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Jan 12, 2010, 04:19 PM
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hawaiianspork226's Avatar
Build Log

CNC router table build

yay for the new forum!

strange timing too, as we (my roomate and i) have set out to build a CNC router table. it will be our first CNC machine.

the specified cutting envelope SHOULD be 24"x48"x5", rack and pinion x and y, leadscrew z with highest speeds around 450ipm, if we ever use that. this machine will be mainly for foam cutting so if we can find a good ratio of RPM to feed rate then we may be able to cut foam really fast; convenient for us as we build mainly in foam.

the rough table is finished but we are still working on the gantry and z carriage. we are currently at a lull in the build while we wait for funding to become available again. in the mean time though there are a few things we can be doing before taking the next big steps, which are:

order the rest of the bearings
order racks and pinions, and z leadscrew / leadnut
choose / buy router and bits
order electronics outfit (if the steppers at skycraft dont fit the description)
choose / get software... still need to learn a lot about that but we will deal with that as it gets closer

im leaving work now. ill take a few pictures of our progress and problems and post them later

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Jan 12, 2010, 06:43 PM
Prop Buster Extraordinaire
philba's Avatar
You probably know this but cnczone has a pretty extensive section of DIY router tables. There are several free designs and lots of variants. Good advice to be had there.
Jan 13, 2010, 11:23 PM
Registered User
theothers's Avatar
Not sure if you are aware but the Phlatprinter was specially designed for cutting sheets of foam. You can check it out at
Jan 14, 2010, 12:52 AM
Do it AGAIN! This time BETTER!
ThermalThief's Avatar

I am on the same mission.

Linear rails from China

1/2" Acme screws from Florida

All received this week.

Table construction starts Friday!

Hobby CNC 3-axis EZ with 305oz steppers
Bobcad v23 for my cad/cam
I have Mach3 for my CNC foam cutter so I'm good there
Hitachi KM12VC Router

Jan 14, 2010, 03:51 PM
Registered User
hawaiianspork226's Avatar
definately heard of the phlatprinter! its on my to do list, believe me! for 2d cutting a limited 3d relief it would be fantastic to have. what i want right now though is the ability to carve whole fuselage halves, wings, tails, cowl plugs, canopy plugs, etc and i need more Z motion than the phlatprinter can give me. as i said before though, i definately still want one eventually... maybe when i get my tax returns...

good luck on your build Ken, are you going to do a build thread too?

heres a few pics of where we are with ours. i took them kinda quickly and while it was off the workbench so the photos arent great. i needed the bench space for a quick build this week. when we get it back up there and working on it ill take progress pictures as we go.

Jan 15, 2010, 09:12 AM
Registered User
this is our z carriage so far. it may end up just a mockup because of the way this "plywood" is behaving. very poor quality plywood. nice veneer finish though. deceptive, dissapointed.
67.0 KB
Have you considered using tempered Masonite? I used to test the stuff and its properties should meet your requirements. I know it's too thin but 1/4 inch stock could be laminated screen side to screen side with a good contact cement.
Jan 15, 2010, 05:07 PM
Registered User
hawaiianspork226's Avatar
maybe... if i could get a strong enough bond out of 2 layers of that stuff to be able to drill and tap for 1/4-20 studs into the ends of it, then theres a solution!

im leaning towards MDF more now though, just b/c its literally around the corner at lowes...

Jan 15, 2010, 10:10 PM
Registered User
A problem I've found with MDF is that you need hardware designed for MDF to make reliable connections.
Jan 16, 2010, 09:22 AM
Registered User
hawaiianspork226's Avatar
not sure i follow... you mean fasteners and such? like the screws are different? ive never really built a whole lot from MDF aside from the typical prefab desk / cabinet type setup. they usually have those cool rotating anchors though; where a slotted peg justting from one part is inserted into the end of another part through a hole, where it meets a circular metallic anchor that has a slot 180degrees around its circumference, which gets turned to "lock" into the peg... is that what you are talking about?

Jan 16, 2010, 12:35 PM
Registered User
Thats the type of hardware I'm talking about but I've found that with hard usage the MDF tends to split away from them.

Another good substitute would be Baltic or Russian Plywood. It is very stable with thin veneers and few voids but tends to be expensive.
Last edited by salty9; Jan 16, 2010 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Addition
Jan 19, 2010, 01:52 PM
Team of ONE....or...Team Me
DeadTom's Avatar
Originally Posted by salty9
A problem I've found with MDF is that you need hardware designed for MDF to make reliable connections.
On my JGRO machine I used regular bolts/nuts and screws to hold it all together, it is alot of work but you first drill the mdf then tap it to the correct size, then you put a little amount of CA glue in to the hole let it cure then re-tap it and you should be ready to go. Just don't overtighten the hardware and you will be fine. I have not had any failures with any of my connections/joints where I have joined the mdf with hardware.
The problem that I have with mdf is that it was not made for this type of abuse and it will start to split at certain points, like at all the adjustment blocks that hold the linear rails and the router mount.
The next machine I build will be a mix of aluminum, steel and stronger linear bearings.
Jan 19, 2010, 05:11 PM
Prop Buster Extraordinaire
philba's Avatar
A number of people are using HDPE for the adjustment blocks. I think that would last pretty well.

If I were to build a JGRO machine, it would mainly be to cut the parts for a joe2006 so longevity isn't super important. I'm still not 100% sure what I'm going to do, though.
Jan 19, 2010, 08:55 PM
Registered User
HDPE cutting boards hold up very well and could be a material source for adjustment blocks.
Jan 20, 2010, 01:02 AM
Team of ONE....or...Team Me
DeadTom's Avatar
I have ordered and recieved from McMaster-Carr a 12" x 24" x "1/2" sheet of HDPE and I have already designed my new router mounts and adjustment blocks for my JGRO and all I need to do is cut them and install them.
HDPE is fairly inexpensive as compared to Delrin and the HDPE cuts really easy, best to mill it when it is colder.
Jan 20, 2010, 08:10 AM
Oh Yeah!
SteveC68's Avatar
This place is a little cheaper than McMaster-Carr for HDPE.


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