on your machine but consider aluminium and steel don’t mix this is a big NO NO as the aluminium on contact to steel will transfer all its ions to the steel causing galvanic corrosion and your aluminium will become worthless in months.

In future pages, we will be covering placement of components and these should all be considered into your design especially when it comes to maintenance of your machine components.

For now, just review your design you may consider different options for your design.

Do not rush your design it is important to find the issues within the design process before you start building as a minor error might mean a costly rebuild later on.

Next lets look at the Z and Y axis frame design.

Go back to step 1: HomeMade Hobby CNC Router Machine

Step 3: Designing and building the Y- Axis.

Make My Ideas Home.

Hobby CNC Router Machine, Step 1

As we described in the previous article, There are many pros to designing and building a custom hobby CNC machine.

When it comes to designing and building any machine you will come across many different problems so easy to fix others not so.

When designing a CNC machine you will realise how simple they are, the concept is pretty straight forward, but you can quickly run into issues in the process, but don’t let that deter you.

That’s is why I have created this Guide, to keep you away from the possible errors you will make along the way this will help buy keeping your costs and spent time.

This guide will mainly concentrate on the hobby CNC router machine, because these machines are relatively simple the guide could easily be adapted to most linear motion systems, for example you could remove the Z-axis and router and add just a laser to create a CNC laser cutter.

By reading this page you are probably considering building your own CNC router machine. You probably even have a design in mind, this is to be expected, at the end of the day its your machine build it as you wish.

This guide is not in place to change your design or tell you, you must build it this way for it to work, but rather supplement your design with useful and valuable information on your CNC router machine.

I have wrote this guide, in the belief that you have some general knowledge of how a CNC works, if not you may want to take a look at CNC Routers the Basics.

So Lets Get Started

1) Choosing the right designing

There are two main designs you can choose from for the hobby CNC, this may seem to contradict the fact that every machine build is different, but when you look deeper you realise there are only two you will ever encounter, they are.

1) Fixed Gantry, Moveable Cutting Bed.

2) Mobile Gantry, Fixed Cutting Bed.

You can see the difference in the two designs below.

Now will explain in more detail the difference in design.

The Mobile BedCNC Router design

You don’t see this all to often in the hobby CNC world, but there are still reasons for picking this type of CNC machine because they can be built strong and sturdy they are ideal for PCB or engraving machines, for these size machines they work well.

As mentioned above this type is very sturdy, because the gantry is fixed there is no flex In the gantry under load, this is because there are no components in place to allow flex ie linear rails and bearing sliders.

When using a mobile gantry you must take into consideration the mass of the gantry and use the approprate linear bearings on the X-axis. With a moble bed design the gantry its self does not move this mean you can build the ganrty as heavy as you need to reduce vibration to a minimum.

With ever pro there is a con and the con of this CNC design style. And one of the main ones is that when you increase the length of the X-axis the mobile bed becomes less efficient.

If your unfamiliar with the X,Y and Z Axis notation I have added a picture to reference better, as described in the basics of CNC router machines the X,Y and Z are always in this configuration.

On the mobile bed design when you increase the length of the x Axis you’re design will become less efficient this is due to the size of the bed, on average you will find the general size of these machines to be around 100 to 300 mm, I have seen larger but the design of them becomes more and more complicated.

With the Y and Z-axis you don’t really seen many changes in them.

In conclusion if you are after a small machine for engraving or for PCB work these are ideal, personally I have never built one a I don’t like the design.

The Mobile GantryCNC Router design

These probably make up around 95% of hobby CNC machine designs and this is the design style I would choose over the other. In this style the bed is fixed and has no moving parts the only thing that moves is the gantry is is beneficial because the whole cutting bed becomes useable unlike the mobile bed version.

The problem you will find is building a gantry that is light weight but sturdy, it will also need to be designed to fit some for of linear bearing assembly.

If you are not considering building a small machine then this would be the ideal design to go for. We will go into more detail about this later.

But for now you need to consider which size best to suit your needs.

2) The Cutting Area

The cutting area is the overall distance in which you can cut over, so if on your X-axis you have a 700mm linear bear you deduct the length of the two combine linear bearings so if X = 700mm – 200mm of the linear bearings you have a tool tip that can move 500mm on the X-axis.

So when it comes to your design you want to build it the right size these are things to consider which we will cover more on a later topic structural considerations.

But first off we will want to workout what we wish to cut its size maybe just A4 size or maybe a full sheet of plywood 2440mm x 1220mm we could build a machine this large but it will become expensive and your find many issues along the way so I suggest keeping your design small to start learn from your mistakes and then go from there.

