After browsing many websites in search of CNC machines and their construction it soon became apparent that every machine I saw had been constructed quite differently. My conclusion to this, is that we all build within our range of skills and use the materials that we already have to hand or which are readily obtainable. My CNC machine falls into this category exactly - It is probably the best I can achieve within my abilities and with the materials I can obtain.

For my construction, I chose to make a welded steel frame using fully supported linear rails and ball screws for the X and Y axis with round linear rails and a trapezoid lead screw being used for the Z axis, all direct driven with bi-polar stepper motors.

My exploits into the world of CNC have been and still are great fun and as a hobby it can be extremely rewarding, I recommend it to anyone seeking a challenge. Actually building the machine and connecting it to the computer I have found relatively easy compared with organizing the multitude of software necessary to make it all work. The backbone of this software is undoubtedly 'Mach 3' by Artsoft. It is surprisingly easy to learn to use despite its initial daunting appearance (there are, however, still many things I don't yet understand about it but I an getting there, I think). Artsoft allow you to use a free (limited) version of their software to evaluate the product and you don't have to buy until you are certain that it will do the job. Lots of free software is available for CNC followers like me and much of it is extremely useful, such as 'Target2GCode' by Martin De Roode of Majosoft.com This little gem will convert HPGL plotter files into GCode machine files effortlessly. Another by Martin is 'Bmp2Din', this creates the code to produce 3D images from suitably shaded bitmaps. In fact 'Majosoft's Hobby Site' together with 'Hobby CNC Hungary' could occupy a week's internet browsing alone. Another free software is 'G-Simple' by Sotiris Kontogiannis of Polaris Engineering SA. G-Simple was used to produce the GCode for the CNC Cube shown in Pics 33 & 34.

Tweakie will never really ever be finished, there will always be improvements to be made and new ideas to be incorporated. With regard to cost, well you should never put a price on your hobby, but I think it would be cheaper to buy a ready built machine than ever to build your own, but just think of all the fun you would be missing out on.

The following pages are intended to give some insight into it's construction and show the diversity of tasks that can be performed. Nothing here should be considered as “carved in stone’” as there is always more than one way to complete any task - these are just my opinions based on practical experience. Please note that all the units used or expressed on this website are metric unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Tweakie.CNCMach 3, Tweakie.CNC

CNC machine construction and operational details together with examples and samples of things that can be made and techniques used for small CNC machines.

Welcome to the Tweakie.CNC website.

 

I hope you will find some the information presented in these pages of practical use in the construction or operation of a hobby CNC machine. I am constantly learning new techniques and finding new things to try and make, sometimes successfully - sometimes not. The results will find their way into these pages as the site is updated but you will have to scan your way through the site to find the new and updated stuff.

 

Tweakie has been constructed as a router and designed for work with wood and plastic parts so to progress to metalworking I have acquired a small, benchtop, CNC milling machine which I have called Bob. All the original wiring has been replaced and a new controller and PSU fitted - the details of this work are shown on the ’Bob the Mill’ page.

 

Incidentally giving machines names is not as daft as it may seem - items such as cables, machine tools or even Mach3 profiles which are specific to one machine only can be clearly marked or identified without any mistake. That's my excuse anyway.

 

All the information presented here is factual, based on what I have already done and can reliably repeat, I have deliberately avoided any speculation or guesswork or wishful thinking so anything you see here you should be able to do yourself. OK there are some skills required but it is not rocket science.

Introduction.

Latest Update - 29th June 2014.

Tweakie.CNC

Always wear suitable eye protection when using machinery. Your eyesight Is precious.

 

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Rounded Rectangle: CNC Home.
Rounded Rectangle: Construction 1.
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Rounded Rectangle: Construction 3.
Rounded Rectangle: Construction 4.
Rounded Rectangle: Construction 5.
Rounded Rectangle: Routing & Cutting.
Rounded Rectangle: Vinyl Cutting.
Rounded Rectangle: Lithophanes.
Rounded Rectangle: Engraving.
Rounded Rectangle: Making a Vinyl Cutter.
Rounded Rectangle: Soft & Hard Issues.
Rounded Rectangle: Micro Stepping.
Rounded Rectangle: Bob the Mill.
Rounded Rectangle: Making Printed Circuits.
Rounded Rectangle: Making a 4th Axis.
Rounded Rectangle: Tool Position Setting.
Rounded Rectangle: Low Power Lasers.
Rounded Rectangle: Gallery.
Rounded Rectangle: Related Links.
Rounded Rectangle: Site Map.
Rounded Rectangle: Sam.
Rounded Rectangle: Optic.
Rounded Rectangle: The X Files.
Rounded Rectangle: Bertie.
Rounded Rectangle: The Rover Jet Engine.

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