Summer of 2008: I'm originally from Baltimore, Maryland but moved to Vancouver, BC Canada for school. At the time I've been in Vancouver for about 2 years and decided to stay the entire summer here for the first time. Just finishing my 2nd year in Industrial Design at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, I wanted to start an awesome project for the summer. Recently discover and amazed that people make their own CNC machines, I researched more into it. I never thought it was possible for anybody to make their own home-built CNC machine, seemed like a perfect project for me. I found and bought plans, read the plans for 5 days trying to figure out everything, then bought parts. I followed the plans, completed it about 80% of the way and stepped back and realized flaws home-built plans have.
Here is the result of the 1st CNC attempt. I could have finished it and made it fully functional but it just wasn't to my expectations. So 80% finished I decided to stop following the plans and scrap the attempt. It wasn't a total waste of time, I learned the ever-so-valuable information on how CNC works! This project (if I remember correctly) was about $800 which includes the electronics and motors ($500 for those alone). Most costs and parts were usable for version 2, so only about $200 was "wasted" from this version.
Things I learned from it:
1)spend a couple extra hundred and buy precision bearings like those in used in production CNC machines. Home-made bearings may be a lot cheaper but getting them to have high tolerances and highly accurate is hard to do.
2)it's common for people to follow downloaded CNC plans then make their own version soon afterward on improvements they feel fit. You learn invaluable information by doing, even if and especially if its a failure