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Plastic Monstrosity -- The 3D Printed CNC for 4x8' Plywood

by spiffcow Aug 6, 2017
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What are the advantages of PETG vs PLA for the parts. I was planning on printing most of the parts with PLA and the gantries in PETG.

I'm starting to build this out and curious on something, what is everyone using for stepper drivers? I've read that NEMA23's should run on a external stepper, or would a TMC2100 suffice.

Hi there .. I'm wondering wheter a conduit of 50mm x 2,0mm could be used? we dont have the 2" version in Europe? Thank you in advance for your swift reply. Boris

Hi, i love this build and i was about to start and build a lowrider this just seems a better option. Due to my printer not being big enough to print the parts i am going to upgrade. While i am in the process of upgrading is it worth trying to build this out of ABS or is that a not starter.

Many thanks

What is the diameter of the pipe on the axis of Y. Pipe stainless steel or aluminum?

EMT 2" conduit is 2-3/16" OD. Generally, its galvanized steel.

Comments deleted.

Did somebody try to use a control with backlash compensation?

My machine has about 0,25mm backslash. I think it is because of belt stretch in combination with the rolling resistance of the V-wheels.
I just ordered a breakoutboard and an old office PC (only 10€+35€) to use LinuxCNC with backlash compensation. I hope to push the accuracy under +-0.1mm when using the right finishing strategy.

Use return pulleys instead of the bearings! This improves the reliability and also the accuracy. The best improvement i made so far.

They are as cheap as the bearings...

I'm not sure what you mean.. Can you post a link/pic?

Hi Spiffcow, Do you have the lower X axis part for the Gigantic Bastard CNC? I downloaded the file but the X axis lower parts are missing. This will be a lot easier and cheap for me to upgrade the Lowrider 2. Can you upload the missing part?



I'm not sure what you mean.. Gigantic Bastard is just a few modifications to combine a Root2 and a MPCNC.. If you're talking about the sliding pieces, they should be on the MPCNC page.

Hi, I current running a Lowrider 2 from V1 and will swap out the parts for this build. I like this setup better, it looks a lot more rigid and way better then the wheels running along the side as the Lowrider 2 is setup. Is there an assembly guide available some where or a lot of pictures of the machine components assembled? I can use that as a references to put this together if no instructions are available.

Can you modify it to accept a Nema 17 instead of the 23?

Great setup and design!


As for the instructions.. I'm sorry to say that it's been too long for me to remember a detailed set of instructions. At one time I had planned to re-build it and record the instructions, but at this point I just don't have the time. Your best bet is to read the comments section, particularly the older comments when my memory was fresher.

I would say that you should not use NEMA 17. If anything, I would go with a high torque NEMA 23. Life is too short for underpowered motors.


As for the instructions.. I'm sorry to say that it's been too long for me to remember a detailed set of instructions. At one time I had planned to re-build it and record the instructions, but at this point I just don't have the time. Your best bet is to read the comments section, particularly the older comments when my memory was fresher.

I would say that you should not use NEMA 17. If anything, I would go with a high torque NEMA 23. Life is too short for underpowered motors.

Comments deleted.

Hi, all : what is the correct or best orientation for printing the gantry (the less impossible overhangs and good adhesion and the less wasted supports) ? can't figure how you found a good one, thanks ?

Use the original orientation!

Great looking design, Im realy interested in building one. I have already built a MPCNC but now i want something bigger. After watching your youtube video it seems very fast compared to the MPCNC. I was curious what speeds you are getting out of this, plunge and cutting?

IIRC I was cutting 5mm depth at 1860mm/min in that video. I think the entire cut took a little under 2 hours.

Thanks, I'm printing the files now.

Hi. I apologize for all the questions. Where do the long axis bearing spacers go? I assembled each side with bolts and bearings and it seems to fit the conduit, albeit pretty tight.

They're for the bearings that the timing belt rides on, which have 5mm diameter openings. You don't need spacers for the bearings that ride along the conduit.

What firmware do you use with this?

Also, do you have any suggestions for how to manipulate the parts to work with 2.000"OD stainless steel tubing?

I don't currently have a 2" OD version, but the conduit is sold as 2" at Home Depot. You could modify the source code and generate a new set for 2" diameter, or put in a request on the github page and wait for me to get around to it (probably won't be any time soon though -- sorry, lots of other stuff going on right now)

If you use a good finishing operation you will be able to get well under 0.5mm tolerance

Great job! I was tempted to try with a diy router like this and your design is convinced me.
I want it to cut plywood too, so, after your experience using it, can you confirm that have enough power and consistency to obtain milimetric precision?
Thank you and congratulations for your work, is amazing!

