Author Topic: Familab gantry CNC  (Read 1048 times)


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Familab gantry CNC
« on: February 18, 2014, 07:51:10 PM »
Howdy Folks! decided I might as well start a topic for my gantry CNC project. In a nutshell, this is a 3 axis CNC platform, with NEMA stepper motors, driven by an arduino flashed with grbl ( , using a pre-populated shield ( that is used to translate the g-code into impulses for the stepper motors , and more or less shelf standard 24v power supplies.

I've been wanting to build a CNC of my very own for ages, and I think there are some neat things you can do with a portable solution which is nevertheless powerful enough to mill aluminum very accurately. When complete, I think I would like to brand it to familab, and if there is interest in keeping it in the lab full time for people to hack on, I am open to doing so.

Ive just gotten a bunch of metal in the mail, after a few mishaps with UPS, and plan to start creating the enclosure and mounts shortly. I have already connected the pre-milled gantry blocks (made of an extremely durable, hard to machine polymer - HDPE), stepper motors, and drive screws. They are attached to a brushed aluminum base, ~20in. x 18in.

I also have wrangled together a few custom ware wrappings and older random junk components with the intent of creating a steampunk-esaque look by the time the project is complete. I also intend to mount cooling fans for ventilation at the rear and front of the enclosure (4 fans total), possibly with PWM control from one of the arduinos involved to handle automatic fan speed based on the temperature of the electronics and fan supply.

While I have gathered most of the components, I am still in the design phase.

Questions I need to figure out :

-- Bit storage rack - I am thinking brass cylinders, mounted on each side, or at least one side, with a screw lid
-- Bling - Currently planning on LED backlighting for the front fans, a logo in front (a FamiLAB logo, backlit, perhaps :) ), brass steampunk-y mounts for the internal electronics, maybe a clock gear or an antique key lock for power-on.
-- Emergency stop button - should this be built in to the enclosure, or perhaps attached to a longer cable? Is there any chance of harming the electronics with a complete power halt ?
-- Spindle control (speed) -- I need to review the grbl docs to see if I am permitted to control this via software via a pin, but regardless, a manual override might be nice
-- Dust / Waste material control - a surface mounted fan to cool the spindle + tool, as well as remove excess material produced during the milling process might be nice.

+ a bunch more things to work through as the project progresses. This is just an initial post. Advice and feedback welcome - I intend to put up more posts, pictures, etc as I continue. All of this is very much a first time for me, and any CNC vets should keep that in mind.

Pics included for grblshield and bits and pieces from the micro kit

All of that said, I hope and believe that in the end I'll have something capable of some good work - a few pics of other people's projects using the same platform: