CNC Router, Homemade

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Project by MC Creations posted 12-22-2010 04:09 PM 19211 views 36 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are just a few pictures of my latest evolution in woodworking. I know many woodworkers don’t think that CNC Routers are “real” woodworking. Just in case for you purists, you may be able to see the full complement of hand tools on my full service woodworking bench in the background. But there are many products I want to make, and unfortunately doing it by hand is not really doable.

Now, this was a really fun build. I spent over a month in my spare time designing it on Google Sketchup, taking design ideas from other DIYers and some industrial machines. I picked up the electronics after doing about another month of research, and spent another month learning how to use them. The computer I use is and old beast from 2000 I had lying around, and is 700mhz Pentium 4 that gets the job done just fine. When I finally had a week to spare, I got out my calipers, put wood to saw and made what you see here. Took about 30 hours to make the machine itself, and another 5-6 hours to wire it all up and calibrate it. The mill is a Porter-Cable 1hp trim router which is more than enough for my needs, and hardly tasks the machine at all. I can upgrade to the 2 1/4 hp unit if I feel it’s necessary in the future.

Performance is incredible. Repetitive cuts for boxes, patterns, signage, carvings, mortises, and infinitely more possibilities are only now limited by my software and milling program. I’ve got about $800 in it so far, not counting the computer, and considering I can cut a piece as big as 24” x 18” x 7”, it’s quite a bargain. Much smaller machine kits using the same electronics are more than double that. All in all, I’m really happy with how it turned out. In fact, I’m going to use the machine to make a smaller version of itself that I can enclose and put anywhere in the house to pump out products non-stop.

For all the build pics and even a video of the machine in action, feel free to check out my photo gallery here. And don’t worry, I still make traditional wood products (pics coming soon). But now I can use this machine to make the repetitive dull mill work, and even carve fancy designs into finished products. Thanks for looking!


-- MC Creations,,

30 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5499 days

#1 posted 12-22-2010 04:22 PM

Now that is impressive!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

276 posts in 4469 days

#2 posted 12-22-2010 04:26 PM

Very nice. I’ve toyed on and off with making one of these. I’m also in Northern Virginia, so if I ever bite the bullet I might stop by for the tutorial! :-)

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 5093 days

#3 posted 12-22-2010 04:27 PM

Absolutely amazing. But …. for me a little strange. I’ going to stay with my way. At least for some week.

Congratulations. It’s a touch of future. I’m admiring everybody who is able to create something like that.

-- Jiri

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 4351 days

#4 posted 12-22-2010 05:00 PM

Really cool, good job were also in the process of building a diy cnc, it’s nice to see others doing the same. Congrats!

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View Kate's profile


403 posts in 5155 days

#5 posted 12-22-2010 05:28 PM

Wow, nice job. How do you program it?

-- Kate,

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1110 posts in 5088 days

#6 posted 12-22-2010 06:07 PM

One of the better DIY CNC projects that I’ve seen. Any chance you’ll be publishing the design plans for it?

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View naugled's profile


21 posts in 4133 days

#7 posted 12-22-2010 06:30 PM

Very impressive piece of work. What CNC software are you using? Did you buy software or did you write it?

View JasonWagner's profile


566 posts in 4461 days

#8 posted 12-22-2010 07:36 PM


-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View ArtisanMadeDesigns's profile


103 posts in 4403 days

#9 posted 12-22-2010 07:40 PM

What a fantastic Build. Great Job.

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1359 posts in 5280 days

#10 posted 12-22-2010 08:10 PM

Wow, nice project for sure. Wish I had the room, cash & brains to make such a cool machine. Enjoy!

-- Bob A in NJ

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 5023 days

#11 posted 12-22-2010 09:59 PM

Congratulations on a great build. What are you using for software? Do you use Sketchup to draw your projects too? if so, are you able to export it into some CAM software for G-code?

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 4112 days

#12 posted 12-22-2010 10:57 PM

Glad to see American inginuity at work… think you could cost-effectively mass produce these and put some people to work??

-- GX

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5163 days

#13 posted 12-22-2010 11:45 PM

Good job.
Welcome to the Woodworker and CNC club. It is cool to be able to do both.
Looking forward to some projects.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 4161 days

#14 posted 12-23-2010 12:43 AM

I too have read up on CNC homemade versions. I’d like to have one sized from a cello to a violin. A bass would be rather large. It would speed up the violin making process.

I’d like a 4 axis for carving the neck. Do you have a link for parts, or a plan?

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Scott Key's profile

Scott Key

25 posts in 5273 days

#15 posted 12-23-2010 06:48 AM

That’s so great! I would love to have my own CNC machine! $800 is a bargain for sure. I remember watching an episode of This Old House and they visited a custom mill. They had a CNC machine that would automatically change out up to 64 different bits (forgive me on the exact numbers, I’m working by memory).

Something to aspire to. You’ve definitely given me some DIY inspiration.

-- -- a bad day woodworking is better than a good day at work --

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