Thanks! You should be able to get +/- 0.5mm tolerance as long as you build it carefully and calibrate it afterward.

Hi! I was working in it this month and I have now full finished all mechanical parts of the machine. I'm really thankfull to design work, I apreciate many details and really I'm impressed with your work.
Now I have at 50% the configurations, I install a MKS TFT32 istead of a PC to handle the gcodes and I modify the location of router rpm potentiometer and I/O button to handle it from control box too. All the machine chassis is made in welded steel.
All Axis are working well and without looseness but now I have arrived to the dificultest stage. How do you solve the dual axis Y configuration in smoothieware? I'm looking your config file but I don't locate any mention to dual axis or using extruder pins as another Y axis... I find a solution from other user here https://github.com/MZachmann/Smoothie_Dual but I would like to know which was the solution you found! External driver to divide the Y signal? or only by configuration? And a last question, are you using CNC firmware or normal?Thanks M8!

I'm sharing my progress here

Plastic Monstrosity -- The 3D Printed CNC for 4x8' Plywood

If you are using the MKS Sbase board it has a hardware jumper you can clone any output to another, i just made a little jumper cable and put it between X and E0.

Oh that looks easyest way! Thanks . Can you show me more about how connect it? Or where can I find some documentation about that?¿I don't find nothing
I have another doubt about steppers, the integrated drivers supports 2A current and nema 23 are around 3A... I made some tryes and they move but is not posible to burn the drivers or something in the long run?

I used the jumper method as well. The SBase has DRV8825 drivers that are unlocked to 2.5A, which might be enough for your steppers. I have 269 oz. in. NEMA 23 steppers that are rated at 2.7A, and they work fine, but this is certainly an area you can experiment with. IIRC there are some 400+ oz. in., 1.8A low current steppers that are relatively easy to find. Alternatively, you could with external steppers and get most any stepper you want. I suppose you could even modify the source and switch to a NEMA 34 stepper if you really want to ;)

ThankS! Finally I try the jumper method and that looks well working so I only need to finalize step calibration and some details more.
For the moment I continue with same nema 23 if that explodes I'll try with next ones LOL

Comments deleted.

How do you tighten the small screws for the x axis alignement?

You should have a M3 nut inside the nut trap on the bottom of the carriage pieces perpendicular to the M5 bolt. This should allow you to tighten the wheels.

Sry, i mean the the wheels for the z axis. I think it is the same system as on the x axis but there is no room for a tool. I use the Makita router.

Ah, yeah that one is a bit more difficult. So there are still corresponding nut traps, and you should be using ~6mm long "headless" set screws. Tighten it down a bit while it's not in the c beam channel to make sure nothing is going to fall out, then as you lower it into the c beam channel, use the short side of the allen wrench to tighten it down.

This is one part where in retrospect I really wish I had used the OpenBuilds plate instead. I think it's somewhere around $25-30 for the plate and a couple eccentric spacers. If you're planning to order parts from them, I think it would be a worthwhile improvement.

I assembled the X and Y Axis today and I was not Happy with it. My printed parts are not accurate enough to get it work properly.

So i ordered some OpenBuild parts to replace the critical parts.

1x Gantry Plate
2x Gantry Plate - XLarge (replacing the ShortAxisPlate-front and ShortAxisPlate-back)
1x Motor Mount Plate
and some cheap Aluminium Spacers.

I will share my experience....

I used the OpenBuilds plates and i am very pleased with this solution.

That's really cool!! What did you use for the motor stand off on the X axis?

I used:

  • One "C-Beam® Gantry Plate" for the Z-axis. (I put two big washers under the anti-back-slash nut and drill the holes of the BottomEndCap and the TopEndCap a little bit bigger, so i was able to aling the screw drive perfectly)

  • Two "C-Beam® Gantry Plate - XLarge" to replace the ShortAxisPlate-front/back (I had to use eccentric spacer nuts on both sides to get enough pressure on the wheels. But try one side first, because you have to make the holes on one side bigger for the eccentric spacers. I used a 6mm Spacer and 3 precision shims between the Wheels. (you have to use the solid V wheels, not the mini V wheels))

  • One "Motor Mount Plate - NEMA 23 Stepper Motor" to mount the motor. (Because of the bigger wheels i will modify the BeltMountShortAxis.)

  • For screws with t nuts to mount the CBeam to the GantryPlateXL

I just printed all parts, therefore i will use them. But i am sure that i will upgrade to the OpenBuild plates and some metal spacers later.

