Birth of a 4-axis CNC machine #9: Control panel layout and wiring

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Blog entry by DS posted 04-22-2014 06:06 AM 3330 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Control box enclosure - the machine now has a key! Part 9 of Birth of a 4-axis CNC machine series Part 10: The F-150 gambit... Git er done! »

You can’t tell, but, I’ve been puttering around with the control panel for a couple of weekends.

I still need a few standoffs to mount the open circuit cards to the backplane, but everything else is bolted down.

The motor control wiring from the drivers out to the machine takes a shielded four wire cable that costs less for 500 feet than for 100 feet. Weird how that works. I can get 500 feet for $55 but I only need 100 feet, which would cost me $69.

I have no idea what I’ll do with the other 400 feet.

I’ve offered my truck for sale – partially to pay a bunch of taxes, but also to buy Aspire 4.5 software and my ATC tool changing spindle. (Not to mention the z-axis bearings and ball screw and the x-axis rack and pinion)

If all goes well, I can use the machine to produce enough to re-buy a newer truck later.

That’s it for now.

Once I get something completed where I can push a button and something moves, that will be super cool.

Thanks for following along.

Got the main breaker box installed on the nema enclosure. I installed strain relief fittings for a 10awg pigtail in the bottom of the box. That cord and plug is a small fortune too.
Finished more wiring on the control panel. Mounted more terminal blocks for the low voltage stuff.

I broke two pilot bits drilling through the nema panel with a 1 1/4” bimetal hole saw. I figured out the hard way that in metal it’s best to drill the pilot hole first, then add the hole saw. The first time the pilot punched through the saw grabbed, broke a tooth and bent the pilot bit. I shrugged it off as a fluke until the second hole did exactly the same thing. Unfortunately that was my last 1/4” drill bit. Had to buy a new drill index today. (Sigh)

Man, there’s lots to do still!

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

6 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4387 days

#1 posted 04-22-2014 01:14 PM


You can use the barrel from a pen for standoff spacer material. The white Bic ones cut pretty cleanly. But you seem to have this all under control.

This looks majorly cool. I really want to see it all go – I’m sure you do too.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Underdog's profile


1401 posts in 2541 days

#2 posted 04-22-2014 01:26 PM

Nice to see you keep making progress. Thanks for keeping us posted!

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View oldnovice's profile


7499 posts in 3873 days

#3 posted 04-22-2014 05:18 PM

Doug, are those four boxes the axis drives?

With regard to the shielded cable cost, is it possible that the 500 feet is what is on a reel and to roll out 100 feet will require labor and leave them with a partial roll?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View DS's profile


3291 posts in 2926 days

#4 posted 04-23-2014 01:03 AM

Hans, the four black boxes are the axis drivers and the chrome boxes are power supplies.

At the top left is the CPU power supply then the opto- isolation card (sometimes called a breakout card) interfaces the low voltage controls to the high current drivers.

The CPU with a basic LCD display and keypad is at the lower left. It has USB and Ethernet connections.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View DIYaholic's profile


19859 posts in 3180 days

#5 posted 04-23-2014 02:28 AM

Progress is looking good.
Step by step….
You’ll soon be there!!!

If you want to use up the extra cable….
You could build me a CNC!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DS's profile


3291 posts in 2926 days

#6 posted 04-23-2014 06:13 AM

Made a little more progress today. Unfortunately, it visually looks about the same as before, just more wires connected…

This is gonna take a while.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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