I started writing this post about the Plasma CNC cutting machine, but I realised most of the readers might not even be aware of what exactly a CNC machine is. So, I decided to write about the CNC machines in general to provide some background info for readers who are starting their journey into the world of CNC machines.
So, what is a CNC machine?
The CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines use a computer to act as the controller for the functions and motions of machine tools such as mills, routers, lathe etc. To put it bluntly, CNC is used to program a machine for automatic operations. These days CNC machines are used in a variety of industries like manufacturing, R&D, machining operations, drilling, cutting and so many more.
Why did we build a CNC machine?
Because of my interest in robotics and electronics design, I often needed to build custom parts or sometimes I needed to drill, mill, or cut materials for my hobby projects. Doing all those manually is time consuming as well as inefficient. Using the services of professionals was out of my budget. So, I started looking into alternatives, which led me to the DIY CNC machines. I realised that with my knowledge of electronics and mechanics and the information available online, it is really easy to build a CNC machine for my workshop. If you want to read more about DIY CNC projects here is a good website.
So, the first CNC machine that I built was a small sized, wooden framed milling CNC machine.
Once I had a CNC machine, it was relatively easy to make changes to the existing setup and enable it to perform different machining tasks. Eg,- I built a LASER CNC cutting machine which me and my team later modified into a PLASMA cutting CNC machine.
Having a CNC machine at our workshop helped us with our own internal R&D and we were able to provide the cutting services to other people as well!
CNC machines DIY or Buy
One of the questions that people often ask me is why I built my own CNC machine when I can buy it in the market? Well, firstly, as a hobbyist, my budget for the machine setup was too small to buy a professional cutting machine. The second reason is that I like making things with my own hands. I can make whatever changes I need to the machine. I can even incorporate functionalities which are not available in the professional machines that I can buy off the shelf. And when the machine breaks down, I don’t have to call the service center. Because I built it, I understand how it works and I can fix it.
Here is an interesting article if you need to give it further thought.
Building CNC machine
If you are an enthusiast interested in CNC machines, you might have thought of building one for yourself. I will discuss the building-a-Plasma-CNC-machine phase of my journey in the next article, discussing what major components I used and what components I had to build myself.
To the readers-
Did you ever try building a CNC machine by yourself? How did you do it? What parts did you use and what troubles did you run into as you built it? Let’s talk more in the comments section below.