I got my Wheels today, so hopefully i can move all three axis tomorrow :)

I am thinking about using a longer C profile for the Z axis to increase the usable z height, perhaps with a modified router mount. What do you think about it?

I just finished pre-assembling the other axis.

Yeah, there's nothing special about the Z axis other than it's 3D printed. Using a different OpenBuilds mount would probably be the most expedient way to do it, but there's lots of ways you could improve on it.

Do you use the full length (250mm) of the C Beam or do you cut something away?

Mine is a little shorter I think.. I don't remember the exact length offhand, but I actually cut mine from a 1500mm piece of C Beam. Make sure to use the short_axis_plate_v2 file if you're using a longer C Beam, as the first one had an indent that would prevent you from moving it above a certain point.


First of all, I'd like to say, AMAZING job! wow, I'm impressed. I have ordered everything I need, it should all be here by the end of this week, or early next week. I do have one question about the gantry. I bought the VFD spindle, and the description says it is 70mm brush. and in your files, I do not see a 70mm option. I see the 80mm, is that the one I need to download for the VFD spindle? I can't wait to build it, and maybe get rid of my Shapeoko XXL if this CNC can do everything I need it to just as well. Again, great job.

So it looks like they've changed the listing -- it used to be an 80mm round spindle.. I'll have to look into the dimensions on it to try to put together a plate.. Sorry about that. I'll take down that listing

Thank you for the reply. Also, what drag chain are you using for the wiring?

I bought them off AliExpress. I'm honestly not really happy with my wiring, so I would say this is an area to improvise and improve on.. I plan to rewire mine whenever Ican find the time to do it.

I'm not sure how I missed your projects until now. Apparently I stole your ideas - I'm currently in the beginning stages of hacking together a hybrid of your 2 designs using the MPCNC sliders on supported/anchored conduit with a c-beam x-axis. I like your use of 2" conduit here, although I'm a bit less sure of the fully printed gantry assemblies. I'm looking at a 2x4 setup to start with, and depending on how that goes I might look at either building this outright or maybe cherry picking some parts of it probably for a 4x4 (not sure I have room for a full 4x8, but it would be nice)

How long do those gantry pieces take to print? I'd guess that a 0.8 or even 1.0mm nozzle would be needed to get through them in reasonable time. I just got my Monoprice Ultimate and haven't tried tuning/optimizing, but just the MPCNC sliders are taking 12+ hours each.

I'm not an OpenScad expert by any stretch, but I have used it and have a background in programming. I'm planning/hoping to take a look at your files on GitHub and see if I can orient myself around them.

So I used a 0.5mm nozzle and I believe I got it down to around 11 hours with 3 perimeters.. I just looked up the Monoprice Ultimate, and it looks like a heck of a printer for the price.. Even with a 0.4mm nozzle you should be able to get it done in 14 hours or so, with the right settings.

On print settings, be aggressive with your speeds. I typically print PETG at 80mm/s for infill, 60mm/s for perimeters, with a layer height somewhere around 70% of the nozzle size. You'll need to user higher temperatures to accomplish this -- I typically print PETG at 255 *C.

Can't wait to see what you come up with! There's certainly room for improvement here, and I mainly avoided splitting the top and bottom because it was going to be a lot of effort.. But I've been thinking that using a piece of 20x40mm extrusion in between the top and bottom of the gantry pieces could be really effective.

And I can't say it enough, but I apologize for bad OpenSCAD code.. I was hacking around with it, and didn't put in the effort to make it a maintainable product. As a software engineer, that's pretty embarrassing..

Did someone try to mill a more complex part like an airfoil mold?

Alright everyone, so I have a bit of a dilemma.. I'm willing to open-source the OpenSCAD code for all this, but the code is a mess and I'm honestly pretty embarrassed about it.. But I also don't have the time to fix it up. I'm looking for people who might help me clean up the code so that it doesn't stay in a terrible state and inadvertently serve as a bad example of code for other OpenSCAD developers. If you have the time, expertise, and inclination to help, please PM me.

I just came across your design and can say this is amazing, and you should be proud of this! I am new to 3D printing and OpenSCAD and thingiverse, so I would probably not be of much help. However I do have some experience with CAD/CAM with Fusion360 and FreeCAD. Have you given any thought to posting your OpenSCAD files to Github or is there a github equivalent in Thingirverse?

In Github you might attract a larger audience if people can download your code modify and then make pull requests for you to update. Also, for folks like me more comfortable in the solid modeling work space, it would enable us to convert the OpenSCAD files in FreeCAD to convert to STEP or other solid format.