Common issues with large machines can be that the mobile gantry that you would have to use could sag and have a lot of flex in it.

The cutting area is also known as the machines travel and this is the movement along the axis, this will be smaller than your overall machine size which will explain more in stage 3.

3) The Machine Size

Everyone one I know that has built a CNC machine has tried to build it as big as they can get even I did when I first started designing my first project, but there’s a few issues to cover.

Do you have the space for such a large machine whether you built a shed solely for it or its going in to your garage.

Allow room so you can easily move around your machine when it come to repairs or modds do you want to have an easy job doing them.

Money, the root of all evil and the same with you massive design, problem is ACME lead screws and linear rails don’t come cheap and more weight bigger steppers.

So with my current machine I have a space 700mm x 700mm so my machine would be this size to fit its also an easy size to manage and repair.

My Footprint is 700mm x 700mm so how big is my cutting area I cover this in more detail here, but briefly if your gantry is 400mm you would want your bearings to be around half that distance so 200mm this is taken away from the overall linear rail size. 700-200=500mm cutting travel.

Aim your design at having as much travel distance as you can possible achieve.

4) The Machine Tolerance

The ideal of having a CNC router machine is to complete your jobs accurately more accurately than if you was doing it by hand.

When designing your machine you must consider accuracy and precision and these 2 things should not be confused as the same thing.

The image below shows.

Homemade CNC Router Machine

Accuracy is the machines ability to machine with tight tolerances.

Precision is the machines ability to perform the above repeatable.

Your machine should be both accurate and precise and hold and maintain this. For example you maybe able to cut a piece is within 0.01mm but repeatability might be 0.10mm.

Most people design there machines and live with how they perform overs try bettering the accuracy and precision.

There are ways to build your machine so that it is both accurate and precise if you are happy with a 0.10 mm machine then and that’s all your ever need so be it.

But if you want a machine that is 0.01mm repeatable then there are some design requirements you must include into your design in order for it to perform so well.

Typical hobby CNC routers can hold tolerances of between 0.01mm to 0.10mm however, this is your decision on how tight you want your tolerances, but make note the larger the machine becomes the more costly it becomes to reduce them tolerances.

5) Materials and Tools

Materials first so what are you going to use for your design Aluminium, MDF, Plywood Plastics Steel.

The material of which you choose should fit your budget building a machine fully of aluminium can become very expensive quickly.

Does it matter is MDF worse than aluminium “no I have seen MDF machines hold tighter tolerances than one of aluminium.

It is crucial to pick your materials before designing your machine reason being is the right material for a wood machine is not always the right material for an aluminium machine.

Tools steel is not to hard to work with but you will need a steel cutter and posible a welder.

Aluminium can be tricky requiring a special cutting disk and drill bits and router bits can become clog to.

Plywood MDF and Plastics are the easiest to work with easy to cut and drill common toolling can be used.

Most people build a UGLY machine first normally made of wood they then use the UGLY machine to build a nice fancy aluminium machine.

If you do not have the right tools to build your CNC this will show in your machines tolerances.

We will look at the properties of materials later, this will allow us to calculate deflection within SolidWorks find weak spots and amend them before we start are build.

It will also help you in designing your machine to the load ratings you specify.

6) Budget

Last one on the list, for most of us me included this is the biggest restriction in your build for instance I would love a machine that had a ATC spindle but my budget suggested otherwise.

You can easily make an expense list in spreadsheet covering all costs.

After all what’s the point in spending loads on a hobby machine when it might all accumulate to a cost you could of got a low range machine prebuilt.

Example of a Budget Spread Sheet.

Summary of what we covered in part 1

1) Choosing the right designed

2) The Cutting Area

3) Machine Size

4) Tolerences

5) Material and Tools

6) Budget

CNC Router Systems The Basics.

CNC Router Machine the Basics

CNC Router Machine, they have been about for a long time now, But the popularity has grown massively in all areas whether it be hobby or trade. This all boils down to the great capabilities of these machines. They can create high detail products accurately a lot faster than a craftsman would have been able too.

Over the last 10 years, CNC Routing Machines have made their way into most engineering businesses, plus hobbyist have invested in these as they open new doors.

In this article we will cover the basics of the CNC routers, we will cover parts and types associated with these machines, how they work, the slag associated with CNC routers, and finally the cost.

Want To Skip The Basics

If you have a good understanding of these machines, then you could skip to the more advanced featured articles. For example, if you wish to learn how to make a CNC Router or wishing to buy a CNC Router but not sure what you are looking for.

