CNC Adventures Intro

I recently picked up a cheap CNC machine on Amazon to get started learning. I do want to make some PCBs for my other toys and there are some wood working items I want to try.

The kit I bought is decent for the price, with the expected level of quality. The kit was nicely packaged as you can see from the unboxing photos. Nothing was labelled but then with the number of parts it was not difficult to tell what was what. The kit did include green tinted glasses. Whether these are for the optional laser or just safety glasses they do not say.

I will say that this kit is surprisingly sturdy structurally given that half of it is plastic. The x-axis supports and the y-axis front and back are 10mm thick plastic with the bearings already mounted. All bolts are 5mm but they have quality issues. The bolts are either 10mm or 16mm in length.

I did have issues mounting the bearing blocks to the build plate as the plastic blocks were warped and the 10mm bolts were just barely long enough to touch the nuts.

Everything had a light oil covering that had to be wiped off. The aluminium extrusions had tape that had captured shavings from the cutting and tapping. The rods had dried oil on them. Everything did clean up easily though.

The instructions had to be downloaded separately and were very Ikea like consisting mostly of drawings. They were easy to follow though.

My kit came with one ER11 collet sized for 1/8 inch. It also included 10 identical engraving bits (10 degree, 0.1mm). All the tools required for assembly were included.

What is missing though are wrenches for the collet.

Additional items you will want include:

  • additional collets (see Amazon)
  • wrenches. 13mm and 17mm
  • end mill bits
  • router bits

The box

Picture 1 of 7

The motors have no markings whatsoever but appear to be NEMA 17. They are 32mm in depth.

The control board is a “Woodpecker 3.2A GRBL”. Powered by an ATMEL MEGA328P and using 4988 stepper drivers.

After assembly I did apply some White Lithium Grease to all the rods and a bit on the lead screws. I have not touched the bearings though.

Next steps are to acquire the needed wrenches and then test the hardware. Followed by acquiring more collets and bits. Then trying to make something!!

Bit wise you can use any rotary tool (i.e. Dremel) bit as they are the same size.

Update 2019-Feb-18: 

I have found this kit to be a rebranded version of this kit.

My package had grbl 1.1f already installed on the board. The software downloads were all for Windows so I went looking for Linux versions. The GrblControl (a.k.a. Candle) is written for QT but the Linux download did not work for me so I set about building it myself. I encountered one error in the source and one missing component. Fixing these gets me a 64bit version of the software. It talks and I can control the machine. I did have to make some settings changes since the board had defaults set.

I acquired bits and collets and picked up the wrenches I needed. I have not tried anything yet.

Since homing is a required function, the unit definitely needs end stops to be added. I have 5 basic end stops and a few of the reprap style end stops. Thankfully the grbl wiki has a page showing the woodpecker wiring for basic end stops. Once these are installed I’ll have to set the board to know it has them and then tell it where home is. Otherwise I have to do this manually each time.

Still a lot to learn, but that is why I got this little kit.

I did find this collection on Thingiverse that I am going to try out. From there I followed links to other items (1, 2, 3, 4 ) on Thingiverse that I’m going to try out.

Check out this page for another person’s take on a similar machine.

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