I do have it up on github, but have been reluctant to link to it because the code needs extensive cleanup/rework.


I have another project on there called ParaShelf that uses the same OpenSCAD -> FreeCAD -> Fusion 360 workflow you mentioned.. Have you found a good way to automate that process?

Cool, having your files on github is a start.

Batch processing OpenSCAD files in FreeCAD is a tough one, since I believe FreeCAD relies on the OpenSCAD binaries for some functions.

I found some snippets of python that batch convert solid files FreeCAD handles natively to STL that worked for me.

import FreeCAD,Part,os
folder = "/home/james"

# Check for filenames that contain .stp, .step, .igs or .iges
cadfiles = []
for f in os.listdir(folder):
for ext in [".stp", ".step", ".igs", ".iges"]:
    if f.lower().endswith(ext):
        cadfiles.append((folder+os.sep+f, ext))

if not cadfiles:
print "No step or iges files found in the given folder"

for f,ext in cadfiles:
s = Part.read(f)
stl = f.replace(ext,'.stl')

But when I played around with the importCSG function with a SCAD file in the FreeCAD Python panel it crashes.

Perhaps a two step approach would work, batch convert SCAD to CSG in OpenSCAD, if possible. Then import CSG files in FreeCAD

import importCSG


I have started collecting parts to make this, super excited! I was wondering if you were going to give more detailed information on the building process? Thanks!

I do plan to provide better instructions at some point, but I don't really have a timeline right now. It will likely coincide with tearing it down and rebuilding with a torsion box frame.

Fair enough, as I try to piece mine together I wouldn't mind taking notes/ pictures to help your process along. I might need some extra help in some spots i can already tell! :) Thanks for this and I look forward to future updates!

That would be awesome! Thanks! And yeah, let me know if you run into a situation where you can't figure out how it's supposed to fit together.

Hello! I'm wanting to get into building a CNC but I've never used one before, what type of software is used with a DIY CNC?

Also, would this CNC cut aluminum plastic composite with a different blade? (The kind that is used in signs)

I typically use Fusion360 to generate the GCODE instructions for mine, but there are plenty of options..

As for cutting aluminum.. I wouldn't recommend it with this design. The vibration you'll get trying to cut aluminum really requires having metal plates and preferably supported linear bearings. I know plenty of people do cut aluminum using OpenBuilds parts, but I really don't think the wheels are suitable for that.

I remember seeing some of your posts on the mpcnc forum. How would you compare the rigidity of your machine to the lowrider? I'm looking to start a plywood sheet cnc project and yours looks interesting.

I haven't built a lowrider, but from my experience with the 1" tubing used on it, I think it's just not rigid enough to do any serious cutting.

This design is as solid as you're going to get without spending a ton of money.. I get nice clean cuts at 4mm per pass, 80-100 IPM, which means I can route a full sheet in a reasonable amount of time.

Thanks for the quick answer. I'll be watching this closely, looks great!

What's the usable z height for this design? Also, what is the largest piece size(ie how big a printer do I need)?

The z axis is about 2-3 inches. I think you should be able to print everything on a 200x200mm build area, but I'll have to check

I saw you designed this in OpenSCAD are you willing to share the solid models or export an obj? I use Fusion 360 and it doesn't handle converting all those triangles back to solid models easily. I was hoping to edit the Gantry to use conduit instead of the C beam

I still haven't decided on the licensing model for it.. For now it will stay as open-content, but I might choose to release under GPL at some point.

I would caution against using conduit instead of C Beam for a number of very good reasons:

1.) If you used conduit for the short axis, you would need 2 pieces of conduit. This means that you would need a very rigid structure on the outside of the conduit pieces to form a box, otherwise your gantry will twist. The main reason my design is so rigid while using plastic is that the short axis is a single piece, meaning that it forms its own box structure, and the plastic acts primarily as a binding agent. Once you start using plastic for rigidity you're going to see poor performance, as is evident in a number of popular plastic CNC designs.

2.) I've done the rigidity calculations for conduit vs C Beam. Conduit does not fare well. It's heavier, round, and has thin walls. These are all serious marks against it. The reason I use conduit for the long axis is because I'm able to support it every 16" or so, making the deflection a non-issue.

3.) C Beam is cheap. Seriously, it's $40 on the OpenBuilds website, with $5 shipping. For an unsupported axis on a hobby CNC that isn't cutting metal, there's no better deal out there.

