My Joe’s CNC

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Here is a brief description of my CNC machine which is based off of Joe’s CNC 2006. On this page, I’ll show you where I found the info for building it and go over some of the specs.



History

My first CNC was based on the design found at www.buildyourcnc.com. While building it, my impatience caused me to make just about every mistake you could imagine. After a lot of effort, I eventually decided it would be easier to start over from scratch rather than try and work out all the problems I was having with it.

The CNC I’m using now is Joe’s CNC 2006, which can be found at cnczone.com. The exact thread is here. Somewhere buried inside that massive thread (which you really should read if your going to build it) there is a link that leads to Joe’s Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo-.com/group/joescnc/ which may be of some help.

Just so you know, Joe’s CNC is designed to be cut out with another CNC. I’d bet that it would be pretty difficult to build without one, but there are people who have successfully done it.

The most complex problem I had while building Joe’s CNC was that my old CNC wasn’t long enough to cut out the bigger pieces. (few hobby CNCs are) I ended up making the long pieces in two or more sections. I would then clamp those sections together on a big 4′ x 8′ piece of MDF and use them as a pattern for a router.

I did finally get it finished though, and it works really well. There are still some things I could do to improve it, but, for now, I’d say it’s done.

The Driver Board and Power Supply

For this CNC, I’m using the Hobby CNC EZ Driver Board Kit from hobbycnc.com. It is the cheapest Driver Board I know of, but you have to solder the components on yourself. It does, however, come with step by step instructions for putting it together. There are also videos on buildyourcnc.com which may offer some insight if you get stuck on either the driver board or the power supply.

I built the power supply from the schematic found in the downloads section of hobbycnc.com. The schematic isn’t in the most obvious spot. Download the zip file by clicking on “How to Modify an AT Computer Power Supply.” Inside, you will find a PDF named “Bow Power Circuit.” That’s the schematic I used.

Hobby CNC recommends which transformer to use for the power supply and where to find it here. The transformer is the power supply’s most expensive part.($60.00 last time I checked) I looked everywhere for a cheaper one, but the only place that even seems to have it is the supplier Hobby CNC recommends

www.alliedelec.com.

Update: I noticed that Probotix carries a power supply which looks like the same one that I’m using. This one is already mostly built, and it is a little bit cheaper, so it’s worth looking into. http://www.probotix.com/power_supplies

Stepper Motors

I bought the stepper motors off of EBay for about $150.00. They came from the seller kelinginc. If you search 3PCS new NEMA 23 Dual Shaft Stepper Motor 425oz-in you should find them. All of the technical specifications are found through kelinginc’s EBay page. (assuming it’s still being sold of course)

The Router

I first started out with a cheap router I got on sale for fifty dollars. It began its life on my old CNC. I used it on my new one for awhile, but the bearings finally gave out on it, so I had to get a new one. It began to sound kind of rough while it was running and the excess heat from the bearing’s friction actually caused the plastic to start melting on the inside. Yikes!

The new router is variable speed one from porter cable, which means I can make it spin slower and cut aluminum with the right router bit. It’s also a lot quieter than my old one. Additionally, it was waaay more expensive than my old one, $200.00. ( ouch impulse buy) Hopefully it will be worth it in the long run because I’m really tired of breaking cheap power tools.

Here is an Amazon link to the router I bought. I really like how quiet it is compared to most other routers. Noise can be an annoying problem with CNCs, especially since they can go for hours at a time.

Lead Screw

At about $110.00 total, the 5 start 2 TPI (turns per inch) lead screws are one of the most expensive parts on my CNC; however, they are also one of the best upgrades you could make. The reason they’re worth the price is because stepper motors are less powerful at higher rpm, which causes them to stall easily.

On my first CNC, I just used a $5.00 threaded rod from the hardware store for lead screws. This rod had 18 TPI which means that the stepper motor had to spin around 18 times to move an axis one inch. My new CNC’s lead screws have only 2 TPI which means the stepper motors only have to spin 2 times to move an axis one inch.

To put it simply, my old CNC could, on a good day, cut at 30 IPM (inches per minute). My new CNC, which uses the exact same stepper motors, power supply, and driver board, can easily cut at 120 IPM with the better lead screws.

I’ve even gotten the Y-axis to travel as fast as 400 IPM at one point, but I have it set at a nice and calm 120 IPM for now.

The Nuts for the Lead Screws

It had already cost me $110.00 to buy two 6′ lead screws, so I wasn’t real keen on spending another $60.00 to buy three nuts, one for each axis. I ended up making my own instead of buying them.

It would take up too much space on this page to show you how I made the lead screw nuts, so I put it in a separate tutorial, How to Make a Lead Screw Nut for a CNC Machine.

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