A Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine I designed and built when I was 16 years old (2004)
I designed and built this machine in my fathers garage when I was 16 years old.
I became increasingly curious about the methods used to create the objects around me. I wondered how they were made with such precision and symmetry. I quickly realized that the CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine was the piece of equipment behind the manufacture of almost all the objects I owned.
So naturally, I set out to build my own machine. I had no formal electronics or engineering training at the time, but I set myself a goal.
Overcoming a project of this magnitude without formal training gave me a creative confidence that I still carry with myself today.
The machine has full three axis movement and is capable of cutting out 3-Dimensional shapes of out wood and plastic.
The Machine cutting a piece
jogging the Machine
Because I did not have any prior knowledge of electronics, or control systems, this project took hundreds of hours of research.
The design was formulated on napkin sketches and the machine was fabricated as I went. Prior to the development of this machine, was the creation of a proof of concept prototype CNC machine made of wood.
The machine utilized a unique eccentric bolt tightening system that I devised to mitigate tensioning issues in the rails.
The system runs G-Code on a DOS based program called TurboCNC, which converts the codes into a series of step and direction pulses.
The electronics were housed in a makeshift enclosure. It’s messy, I know…I was young!
An Example piece made BY the machine
Although the example above is only a 2-1/2 dimension shape, the machine is also capable of cutting full 3 dimensional shapes.
Thank you to my Dad for his support, guidance, and for teaching me many of the fabrication techniques I needed to learn to complete this project.