Disabled beginner wanting to build CNC Machine

Hi,
First of all my apologies if this is in the wrong forum or is inappropriate or too vauge.

I've been looking around for something to occupy my time as i am disabled, suffering from early onset Parkinson's disease. I was diagnosed at 50 yrs old, I'm now 57, and find it increasingly difficult to do physical things but i need to do something to occupy my mind.

I've come up with the idea of building a CNC Machine that i can use to cut gear wheels out of wood, so that i can try to make wooden clocks and if they're good enough,sell them at craft fairs to make a few pounds. This will hopefully keep me busy and get me out of the house at weekends.

Before I gave up work I was a computer programmer so I don't think the programming side will be too difficult for me but the electronics/mechanical side may pose some problems, but i have plenty of time on my hands so I should be able to figure things out.

There are a few projects on the internet but before I go down the wrong road could anyone point me to an existing project that has already been done and is quite straightforward, or at least give me some suggestions as to where to look for decent information.

Unfortunately I have limited funds as I am not working anymore (time I have plenty of!), so please keep in mind I'm on a low budget so i envisage building my own frame and gantry.

Do you think this is a feasible project for someone with limited experience?

Thanks in advance

Derek Jones

That would be a great deal of work and $.
You better make sure there is a demand and the selling price would be attractive.
Maybe making an unique electronic clock would be better.

Hi,
Thanks for the reply.

I don't mind it being a lot of work as I have plenty of time on my hands, and the clocks don't really need to make me money - I just thought it's a way of keeping myself occupied with a useful end result.

When you say it would be a lot of $ how much do you think a realistic price would be ?( $200,$400 or more)

Derek

Your lots of time will be eaten up.

You would need something like a trimmer router.
Carbide bits.
Three stepping motors.
X, Y and Z feed screws.
Backlash nuts.
Platform hardware.
Stepper motor drivers.
Possibly a drawing program similar to AutoCAD
CAD TO CAM program
Then write code to send CAM to the steppers.
I am tired already :wink:

Search YouTube to see what others have done.
.

A CNC machine to make wooden clocks will cost you US$1000 or more.
Buying it in parts will cost the same, but more spread out with a lot of hidden costs.
My 4060 machine ended up costing US$2500 with the software I had to buy to end the frustrations of freeware.
If you're good with Linux, try an old PC and LinuxCNC.
PC CNC boards are cheap on ebay.
Leo..

Sorry, I should have looked on YouTube first as NYC CNC seem to do what i want.

Thanks for your help.

Derek

And you will need a good vacuum to get aaalll that wood dust.

Good luck.

.

http://thelittlebox.co/theshop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=57

microslice tiny laser

you can mark some things.
need more power to cut thiungs
more power to etch other things.

can be made at home, or buy kits

For the electronics, you could read up on GRBL here .....

I've used the "clone" units on Ebay without any problem (to keep your costs down)

you can make a home brew CNC pretty low cost.
depends on your wants and sourcing parts.

round rails (silver steel?) and nylon bushings are a fraction of the cost of linear slides.
threaded rod is dirt cheap compared to ball screws.

steppers and coupling are the harder parts to get cheap

"Gears on the outside" wooden clocks can be very easily made with a laser cutter cutting plywood. 3mm plywood is very easy to cut on a machine around the $5k mark. I've seen lots of very artistic uses of those machines.

A homebuilt laser cutter using the laser out of a DVD player can cut paper and it can inscribe wood without cutting it. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything in between those two extremes. It's not as cool as 3D printing so there aren't a lot of manufacturers competing at the $2k price point.

Maybe check out a makerspace nearby? They can afford a proper laser cutter and you can get experience in what works for you. Then you can think about how you would design your own.

I've come up with the idea of building a CNC Machine that i can use to cut gear wheels out of wood, so that i can try to make wooden clocks and if they're good enough,sell them at craft fairs to make a few pounds. This will hopefully keep me busy and get me out of the house at weekends.

If I were you, I'd start with a laser cutter. There have been a number of robotic arms and similar projects posted in the form that used wooden parts. You might start a small business cutting the wooden parts and selling them on line as not many people have laser cutters. You could also do custom work as requested. There are persons on youtube that sell programs that computer generate the gear patterns such that they properly mesh. Below is an example of a wooden project.

Have a look around the forums at CNCZone.com.

They even have a section specifically for DIY CNC woodworking machines. http://www.cnczone.com/forums/diy-cnc-router-table-machines/

I'm not convinced that "building a CNC Machine that i can use to cut gear wheels out of wood, so that i can try to make wooden clocks" makes sense. (or substitute any other parts and any other hobby)

After the CNC machine is made the real hard work will be preparing the CAD drawings.