I know these probably aren't the answers you want, but I speak from experience... I built 2 designs I found on Thingiverse before I became fed up. At that point I did a bunch of research on the actual design principals before taking on the challenge of designing a plastic CNC. If you're intent on designing your own, I recommend taking a look at CNC Router Source, as they have excellent information regarding why some designs work better than others, and explain the trade-offs of different designs. A few calculations up-front will save you a lot of effort down the road :)

--- EDIT ---
I just saw that you're asking for Fusion360 files, not source files. I'll see what I can do on that front. I still would advise you against using conduit for the unsupported axis, however.


I think there something wrong with your price list because from your link the price for C beam linear rail is $159.45 for 1500 mm and $31.26 for 250 mm.

Best regards.

Thanks for that reply. I understand what you're saying about the rigidity.

I have some 1.5"x 1.5" 8020 laying around so I thought about using that for a center between the conduit and tie them together. I was just trying to have to order minimal stuff. I figured out how to split the gantry pieces to preserve the roller element so I still may give it a shot. Given your solution to mounting the conduit with the standoffs I can bolt them both to 8020. Given I have little invested it might be worth a try. If it fails I can reprint some pieces and order the C beam.

Ah.. Yeah, that might work then. Please let me know how it works out, and let me know if you still need the parts in a different format.

I'm thinking of printing in Nylon (at least the parts that slide). Do you think that would be a good alternative to PLA or PETG?

So nothing slides directly, it all runs on wheels and bearings..

Take my advice as someone who spent 6 months trying to get sliding nylon bushings to work well on a 3D printer -- don't go down that route. Nylon is a huge pain to print (it warps like crazy), and it's not really necessary here. It's also too soft for a CNC router, and will result in more shaking. I think it could be done if you're wanting to completely replace the bearings on the long axis for angled bushings, and in fact I think that would be a really cool idea.. But I also don't have the time to do it, and I'm not sure it'd be worth the effort anyhow.

PETG is, IMO, the best material the parts in their current state. Nylon is a fun material to work with and you can really do some amazing things with it, but I don't think it's right for this project.

you should try printing nylon with the heated bed off. i know it sounds weird but my 910 would not stick to glass (would warp up even at 120c) until i just left the heated bed at room temperature. then it printed just fine. 910 doesnt seem to warp and prints really nicely. i could definitely see it being used for some kinda bearing.

It's "okay" for bearings, but not really ideal. You want something like POM, which is more rigid and has a lower friction coefficient. I print inside my house and don't want to deal with the toxic fumes of POM printing, but I bet some amazing things could be made with it.

Thats pretty cool man!! Im in the mist of building my own CNC router. We have alot of the same ideas... I was kindof afraid that belts wouldnt be strong enough to drive the Y axis! This gives me hope!

Thanks! And yeah, belts are just fine. I recommend wide belts if you can get them.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Can you post some videos of it in use? Im liking the simplicity of the build and may go for it.

You actually happened to catch me in the middle of a job :) Here's a bit of it cutting a halftone image:


Comments deleted.

Can you also explain the parts that are marked as 60.3mm ?


Those were added by request based on a builder's available hardware (I think he was from New Zealand, but I could be wrong). If you have a Home Depot near you, avoid the 60.3mm pars.

What are the print specs for these parts?

PLA for dimension accuracy, 3 perimeters for through hole strength. I have a .4mm nozzle and print at .26mm layer height, just personal preference. I do print slow for strength 35mm/s, so your prints could be faster. Infill 55%

I used a 0.5mm nozzle, printing PETG at 255C with 3 perimeters and 4 top/bottom layers. There's a trade-off to be made on PETG vs PLA.. PLA will be more rigid, but also typically more brittle and will tend to biodegrade over time (especially in a hot garage). I think it should probably work with the settings you're using, but you might need to reprint at some point down the line.

Where do you get the aluminum for this build and what size is needed? I am debating between the Vicious1 LowRider or this one..... How easy is it to get setup software wise?

Software setup should be relatively similar.. You can probably use his guide on software with this build and have no problems. The electronics aspect is probably the scariest part getting started. I prefer the MKS Sbase (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0769783FM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0769783FM&linkCode=as2&tag=spiffco-20&linkId=35acf3958985cc6474e745f77e79ca1b) because it accepts GRBL commands and has 2.5A drivers with the ability to set the driver current in software.. But an arduino solution would work just as well, assuming you use drivers that can handle at least 2.5A.

Can you use Ramps 1.4 ?

Wich Software do you use to create the G-Code?