So Let’s Get Started

The following articles will take you all the way through the basics you need to learn.

I’d suggest you follow the pages in order if you’re a complete novice to the CNC world.

But, if you have a certain area covered please don’t just overlook it there might be a little bit of knowledge in there you Haven’t heard of or thought about.

What Makes a CNC Router Spin


This article covers:

Basic Aspects

Acknowledging components

How components are combined and work together

Types and Features

Question CNC

This article covers:

The variety of CNC machines available

Features of the different types

Abilities of the different types

Cost of a CNC Router

Price of CNC

This article covers:

How much various systems may cost

How much additional add ons might be and why you might need them

Return to Home Page.

The CNC Router

Welcome to makemyideas.uk

The #1 CNC router wisdom and resourcefulness.

This website will guide and aid you, in your purchase or build. and will teach you the bigger picture of this truly amazing machine.

CNC machines have grown in popularity massively over the last few years making them a highly sort after machine.

Are you thinking of buying a CNC?


Have you decided to buy and not to build a CNC But not to sure on what you are looking at and need a guiding hand. Is it for business use or is it for personal these are some important decisions to make when purchasing a CNC machine.

Other things to consider when purchasing is:
“What is the required size of my CNC machine”
“What features does my CNC machine require”
“How much is all this going to cost me”

With CNC machines there are hundreds of different models to choose from and many more features to add on, all for different applications.CNC

Now you are probably thinking where the hell should I start? There is more to this than what I initially thought about.

So I have put together a buyers guide for anyone wishing to by one of these great machines but don’t just jump into the buyer’s guide take a look around at our builder’s guide you might decide to build on instead.

Features of the buyers guide consist of finding the correct router to cover your needs, and choosing the right options to add on.

If buying a CNC is not for you, construct your own?


CNCSo your thinking of building your own CNC machine Maybe you have been surfing the web and find small amounts of info, here you will find a comprehensive guide from start to the end of your build.
Following these articles could save you wasting money on your design and build, design and build a machine that will fully fit your needs.
Building your own is extremely rewarding and you will learn a lot more on the way and also have a better insight in your machine breaks down on you.

At this moment in time you could have thought of a great design but not sure on how to fabricate it, or is it you still have no clue what you want as an end product this is fine as you are in the best place to gain the knowledge needed to successfully build your CNC.

Whatever stage you are in right now these pages will enable you to better or even save you a minor mistake in your build.

In our build guide you will find topics covered like.
Frame Creation and Materials for assembly.
Tips on how to save money on your build.
How to design your CNC.

We will cover every possible aspect of the great machines right down to how to wire them up no aspect will be not be covered.
And outline the “do’s and dont’s” commonly associated with the build and design process that goes into these machines.

Need More General knowledge.


So maybe buying or build a CNC machine is not for you, Maybe you are just looking for general information on a part used within a CNC. Maybe you have another project in mind that utilises similar components to a CNC and would like move information on it.
We have broken down all the individual components and with describing them in full on their own individual page crammed with all the information needed to answer your question or issues.CNC

We have details on software “pros and cons” of all to consider.
Details on OS Linux or Windows.

CNC machines are truly cutting edge technology that is paving the future of production.

If you cannot find what you are searching for please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will try our best to answer any questions you ask as quickly as possible.


Table of Contents

Comprehensive CNC Build Guide

Your DIY CNC Build starts here

Introduction CNC Build Guide

So if you have made your way to this page you must have decided or considering building your personal CNC router.

So where are we going to start?

There are hundreds of reasons for owning your very own CNC router.

DIY CNC routers can pretty much cut and shape any material as long as they are built to do so.

For the general hobbyist or weekend DIY Guru, This can open literally tonnes doors, and open up your product capabilities.

Building your own CNC is great news for your wallet as the build cost is far less than that if you brought one.

And the truth is you can build one as good or if not better than anyone you could find pre-done. Building one is not difficult either and with this guide, it will be even easier to complete an awesome end product.CNC

You also get a great deal more freedom in designing your own, you can design a CNC machine that fits perfectly to your own personal needs.

Many people choose to design and build their own CNC machine, one main reason is buying a machine ready to go is extremely expensive and may not fully fit your requirements.

Or you may just like getting to know the “inns and out’s” of how they work how they go together.

There is such a large learning curve to it and it makes you feel humble knowing you know every aspect of your machine because you designed it built it and run it.

Make My Ideas Experience

When we first set out the challenge of designing and building our first CNC machine, we thought we had it all worked out but issues and questions soon arose.

