Mechanization has made man’s life much easier. There are machines for every activity in human life. Machines are precise and work multiple folds faster than humans. This is why industries rely more on machines these days. This is very true in the case of cutting technology. When it comes to cutting any material such as wood or plastic, a machine can perform faster with the minutest detailing easily.
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, is very useful for people who are involved in crafting or carving materials. CNC is cost-effective and works with maximum precision. This makes sure that you can carve the minutest details to give your output an attractive look. You can design your CNC to cut the hardest metal or even to perform surface engravings. Whatever be the purpose you can design your device accordingly. The components include a router and three stepper motors that provide maximum control in all dimensions.
Building a CNC machine requires a sophisticated workshop with a 3D printer. As a prerequisite, you should determine the purpose for which the CNC machine is to be used. You can start with an existing design. There are open-source websites available that offer free CNC machine designs that have been tried and tested. For a starter, these websites would be of great use to refer and modify to create better machines to meet their needs.
Building your model
The first step is to build a proper 3D model. Before starting, one needs to have a proper design of all the details required to build a CNC machine. You can draw this using software like CAD where you can feed in all the details with maximum precision. This software helps you visualize the working of your CNC machine and also identify any flaws associated with the machine’s designing. Early detection of the machine’s flaws can save time and money that is associated with the building and rebuilding of CNC machines.
Once a visual design is available, the next step is to choose materials for constructing your machine. There are two standard models available that designers opt. The first one is table design. In the case of table design, the rails can move in all 3 dimensions or directions. This is ideal for heavy work, however, the cost involved in construction is also very high. A more compact one is the mill style model, where the bed is just 2 dimensional. It is easy to store and work with and also costs less when compared to the table type designs.
Apart from the basic design, whatever be the model of your CNC, you need wirings to hold all the individual parts in place. Stepper motors are also essential components in CNC machines. Stepper motors are the drivers that ensure the precision in CNC systems. Motors are termed NEMA, along with a number. The number is an indication of the size of the motor used. The next important component is the controller. This is essential for communication between the system and the router.
The information you give on the computer is transferred via these controllers for execution. A controller looks like a motherboard in appearance, that has areas dedicated to movement on each axis i.e.,x,y and z. The next component is the router which forms the execution wing of the CNC set up. The choice of routers is greatly dependent on the purpose. If you are creating a CNC machine just for engraving, then a simple motor of low power should be fine. But in the case of cheap CNC machines that are designed for cutting metals or wood, a powerful router is required. Depending on the power utilised by your router, you can also choose a suitable power supply.
In case of a CNC machine, the router has to travel in all three directions without difficulty. This is where linear actuators come into the picture. These are nothing but simple bearings that help in controlling the motion of your routers on all axes. Alternatives to ball bearings include threaded screws, which is a cost-effective option as well.
Choosing the right working bed is also essential in constructing a CNC machine. The bed must be sturdy and should stay firm while at work. There are several materials you can use for the bed, however, MDF boards are the most preferred ones. Make sure that your CNC boards have clips or clamps to hold your working material in place. The bed shouldn’t be smooth as in case of marble surfaces.
Start designing your CNC machine by identifying your requirements. Almost all elements in a CNC machine has to be chosen only based on the purpose. Once you create your CNC machine, the purpose it serves is countless. You can put in all your creativity to make products of your choice easily within a short span and also with a perfect finish.