Tag Archives: CNC router

A CNC machine made from old furniture and printer parts

Goes to show that one man’s trash is another Maker’s treasure! 

Computer-controlled tools are a welcome addition to any garage; however, they usually cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you could just build your own CNC router using chipboard (aka particle board) recycled from an old piece of furniture, motors from an optical drive, a PC power supply, and, of course, an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).


Norbert “HomoFaciens” Heinz describes the build on his site and in the excellent 0.6 video below, as well improvements he made to it in the following 0.6.1 video.

The DIY CNC router is meant for mostly two-dimensional parts as the vertical axis is controlled by a normal hobby servo. The horizontal axes are each controlled with 3mm threaded rods that rotate inside of brass nuts that are soldered in place using a candle (seriously). These rods are handled by the optical drive motors with encoders made from optical sensors and disks with teeth cut out of metal.


It’s really an amazing display of what one can do with simple tools and materials, and an incredible amount of ingenuity! If that wasn’t impressive enough, he also wrote the control software, consisting of an Arduino Sketch and a Linux program that transmits motor commands over USB.

For another interesting trash build, check out this router made from PC parts. It’s available as a kit, so you won’t have to cut up your furniture to make it!

[h/t Hackaday]

The Stepoko is an ATmega328P powered CNC board

The SparkFun Stepoko is an Arduino-compatible, three-axis control board that runs grbl.

SparkFun has just unveiled an entire lineup of CNC products, including a brand new board that can be found at the heart a sleek and bright red desktop router.



The SparkFun Stepoko is an Arduino-compatible, three-axis controller that runs grbl software and is capable of connecting to your computer to accept stepper motor commands. The board’s design and firmware are completely open source and works with Java-based cross platform G-Code sending application to translate commands.

“By just looking at the pictures, this board may look daunting but the simplest installation of the Stepoko consists of just plugging the stepper motors in, connecting it to power and to your computer! To top it off, we’ve designed the SparkFun Stepoko to fit and be secured inside of our Big Red Box as an effective enclosure option after a bit of milling to support the boards connectors and heatsink,” the team writes.

The board itself is broken down into two “hemispheres.” Stepoko’s right side is tasked with supplying power and system control, courtesy of the ATmega328P at its core. SparkFun has broken out all of the pins that are associated with the MCU and power supplies, and has included chart in silkscreen on the back of the board that matches the grbl pin functions to the Arduino pin naming convention. According to its creators, applying 12-30VDC to either the barrel jack or screw terminals (not both) and the Stepoko can supply up to 2.0A. Additionally, there’s a rail of screw terminals that function as limit, probe and e-stop connections.


Meanwhile, the board’s left side features three of the stepper motor drivers for the Stepoko. Each of the three-axis drivers are managed by a DRV8811 IC, which communicates with the ATmega328P via digital control signals that are able to set direction, enable the motor and enact a step. Internally, it has a state machine that matches the states of each motor necessary to get it to perform. Modifying the microstepping control switches on each driver provide you to finely tune each array to your specified likeness. All the work that each stepper motor driver provides is contributed by the grbl software that comes pre-installed with each Stepoko.

“Whether you are using the SparkFun Shapeoko on your own rig or on one our Shapeoko CNC Machine platforms you should be able to utilize this board to its full functionality without breaking a sweat,” the crew adds.


But that’s not all. The Stepoko can be found at the heart of the Shapeoko 3 — a heavy duty desktop CNC machine capable of routing designs in a variety of materials like MDF, wood and even thin aluminum. This device was brought to life in collaboration with Carbide 3D. Intrigued? Head over to SparkFun’s page to get your hands on the Arduino-compatible board and a mill our own.

CNC router goes xPRO with Atmel’s ATmega328

Spark Concepts has debuted the CNC xPRO on Kickstarter, a versatile platform powered by Atmel’s ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU).

The CNC xPRO can be used to drive:

  • Four-axis CNC Mill
  • Three-axis CNC Mill with dual drive motors
  • Laser cutter with XY, auto focus and rotary attachment
  • Plasma cutter
  • Pick and place for SMD components
  • Wireless robotics

The GRBL compatible CNC xPRO can be powered via an ATX PSU or a dedicated 12V/24V two wire power supply. The board is also capable of driving four motors with DRV8825 Stepper Drivers at 2.5A (peak) with 1.75A (RMS) and up to 1/32 microstepping.

“One driver is capable of cloning X,Y, or Z or being run as an independent axis, [with] hardware support offered for both USB and wireless operation (XBee, WiFly, or RN42-XV),” a Spark Concepts rep explained.

“In addition, there are 12V and 5V outputs for powering peripherals (fans, pumps, vacuums), [allowing Makers and engineers] to quickly connect Stepper Motors and limit switches with 3.5mm screw terminals.”

Meanwhile, an expansion port supports future upgrades, such as a handheld jog controller and integrated spindle speed control.

“The CNC xPRO ships fully assembled and ready to connect (except for those opting for the bare board). All you need to do is screw down your motor leads and limit switches, plug in your ATX supply (or 12V/24V supply) and computer. You can also add a kill, pause/stop, resume and abort switches,” the rep noted.

“To add Bluetooth wireless, simply plug the RN42-XV into the xPRO and pair it with your computers Bluetooth. When paired correctly, this creates a virtual serial port over Bluetooth linking the computer to the xPRO.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the CNC xPRO on Kickstarter here.