Simple questions and issues like:

What is the difference between supported and unsupported rain which do I need.

What to build my machine with will it be sturdy enough

do I need servos or steppers

And a lot more…

Due to working in the CNC industry and having a good general interest in engineering I could eliminate a few of these issues.

Luckily an engineer of one of the machines I use had been tinkering around for years building his own personal CNC router.

I gain a lot of wisdom from him and learn a lot from the mistakes he had made along the way.

I also read through hundreds of threads relating to my issues, on many different forums like CNCzone.com, Which is a great resource of information.

The only Problem with the forum is that most of the answers I got to my question kinda contradicted so I still didn’t have closure on my questions.

In the end, I was just buying what I thought was right and trying it out sometimes this worked fine other times I’d end up with a lot of stuff that wasn’t any good for anything, thankfully eBay became handy sell unwanted parts and also finding a few components second hand to test.

This was a very good learning curve as I got to see how a lot of parts worked why they didn’t work and how I could possibly implement them into possible future projects.

CNC Machine Kits and Designs

You can find many kits online at the various website but I am yet to find one that would cover all my needs they seem very limited in design features and you could have a lot of issues in add additional parts onto them.cnc

Another problem with a kit is you are not going to fully understand how they work and how key components work.

But if you want to be fully aware of how a CNC machine works then following through all the information on this site and designing and build your own fantastic machine is the best option you have.

If you still not wanting to design one but build it we will be putting together a few plans that will be fully documented with Videos going over the design procedure, a base more with room to add on key essentials to meet your needs.

And if none of the plans meets what you have in mind you can contact us and we can put your idea into a design for you.

In The Guide

What will you find in this guide, hopefully, everything you need to know and more that is our aim?

After years in the industry I have been able to pick up a vast understanding of these machines and their capabilities and their failings, Plus I have been fully trained in the use of SolidWorks and all of its functions so designing and spotting their flaws before it makes it to the build phase and wasting money in the long run.cnc

So with all of the above, the guide is aimed at saving you the unwanted waste of time and money from possible design, material and components decisions.

So what’s to be covered literally everything will be covered, why because I even made mistakes when I come down to bolt selection on one of my builds.

We will cover the Pros and Cons to every component you will be considering.

At the start, you think of these machines as 3, 4, or 5 axis machines but at the end, you will realise that there’s more there’s the mechanics the physics the software plus the rest.

Even if you have already started a design I will say you must read through the guide as you might pick up on some issues or even a little idea that will drastically improve your design.

By the end, you will have so much information to make the perfect machine that will be able to cover everything you original design it to do.


Time to Get Started with the CNC Build

Step 1, Basic Design Discisions

CNC Router DesignIn this section we will cover.

Identifying the right design for you
Required cutting area
Space availability
Constructing Methods
Available tools

Go to Homepage from the DIY CNC Machine

Link Exchange


How to get a GeForce graffics card to work in SolidWorks (realview)

SolidWorks GeForce RealviewOne of the most annoying things about SolidWorks is the none existent support for Geforce cards,

But there is a workaround for this and this video details how to get around the issue and get realview working.

How To

1.) Open up the registry editor (Start Button - Run... - "Regedit")

2.) Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\SOLIDWORKS 2015\Performance\Graphics\Hardware\Current"

3.) On the right side double click on "Renderer"

4.) copy (ctrl+C) the Value

Since I have a GeForce Card mine is "GeForce GTX 960M/PCIe/SSE2".

5.) Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\SOLIDWORKS 2015\Performance\Graphics\Hardware\Gl2Shaders\nv40"

6.) On the left side (the tree view) right click on "R420" and choose "New / Key"

7.) Rename the new key with the copied value (ctrl+V)

8.) Click another Key and back to your newly created to make sure you are editing the right values. The right side should be empty but an entry (Default) whose data is "value not set"

9.) right click on the right side and create "New / DWORD (32-bit) Value"

10.) Rename the DWORD to "Workarounds" and, after that, double click it

11.) Leave the "Base" to "Hexadecimal" and enter 30008 into the field "Value data"

12.) Leave the Registry Editor open and start Solidworks. Create a new part / open an old one and try to enable RealView.

If RealView is still greyed out:
13.) Close Solidworks and go back to the registry editor. Doubleclick the DWORD "Workarounds" and change the "Value data" to 30408 or 40408
14.) Fire up Solidworks and try again to activate Realview (Part or Assembly open)

If RealView is STILL greyed out:
15.) Freakout - I can't help you mate.