DIY Micro CNC Milling Machine


Cutting the holes for various shafts to half the depth of one coupler

To help keep me sane during the last year of my PhD, I’ve commenced design and construction of a ‘Micro CNC Milling Machine’ with a working area of slightly larger than an A4 sheet.

The Micro-CNC milling machine

The Micro-CNC milling machine, in repose

Each axis is actuated with an in-line stepper motor attached to a threaded screw and a rotary encoder (the encoders are mainly to detect any stalling in the stepper motors, but also to accurately read micro-steps). Note: the threaded rods and encoders are not attached in this photograph.

Recently, when I visited my parents, I took advantage of my Dad’s tools to construct a number of couplers for the mechanical components. My Dad is a model engineer, so has a workshop equipped with a lathe, milling machine, drill press, and other super-handy tools for building the requisite parts.

Cutting the holes for various shafts to half the depth of one coupler

Cutting the holes for various shafts to half the depth of one coupler, also showing off the fancy back tool post Dad put on the lathe so it’s possible to face the ends of the parts without having to re-tool.

Centering the grub screw holes on the milling machine

Centering the grub screw holes on the milling machine

After hand-tapping the threads for the grub screws, I managed to produce these:

A coupler attached to one of the stepper motors and a threaded rod

A coupler attached to one of the stepper motors and a threaded rod, complete with one of the connectors I intend to use as part of the carriage

This remains a work-in progress… Stay tuned!

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