Alternate Construction Techniques

Design of structural and load bearing framework.
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Alternate Construction Techniques

Postby GnarlyCNC » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:41 am

First off, I would like to say that I have not yet built a CNC machine. My roommate and I (both engineering student) have recently become very interested in building one and have been combing through a lot of the information online and trying to decide on an initial design. For us the biggest constraints are cost and availability of tools to work with.

We found the BuildYourCNC as well as several machines on Instructables. So far we have built a unipolar driver with about $30 worth of parts from Digi-key (that's enough for all three drivers). We can successfully control scrap stepper motors from old printers (we are waiting till we decide on a design to invest in good stepper motors) using EMC2, as well as a variety of free trials for windows software.

I found this site from the BuildYourCNC forums and greatly respect what all of you guys are trying to do with this project. I wanted to bring up the topic of alternative construction techniques as opposed to the conventional MDF/plywood design.

As many of you are probably aware, work was posted on the BuildYourCNC site about developing a pipe-based construction: and

These techniques seem like they would lend themselves well for modular and scalable construction as well as (potentially) requiring minimal tools to build. I wanted to see if anyone here knows anything about the development of this project, or has any opinions about this type of design.

Here is another example of pipe-based construction, this time for a small-scale system:

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Re: Alternate Construction Techniques

Postby Awesomeness » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:03 pm

That post has been up on Patrick's site for years now, and I don't know what ever came of it.

I'm interested in any alternative construction techniques. I'm just not sure if you're going to beat the cost of MDF/Plywood where the material for the whole structure is about $50 for a 2'x4' sized machine.

In the end, both designs will suffer the same problems from scaling. With the pipe, it would be conceptually simple to deal with, since you would just buy pipe and fittings that were larger in diameter, but pipe gets expensive fast.

It would be really cool to have some special clamps so that the pipe setup became like an "Erector set", but I think that would get expensive.

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