DIY CNC Router – Post 2. Hello AliExpress

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series DIY CNC Machine
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I am building my own CNC router – post 1 is here

I am at the stage where I am about to get into building the z-axis (i.e. up and down) and looking at what tool is going on it.These two components bolt onto the four threaded studs I have on my y-axis carriage.

The y-direction mount. The z-axis and tool will go on here.

The plan was as follows:

  • Z-AXIS: I was going to carry on as I have done for the x- and y-axes, making linear carriages from skateboard bearings and the drive rod from an M8 threaded rod
  • TOOL: Initially I was going to fix a Dremel hand tool, but both Dremels I had had have been woefully underpowered. One on a CNC would be useful for cutting a cake, and that’s about it. I had thus settled on buying a decent plunge router from the hardware store and somehow attaching that. This seems to be a pretty common idea:

That was the plan, then, I discovered AliExpress. AliExpress is a sister (more a daughter) site of Alibaba – both are owned by the Alibaba Group.  Alibaba is aimed at trade, business and wholesale, while AliExpress is the consumer site. On Aliexpress you can buy most things, on Alibaba you can buy EVERYTHING.

This became a long-winded post about my going down the Alibaba rabbit hole. I have made a new post of that since its pretty off-topic.

I ended up buying the following off AliExpress:


CNC Spindle and VFD

It’s a 3000W CNC spindle with a VFD controller, mount and water cooling. It does 24000rpm at no load. It cost around NZ$500 (inc air freight): a pro-grade plunge router with these specs would have cost well over a grand. Also, though the plunge router might have a variable frequency drive integrated into it, its likely it would not have been practical to connect it into my CNC electronics. HOPEFULLY with this kit I have ordered I can (my reading-up suggest I can so fingers crossed).

The CNC spindle kit. I think it unlikely that the bearings were made in Germary(sic), and I hope the right black thing is a VFD, not a 3kW Vacuum Erection Device (VED).

Powered Linear Rail

I could not be bothered to hash up the z-axis out of junk like I have done for the other axes, so I bought   linear rail and drive rod with a higher torque 57mm NEMA17 stepper motor (the ones I have are 42mm).

Linear Drive

Job done. They arrive next week.

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