The primary purpose of this blog is to document specific technical projects that I will have a go at. First up is an attempt at building a low cost but precise CNC milling machine. I will follow the design by Tom McWire shown here: Easy to Build Desk Top 3 Axis CNC Milling Machine.

So now you are wondering, why bother if how to build this machine has been described on the internet already? Because my aim is reproduceability and accuracy. The problem right now is that if two seperate people decide to each build a machine from the instructions, they will end up with slightly different machines that perform differently. For example the dimensions of the machine and which stepper motors used are missing. I want a set of instructions that people can follow to yield predictable results.

Also missing is a description of the kind of accuracy that can be expected. At this point I am not sure if this machine can generate an accuracy good enough for my needs. Hopefully it will. If I can figure out what design decisions to make to achieve the accuracy I need, and document them, then other people will know up front exactly what they need to do to also get the same accuracy. My aim is to be able to engrave commemorative coins. These coins have a small area where a name can be placed, and this will require precision.

I hope to also make some minor improvements here and there, and it might involve a few iterations before the machine works well enough. One of Tom McWire’s aims was to build it in less than $200. I also have the same aim, but if a situation arises where I can spend a few dollars more to increase precision then I will do it. For example I won’t be getting old motors from printers because they are all different and someone else cannot then come along and follow my instructions to get the same machine. Instead the specifications of the motors I use must be known.

CNC Milling Machine
(picture from Easy to Build Desk Top 3 Axis CNC Milling Machine)