This post will be about my first DIY CNC machine. After a lot research I decided I wanted to create my work from home business around making CNC wood products. I looked into buying a Shop-Bot, Thermwood, or CAMaster 4 x 8 machine. I just had a hard time with the price tag. I didn’t want to get into a 20k dollar machine without even knowing what products I was going to create. So, I decided to build it myself. I would then be able to control exactly what parts went into building the machine and tailor it to my specific needs.
After doing a bit more research into DIY machines I chose to build a Joe’s Evo 5 x 9′ machine. Joe just came out with the Evo at that time and it seemed like the best option for what I wanted to do. Plus, the support in his forums was fantastic. You could find answers to everything you needed to know there, directly from other users and Joe himself.
The Evo’s Specs
- A heavily braced 5 x 9′ wood stand
- Porter Cable 7518 router with Precision Bits collets
- Velox 8″ z-slide with 5 start screw
- Nema 34’s on the X, Y and on the Z
- 4-Gecko 203V’s
- 70V 25amp Torridal Power Supply
- PMDX-126 Breakout Board Rev C
- Ethernet Smooth Stepper
- PMDX-134 Driver Main Board
- 5-Fuchs Proximity Switches
- CNC Router Parts 34 Pro Drives for rack and pinion on the x and y
- Extrusion kit from 8020
- 3/4 inch X and Y Plates from Joe
All in, I’m just shy of $10,000 on building this. I bought all the best parts I could afford at the time. The machine still has the original router, after 4 years running. With numerous router brush and bearing changes it’s still running strong.
As for maintenance, I change the spoil board about five times, once a year. I started out with a Nema 23 on the Z slide, swapped that to a Nema 34, and have replaced the bearings on the Z slide a few times. The angle iron top rails have been changed out once. The CNCRouterparts reduction drives have been rebuilt twice. The V groove wheels have just been changed out. That’s about it. After running this machine hard for the last 5 years and making thousands of signs and products with it, I feel the durability of this DIY machine compares to that of a commercial brand.
A big upside to building the machine yourself is you have an intimate relationship with every part. When there’s a funny sound coming from something, you have a good idea where to look, and how to repair it yourself.