Typically Fusion 360.. I'm not extremely happy with it though. I'm hoping the FreeCAD CAM module keeps progressing to a point where it's usable.

This is freaking huge - great project and good work :)

I am gathering stuff for my own project - similar approach, but a little bit smaller. I am definitely inspired with your technical solutions.

Thanks! Can't wait to see what you create :)

do you have a rundown of how many of each part is supposed to be printed? thank you

Sorry, I meant to get back to you on this a long time ago. Assuming that you have 2" conduit from Home Depot and a normal-length shaft on your NEMA 23, you will need:

  • 4x beltMount.stl
  • 8x longAxisBearingSpacer.stl
  • 4x longAxisFullLengthSpacer.stl
  • 1x shortAxisPlate-front.stl
  • 1x shortAxisPlate-back.stl
  • 1x bottomEndcap.stl
  • 1x topEndcap.stl
  • 1x shortAxisSpacers-shortMotorShaft.stl
  • 1x beltMountShortAxis-shortMotorShaft.stl
  • 1x guardPlate.stl
  • 1x Gantry.stl
  • 1x Gantry-reversed.stl
  • 6-10 ConduitUndersideBase.stl (depending on how many supports you use -- I chose 10)
  • 2x jig.stl (for aligning conduit screw holes)
  • 1x Z axis of your choice, depending on which router/spindle you use (makita.stl, dwp611.stl, zAxis-52mm-spindle.stl, or zAxis-80mm-spindle.stl)

Fist of all, nice job! I am printing the fist parts right now.

I need 12 of this v wheels, right? They are even more expensive here in Germany.... :(
You use normal bearings on the Gantry?

What do you think about using PLA? It have a higher elastic modulus...

It is 12 wheel kits. Sorry for the confusion

I think you only need 8 wheel kits, but I'll double check today. They're a lot cheaper on AliExpress, but the quality isn't as good. Make sure and get the polycarbonate ones!

The other bearings are normal 625 and 608 bearings.

I don't know about using PLA.. I've heard the higher grade PLA is as strong as PETG, so that would probably be okay. I would worry more about cracking over time though -- PLA tends to break down over time and in hot or cold weather conditions.

--- correction ---
I initially stated it was 8 wheel kits. It should be 12 wheel kits

do you have a rundown of how many of each part is supposed to be printed? thank you

could you make a spindle mount for a 80 mm spindle?

Sorry for the long wait. I have added the 80mm spindle Z axis.

Hello Spiffcow,
I'm trying to fill in the blanks for me.
Can you tell me what Controller, Stepper Motor Driver, and Power Supply are you using?
For the high torque NEMA 23 motors are they the ones from OpenBuilds or did you go with something else?
Got any pics showing the Z axis assembly with anti backlash nut and are you using V-Wheels inside the Z axis to keep is in place?
Got a pic showing how your keeping the wires behind the X-Axis? I kind of see a drag chain back there in two of the photos.
Finally how many teeth are on your GT2 Pulleys?
Thanks I know a lot of questions but I believe that's everything

Sorry for the late reply.. I'll try to get some more pics in tonight, and explain what I can now.. I plan on putting up a BOM and some product links within the next week -- the whole "Amazon Partner" link thing seems like a decent way to help pay for my hobby without turning into a salesman or a beggar ;)

I'm using a MKS Sbase 1.3, which is a Smoothieboard clone with overclocked DRV-8825 drivers and a generic 24V PSU. I chose this mainly for ease of configuration (setting current in software FTW!), price (about $65), and familiarity (I already have one for my 3D printer and am somewhat familiar with its quirks). I don't think this aspect is terrribly crucial though -- another good option would be a GRBL board, which would cost even less and might be more suited to the task.

I got mine off eBay.. I think I paid somewhere around $90 for a set of 3x 269 oz. in. steppers. Crucial for me was the fact that they're rated for 2.8A, and my drivers can only barely push that high. I wouldn't get anything lower that 269 oz. in. though, as my 129 oz. in. steppers were not able to handle the load without skipping.

Z axis:
I'll post pics tonight.. I'm using V wheels inside, with set screws (rather than eccentric spacers) to tension them in place. This is one aspect that probably deserves a video tutorial, or at least a few diagrams.

Wiring on X axis:
Yep, that's a drag chain. I think it was 15x30mm and about 1.5m long, but I'll have to check. I have it running along the inside of the C Beam channel. It works fairly well, but I think I might just add a drag chain holder at some point, as I don't really like how it looks.

GT2 pulleys: 20 teeth, 6.35mm bore. Make sure the bore matches your steppers though.

