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Good CNC Designs
Pictures and comments of good CNC designs.
Roman Black - July 2007 - web Feb 2008.
This is a collection (mainly of pictures) of what I consider to be
good CNC machine designs. Some of these machines are commercial,
some are home-made CNC. I have included some comments.
You may find these designs inspiring if you are considering making
your own CNC machines.
All pictures used without permission! If I have used your picture
and you want it removed from this page then email me and it will be
A very rugged example of a welded steel chassis design, high speed
high power commercial router table. This moving table and fixed bridge
design has great rigidity and only one axis (vert) is mounted on another,
reducing multi axis slop.
A smaller version of the same design principle. Again fantastic rigidity.
Note the Auto tool changer mounted on the rear of the moving Y table!
A very nice commercial moving-table design. Again looks to be built from
welded steel, but this time standard size square steel tubing. A smaller-scale
machine of similar design should be easy for a home-build.
Normally I am not a fan of moving gantry designs for home-built CNC due to
the significant problem of slop in the gantry bearings being amplified
throughout the entire gantry structure. However this one is such a
beautiful example of a small home built moving-gantry CNC design that
I had to include it.
Note the small (size 17) stepper motors and the zen-like simplicity of the
design. The gantry seems to be made of standard 50mm x 10mm aluminium bar stock,
making a simple home build. Faults. A personal hate of mine, it uses
unsupported bearing rails! Possibly getting away with it as the round rails
are quite short due to the small dimensions of the machine. Changing to
supported rails (beam style) would be very easy with their current design
and a major improvement in rigidity.
Here is a nice example of a commerical version of the moving gantry
design. Note the use of fully supported bearing rails. This commercial
version is not quite as rigid as I would like, it could do with more
gantry triangulation to reduce trapezoidal flex. Looks like they chose
to sacrifice some rigidity in order to give a larger vertical axis
movement. For home design i think it's better to have less vertical
travel and a much shorter and more rigid machine.
A very nicely home-built version of the standard X-on-Y mill,
usually called a vertical mill. Like "proper" vertical mills this builder
has tried to counter the problems of X and Y additive slop by
using expensive bearing rails and blocks and very rigid machined
This is a fairly unusual commercial CNC X-on-Y vertical mill in that it
seems to be a lot lighter than most vertical mills. Still nicely designed
and probably excellent for aluminium and softer materials, although
I doubt it would be suitable for production machining of steel.
A more typical vertical mill for steel machining, shown bare and
- end -
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