Archive for the ‘Materials, Tools and Equipment’ Category

Metal Fabrication

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Some of the metal stock from the BOM must be cut to length. The following measurements assume a standard build (no change to axis length):

  • 2 x aluminum angle @ 28.75″ | 730mm (X-axis)
  • 4 x aluminum angle @ 24″ | 610mm (Y-axis)
  • 2 x steel rod @ 9″ | 230mm (Y-axis)
  • 1 x AMCE/trapezoidal @ 9″ | 230mm (Z-axis)

Additional Equipment

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

A robot isn’t much use without a brain. You’ll need a PC with a parallel port to run the DIYLILCNC. Wish you could use USB? So do we, and we researched long and hard before choosing parallel. In a nutshell, parallel will allow you to use an old underpowered PC to keep things cheap. This communication protocol also allows for real-time signalling, which is particularly crucial in an open-loop control system. While you can find USB stepper-control boards out there, they tend to be underpowered for this application.

We’ve kept the PC out of the budget because this type of box can often be had for free. Alternately, you might choose to build your own on the cheap.

Panel Kit

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The gantry panels that make up a DIYLILCNCv2 are made of CNC milled plywood. The thickness of this material is not critical; you can use anything in the neighborhood of .5″/12mm. Plywood with more layers will improve rigidity and increase cost (marginally).

We don’t currently have a source for fabrication, but we hope to offer that service soon. In the meantime, all are welcome to download the CAD files for free. Many universities and cabinetry shops have CNC mills. Prices will vary widely, so do your homework.

Shared Docs: CAD files

Bill of Materials

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

We’re doing our best to support our two main build communities: those working inside and those working outside the United States (bonus cautionary tale). We recommend that both groups use Metric parts wherever possible, though certain Metric items are more expensive and difficult to source in the US. We’ll provide Imperial alternatives for these items (such as the aluminum angle rails), but make sure to note when Imperial substitutions require a different set of matching gantry panels.

Shared Docs: Bill of Materials (BOM)

Recommended Tools

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Many of the tools listed below are recommended. Although you could probably assemble this kit entirely with hand tools (assuming you already had the panels CNC milled), a jigsaw and cordless drill would really help.


  • Horizontal band saw (or hacksaw/miter box)
  • Table saw (or band saw)
  • Drill press (or cordless drill)
  • Brad nailer / 1″ brads (or wood screws)
  • 2 Pony clamps
  • 8mm bolt clearance bit, pilot bits
  • Combo square
  • Soldering iron


  • 4′ x 4′ sheet of 1/2″ plywood (for base)
  • 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/2″ plywood (for gantry, if you CNC the panels yourself)
  • Wood glue
  • Goo gone (for label removal)
  • Solder