I'll try to get the pics up tonight, and I hope this helps!

Thankyou this helps tremendously. Ill start collecting and printing parts. I have an x-carve which is great but I always found myself needed that extra few inches of cutting. Even after expanding my X-Carve 1000mm x 1800mm I ran into the same issue I had a need to cut another 2-3 inches beyond the machines ability. What you've done is the holy grail a full sheet of plywood. Thanks Again.

Happy to be of assistance :) Please let me know how it goes! I'm curious to hear how it handles compared to the X-Carve.

Can you give some detail on the Z axis? In particular how the 4 bearings are mounted and exactly which bearings you used. I have tried 2 different sets of 625 bearings and I see no way they could fit. TIA!

Okay, I've added a few pics for the updated short axis belts.. I hope it helps. Basically use the beltMountShortAxis_shortMotorShaft.stl files to mount the belts, and shortAxisSpacers_shortMotorShaft.stl for the spacers. You might need to sand 0.5mm or so off of the bottom of the long spacers to make them fit.

Also, make sure to use thread locker compound on all your set screws for the pulleys and the Z axis lead screw.

Please let me know if I missed the mark about the issue you're having.. I have the feeling I might have misunderstood the question..

I assume you mean the carriage (short axis that carries the Z axis).. I just realized the pics are out of date for the carriage belt (sorry about that!).. I'll update later today with some pics

Is it possible to make the gantry files into 2 files, top and bottom? Something with mating surfaces that can be bolted together? I have tried to print these, 3 rolls of filament so far, and I just cant get 2 that are usable.

I have updated the print direction for the gantry pieces, if you want to try them. If you do, remember to use supports as well.

Sorry, I was away for a while. I will give them a try when more filament comes in. lol Thank You!

No prob, I hope it works for you this time :)

That sucks... How are you playing it? It should be plated with back part on the bottom, and with aggressive supports. I'll try to go through and update all the stls to their correct plating position today..

I hate using supports and apologize for the complexity of this piece. Iinitially planned on making it 2 separate pieces, but had trouble separating them. I'll try to have something in the next revision, but I'm not sure how long it'll be.

What are the outer dimensions of the table?

5.5ft by 9ft, about 4 ft tall

Is there a build log and/or a spreadsheet on how many of each item needs to be printed coming?

There's a preliminary list of materials in the comments, but I don't have an 'offical' one right now.. I'm thinking of building another one bit smaller so I can do a proper build guide as well.. But for the moment I'm happy to answer questions.

I'll try to get a list of everything this next week.

I bought 2" conduits. They measure about 2 and 3/16" OD which gantry .stl files do I print? Also the 1500mm C beam. Is it mounted with the open side of the C facing the rear? There's not a picture of the back I just want to make sure I order the right one. Thanks

The channel goes in the back. I put a drag chain in the channel to help with wire management.

The conduit I used is 2.197" OD. There's a bit of wiggle room, so 2 3/16 is probably okay. Here's the kind I used:


Right. So print the Gantry.stl set not the Gantry_60.3mm.stl ?

Yep. Gantry.stl and Gantry-Reversed.stl

Thanks. Started the table while parts are printing and others on order

How thick of a material have you tested cncing?

3/4" plywood in 4 passes.. I think it could cut quite a bit deeper though

This Looks AWESOME!! By the way, what type of bearings did you use to move the Z axis on the Gantry/(C Beam) ? It looks like their coated with something clear?


The wheels that run along the C Beam are polycarbonate mini v wheels. They're expensive on the OpenBuilds parts store, but you can get them pretty cheap on AliExpress

The bottom of the aluminum vertical plate for the Z lead screw. That seems really low. Like it is skimming along the surface behind the router. Is that correct in the pictures? Thanks. Awesome build btw. Exactly what I'm looking for.

It works but I plan on removing the excess at some point..

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Dude. I mean, Dude! I mean duuuuuuuuuuuddddeeeee! You are the man (or woman)!

Nice work :)

What plastic did you use to print your parts? I'm assuming ABS or PETG.

PETG, 50% infill, 3 perimeters, with high temps and minimal cooling to ensure good layer bonding. I'm guessing you could probably use ABS as well.

Hey Spiffcow,

Nice work very interested in getting going with a build, The dreaded question from a lazy builder like me, do you have a bom available yet. I would like to make sure I all the mechanical parts are available locally in my country.


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Could i please be kept up to date with this build plz

Not yet, but here's what I I can remember -- it should be enough to guage whether you can find the parts..