And if you have the CAD drawings there are dozens of businesses that will cut the parts for you if you email them the drawings. Indeed I think some of the businesses can do it from sketches (the pen and ink type). And they have all the safety stuff.

Build a CNC machine if you want the challenge of building a CNC machine.

Get someone else to cut the parts if your primary interest is building clocks.

...R

I disagree what

Robin2:
I’m not convinced that “building a CNC Machine that i can use to cut gear wheels out of wood, so that i can try to make wooden clocks” makes sense. (or substitute any other parts and any other hobby)

I’m not convinced that “building a making circuits that i can use to measure and control stuff, so that i can try to make neat things” makes sense. AGREED !!!

after all, you can buy almost anything from china for $1

you can buy a PLC for under $100, free software and get stuff done.

yet you can see how large this community is .

people making things in craft fairs is a HUGE business. HUGE.

laser engraved keychains and dog tags and coffee mugs
wooden clock gears, door handles. those things at the corners of doors at the trim…
if you start to make stuff, and find the right crowd, you will find buyers.
the biggest problem is finding the right people to sell to.

the OP did not say he was looking to make a career, only a hobby.

and the OP said he has huge amounts of time.
the perfect match to made drawings for the CNC machine.
besides, once you are good at making the drawings, you can make one while the machine is busy making sawdust.

based on the OP’s post, this is a good fit.

I believe that once you make a drawing, and a device, you can duplicate it over and over.

also, a marble making machine, from a simple spiral, to a 3 meter cube of a display, is something that is of interest.
probably too late to make them for this years christmas season,but the whole idea of the product that others wants is possible.

you can make panels for barbie houses, simple stuff, but stuff you CAN make and people will buy.

Dave, perhaps I did not make it clear enough that I was trying to make a point about building a CNC machine just because you want the parts that it could create.

Building a CNC machine is fun. Using it may also be fun (I would be more interested in the building)

But if you only want parts there seems little point taking the trouble to make your own machine when you can probably get the same thing done better and cheaper on a professional $30,000 machine. And you don't lose any of the artistic / creative pleasure involved in creating the designs for the parts.

The same is true IMHO about building vs buying electronic circuits.

The OP said he has limited funds. Maybe they would be better spent getting someone else to cut parts rather than being invested in his own CNC machine.

This is a choice for the OP. I just wanted to widen the range of options.

...R

if I were to make another CNC machine.....
simpe table top unit. X and Y, nothing special.
dremel for a drill
Z would be about 1 inch travel.

use a vacuum with HEPA filter.... actually I dumpster dive for vacuums people throw away. often in great shape.
exhaust outside !!!! important !

make a super simple table that concentrates on X and Y, but uses silver steel to guide and a roller under table at the Z plane to support the materials.

the express use would be to drill holes for PCBs

should be able to make for well under $100.

lots of hobbyiests can etch, but drilling those rows of holes for a DIP chip is hard to get straight.

Robin2:
Dave, perhaps I did not make it clear enough that I was trying to make a point about building a CNC machine just because you want the parts that it could create.

Building a CNC machine is fun. Using it may also be fun (I would be more interested in the building)

But if you only want parts there seems little point taking the trouble to make your own machine when you can probably get the same thing done better and cheaper on a professional $30,000 machine. And you don't lose any of the artistic / creative pleasure involved in creating the designs for the parts.

The same is true IMHO about building vs buying electronic circuits.

The OP said he has limited funds. Maybe they would be better spent getting someone else to cut parts rather than being invested in his own CNC machine.

This is a choice for the OP. I just wanted to widen the range of options.

...R

you said to substitute any hobby. : )
much of what people make here are easier to do by a simple PLC and ordering parts.
Also, there is something to be said about putting that blank piece of wood into the machine and getting out something you made. just like wireing up an LED and getting it to fade.

I did a CNC machine for my senior project in college (electronic engineering technology).

I found some bearings from American Science and Surplus and built a X-Y table. Then a pair of big stepper motors from dot matrix printers to move it. I coupled threaded rod to the stepper shaft and just ran it through a nut bolted to the table. So then you take the number of pulses per 360degrees for the stepper times the number of threads per inch of the rod and you have your resolution.

I then used a third stepper setup the same way to raise and lower a head with a dremel with a router bit. The control was an old IBM PC I got for $5 (I did this in 1995) and the motor drivers were IRF511 MOSFEST radio shack sold. I probably had less than $200 in the whole thing.

dave-in-nj:
you said to substitute any hobby. : )

Ohh - forget about it. I never intended to start an argument. I just wanted the OP to think about his options.

...R