The parts have arrived!



  1. Hi,
    I'm in the search of some info for build a cnc mill from scratch ( i hate to be forced to use the bulky parallel port and a old pc) controlled with arduino and i've just found your blog, very interesting!
    Those pieces for the chassis and mechanical parts are custom made or an actual commercial product?

  2. hi Decagrog,

    The parts in the pictures are a Zen Toolworks CNC kit. If you look for it on Amazon you will find it there. I just built the machin tonight with a friend and you should find a new blog entry on my blog posted tonight showing the results.

    The kit contains the rig itself, the mechanical parts you need plus 3 (used) stepper motors. It does not contain the milling motor, but the Zen Toolworks guy has started selling one that should be appropriate.

    It also does not contain a controller for the steppers. I am in the process of figuring that part out. I have an Arduino Mega and some EasyDriver 4.2 cards that I plan to drive from the Mega.

    I stumbled across a project called grbl which implements gcode on the Arduino and although the author of the code has not yet tested it on an actual machine I plan to give it a go.

    Check it out at: http://grbl.tumblr.com/

  3. Thanks for the info, i've seen your last post, good photoshot and that Zen cnc seems a very good kit for beginner.
    About the controller: the reprap.org project use a Sanguino board (a modified version of arduino) with gcode (i don't know the detail but maybe it worth a look)
    I've seen that the kit come with 3 Nema 17...the EasyDriver isn't a bit to much undersized for drive those motor?

  4. @Decagrog: I was impressed with the Zen Toolworks kit. I hadn't expected the quality to be great at that price, but it seems like a decent machine. When we put it together things aligned nicely. I noticed that when I placed the gantry over the base it had a nice, precise fit.

    (Of course, the PVC was a bit scratched and dusty, and some people have commented on that, but in my opinion that is not important at all. The important part is that it works).

    As for the EasyDrivers being a bit undersized: you may be right. I have not had time to hook things up and run some tests. I have to do that and see how hot they get. If they don't work I'll probably have to check online for a more robust equivalent design. (Any tips?).

    If I get some time this weekend the goal is to hook up each axis one by one, write a test program that lets me run the steppers back and forth a bit and apply some lubricant to the slides an lead screws. It might also be a good idea to just let it run back and forth for a few hours just to see if the EasyDriver boards hold up.

  5. Well if the EasyDriver will not have enough juice a good alternative could be the stepper driver 2.3 used on the reprap.
    It use the Allegro A3982 chip and deliver about 1.5A/phase (it should be right for the nema 17/23).
    There's a kit avaible on the Makerbot shop but actually is sold out...
    Keep in mind that i've never built a cnc, actually just lurked on the web for some good project to start from scratch or with a kit.
    So i'll follow with interest your progress :)

  6. @Decagrog: well, time you got off the fence and built a CNC then :-). If I hadn't gotten the Zen Toolworks kit I would probably have had a look at this:


    quite a bit more expensive, but it does look good.