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Gimbal Made With CNC


On this page, I will show you the Gimbal that I made with my CNC. If you don't know what a Gimbal is, check out this Wikipedia link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimbal

There are several uses for a Gimbal, but this one will eventually evolve into what is called a heliostat. What makes a heliostat special is that it is able to reflect the sun towards a single point. It does this by rotating to follow the sun as it moves through the sky.

Once I've gotten it working, I will add it under "Solar Projects" on the navigation menu.

This is just version one, and I have already changed my mind about the design some.

Hopefully this project might give you some inspiration towards one of your own projects. If nothing else, it's interesting to look at.

Parts List

This Gimbal was made using the following.

Two pieces of 3/4" plywood about 16" x 16"

5/16" threaded rod*

8 nuts

Drywall Screws

* The threaded rod was just what I had available, and I had to cut it down to size with an angle grinder. You might find it easier to just find the appropriate sized bolt.

The Gimbal

Here is the CamBam file if you want to make your own. gimbal.zip

This Gimbal is about 14" x 14" x  1.5" and is made out of 3/4" plywood. You will have to cut this CamBam file out twice because you will need two of everything. Also, this is designed to be cut out with a 1/4" router bit.

Gimbal in CamBam




In the picture below, you can see the parts laid out. Notice how there are grooves cut into the plywood.

Gimbal Pieces


It is starting to come together in the picture below this text. As you can see, there are threaded rods inserted into the grooves. The grooves in the outer ring that are adjacent to the grooves in the center piece of plywood were made slightly larger with a chisel so that the threaded rod would be able to turn easily. The grooves in the center piece of plywood, however, were left alone, and it required a hammer to insert them into it.

Note: The grooves that you see in the top and bottom of the picture should not be made larger with a chisel. Leave them small because they will hold the next set of threaded rods tight while the grooves in the outermost ring will be the ones that are made larger with a chisel. You could always just hold them in with wood glue though if you make a mistake.


I forgot to take pictures while putting the rest of this Gimbal together. It doesn't really matter though because it's pretty easy to figure out. You can see that I added nuts to the threaded rods so that the individual sections of the Gimbal would be held center. You can also see that I added screws to hold the pieces of plywood together.


This picture shows the finished Gimbal. Notice how everything rotates around a single point at the center.

I'm using a 3/4" threaded in the hole at the center to hold it up. Also, it is easiest to see in this picture how the two sets of plywood are sandwiched one on top of the other.

This thing is a lot of fun to play with. It's hard to gather much from the pictures though, so, once I get the motors attached, I will have to add a video of it working.


Here is the link to the Sketchup model.



Home >> CNC Projects Page 2 >> Gimbal Made With CNC