  • The plastic parts
  • 3x high torque NEMA 23 motors
  • 1x NEMA 17 motor (70 oz. in. or higher)
  • 14x 625 bearings (I'd get more just in case)
  • 14x 608 bearings (again, get more just in case)
  • ~200x 12mm M5 screws
  • ~25x 70mm M5 screws
  • ~30x 30mm M5 screws
  • ~30 25mm M5 screws
  • 1x anti backlash nut block
  • 1x 250mm T8 leadscrew
  • 1x 250mm C beam extrusion
  • 1x 1500mm C beam extrusion
  • 2x 2" 10ft conduit pieces from Home Depot (they're actually a little more than 2", but listed as 2")
  • ~30x 5/16" bolts (or 8mm)
  • 10 meters of 10mm wide steel-reinforced GT2 belts
  • A bunch of lumber and Simpson ties for the table
  • A spindle or router

For the ~30x 5/16" bolts (or 8mm), roughly how long should they be?

You should need 4x that are 2.5" long one more, and 8x that are 1.5" or more.

Awesome thanks a lot,

Sure thing! The easiest way to do that is to check the "Watch" icon.

I'll try to get the files updated this week.. I still haven't posted the holder for the Makita :/

That said, the project is mostly done, and the remaining changes will be pretty minor. It's probably safe to start printing if you're planning to build one.

I will be with yout help like wiring and things

undeniably beautiful...well executed.

How did you go about drilling straight holes for the Y-axis pipes in order to connect the mid-span supports? I really like the idea of supporting the Y-Axis like that for added strength, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around how I would go about drilling the pipes and having the holes come out completely straight.

When I have time to write a guide I can explain it with pictures.. I'm actually kinda proud of this one.

So to drill the holes, I made a jig using a board and 2x of the jig.stl clamps. Once They clamp hard enough to prevent the conduit from moving, I drilled a hole in each of them, then tapped the hole with a M5 tap. I then moved the pipe to the left, put a M5 screw in the left hole to make sure the length was the same, then tightened the clamps and drilled + tapped the conduit in the right hole. I repeated for a total of 5 holes on each piece of conduit, but you can use more or fewer depending on your needs.

Now, that solves the problem of keeping them the same length, but they might not be in the same position on the conduit, or the base they sit against may not be completely flat. To solve this the supports have a channel in them. Put a washer on an M5 screw and thread it loosely (you want it to still be able to move).

Next, assemble the short axis. You need to get the wheels on and get it tightly fitted to the C-Beam. Roll the short axis onto the conduit and place the entire assembly onto your table. Roll the short axis back and forth along the table and get the supports to sit flat against the table. If it doesn't sit flat, loosen the screw a bit and try again. Measure the corners to make sure the diagonals between the corners are the same.

Once you're satisfied with the placement, carefully lift one side and turn it upside down, making sure not to disturb the placement of the supports. Now carefully tighten the screws holding the supports on the conduit to preserve the placement of the supports. Don't worry if the screws are off center, just make sure the supports lay flat against the table. Now do the same to the other side.

After the supports are secured to the conduit, make sure the diagonals are still equal to each other and screw down the supports to the table. If you did this all correctly, the gantry should roll smoothly along the conduit.

Wow, that is extremely creative! Thank you for taking the time to explain that. It took me reading, rereading it several times, and pondering it for a day or so. However, I think I finally figured out the process by piecing it together with a mental picture very slowly.

Hi! The V-Slot Extrusion of X axis is 80x40? Can i use nema 17 in this machine? Thanks

It's an OpenBuilds C-Beam, which is 80mm x40mm but has a channel in one side. I used a NEMA17 for the Z axis, but X and Y require NEMA23

do you have the solidwork file of GANTRY file
I'm considering modify it because I can't get Extruded aluminum I like the tubes of 2" in Y axis and I guess I will design X axis with tubes also but 1" diameter

I used OpenSCAD, so I can't really provide a SolidWorks file (at least not one that would be useful).

If you want I could generate just the gantry portion in whatever size you need, though

so Could you give me the openSCAD file??

At the moment I'm not handing out the source code -- partly because it's embarrassingly poor code that I hacked together with very little thought toward maintenance (doh!), and partly because I don't know what license I want to use for the source code.

The offer still stands for generating the gantry if you want though. Just let me know what size tubing and what kind of cross piece you want to use.

I've been planning on building a CNC for a few years, and I'm almost to the point to take the time to do it. I'm gonna look closely at this!

Oh HELL yeah!!!!!!

Full sheet router...bring it man!!!!!