Last summer I hand some free time on my hands and a shiny new mechanical engineering degree to play with. I decided I would challenge my electromechanical self and build a home made CNC machine. In my ignorance I though all I needed was some time, technical know-how and perseverance. It turns out all you need is money, time and the ability to follow plans without making "design improvements" along the way to have a successful CNC machine.
I started out by flashing up the old Google and discovering that there is an amazing number of people out there who have made these before. Notable sites that steered me on my way included:
Having reviewed my options I made the smart choice of picking an simple table to start off with. I purchased the plans from hobbycnc.com as well as a driver board/stepper motor kit. Unfortunately for me during the construction of the base I made a mistake that required a rebuild. At this point I decided that instead of building a smaller table first before moving on to bigger things I should just tackle a larger table strait off the bat. This would have been an acceptable route to take if I returned to the drawing board to evaluate the design I would use. Instead, I just scaled up the small table by about four times and watched as things didn't unfold as I wished they would have.
The building process is recapped in the links below with the final lessons learnt page summing up the shortcomings of the project.