What is a CNC Machine¶
Computer numerical control (CNC) is code that represents instructions for precise movements to be carried out by machines. This code defines how to automatically create, produce, or transform a virtual object into a real one. A CNC machine is a machine that executes this code. CNC milling is used in many different applications including making metal car parts and aerospace components. There are many types of CNC machines including 3D printers, waterjets, and CNC milling machines.
I decided to build my CNC from scratch. There were many kits available online, but they were all either missing important features or extremely pricey. I was looking for a 3-axis automatic milling machine. Milling is the process of cutting and drilling material into a finished product. An automatic milling machine runs off code with coordinates on where to move at what speed and is able to run without a human operator present. A 3-axis milling machine is the most common type of milling machine and is far more reliable than a 4 or 5 axis machine. For the design, I modified Nikodem Bartnik's 3D printed DIY CNC. I chose this design because it seemed very reliable, space-efficient and incorporated 3D printed parts, however, like many of the kits online it was missing a few important features. To compensate for this, I modified his design to include limit switches, a vacuum system, and a better spindle. Below is a picture of the CNC machine I built.
Future changes and improvements¶
Similar to many of my other projects I am constantly modifying and improving my CNC. Some improvements I plan to make in the future include lengthening the z-axis, creating guards for the linear rails to prevent dust and debris from getting jammed in the rails, and adding a self-leveling z-probe.