Modular Desktop CNC Assembly
The CNC machines we sell require some assembly and setup to get running. Setup can take a sometime and must be done properly, take some time to familiarize yourself with the instructions and be sure get all the parts ready ahead of time.
Recommended Assembly Tools
Sunnyside Acetone Thinner To ensure proper assembly, there are several items that are necessary and recommended to complete the process efficiently.
- 7/16" Nut Driver, Wrench or Socket & Ratchet
- 2.5mm Allen Wrench (for Motor Coupler)
- 7/64" Allen Wrench (for Shaft Collar)
- #2 & #3 Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Acetone Cleaner & Rag
- Flat blade Screwdriver
We would recommend assembling the machine on carpet, or a piece of cardboard to ensure it does not get damaged. Additionally some parts of the machine could potentially gouge or scratch work surfaces if not careful.
Remove the shafts from the packaging.
Please use care as the shafts will be covered in an oily wax, and can stain your hands & clothing. The shafts will need to be cleaned using acetone or a similar cleaning product. You must remove the wax, or else it can clog up the Oilite bushings, which can have an adverse effect on machine performance! Clean with a rag until no yellow wax remains.
Remove the plastic z-axis from the box.
Our plastic z-axis is pre-assembled and will be ready to install right out of the box. The motor will need to be installed, as will any optional anti-backlash nuts. You can install the motor later to make it easier to assemble, but the optional anti-backlash nuts must be installed now.
Slide the 18" long, 3/4" diameter hardened steel shafts into the holes on the plastic Z-Axis. They should slide smoothly through the Oilite bushings. If they do not, consider using more Acetone (or similar cleaner) to remove additional wax from the shafts.
Take one side of the gantry arms and insert the back support brace up tight against the gantry arm. The back brace has no holes, and just two slots. The two slots should be facing away from the gantry arms. If the brace has a curved edge, place that edge into the curved corner of the gantry arm.
Slide the two shorter pieces of threaded rod into the slots on the back, and through the holes in the gantry arms. Attach a washer and acorn nut on the side of the gantry arm.
The threaded rod will be sticking out the other end slightly. Take the 18" long shafts (with the Z-axis installed on them, *not pictured*) and insert one end of the shafts into the holes on the gantry arm. While holding the shafts even and level, take the other gantry arm and insert the shafts into gantry arm as well. The back support brace will slide into slots on both gantry arms.
Slide the threaded rod through both gantry arms, and install a washer and wing nut loosely. Do not tighten completely at this point, just enough to keep everything together. Rest the gantry setup on its back, and set aside.
Prepare the X-Axis sliders. The sliders have a wooden channel carved down the middle that holds two Oilite bushings. The Oilite bushings are held in place using a u-bolt that slides into place around the Oilite bushing, then through the holes in the slider.
Insert the Oilite bushings through the sliders, and then install them on the bottom of the gantry brace. Make sure the slots on the bottom gantry brace are sandwiched between the sliders. Insert the u-bolts and bushings through both the slider and the bottom gantry brace, and then install the washer and nuts. Do not over tighten the nuts. If you over tighten, you can crush the bushings, and your machine will not slide properly. Just tighten enough to keep it in place! You may need to adjust and tighten these nuts regularly to ensure smooth movement.
Install the X-axis leadscrew nut on the bottom of the gantry brace.
The direction does not matter. Install using the longer 1/4-20" screws and add a washer and bolt to the other side.
You should now have a completed bottom gantry, and a top gantry.
Install the bottom onto the top of the gantry to complete the entire gantry assembly. Ensure the slots on the bottom brace are facing down, and insert it into the joints on the gantry arms. Slide the shorter sized threaded rod through the holes and through the slots. Install a washer and acorn nut on one side, and a washer and wing nut on the other side. Do not over tighten; Just tighten it enough to hold it in place.
Now it is time to assemble the main base of the machine. Take your end support from the packaging and set it down on one end. We recommend using a carpeted floor, or piece of cardboard to ensure you don't damage either the machine or a work surface.
Take the large black plastic components and insert them into the slots on the machine end. Press them down to ensure they are inserted as far as they can, but don't force them.
Install the shafts longer 24" shafts into the holes in the end support.
Now, carefully take your entire gantry assembly and install it on the shafts. Slide it all the way down until the back of the gantry is resting on the floor. Do not set it Z-axis down. Note that the entire gantry is not shown in this photo for clarity.
Install the other end support on the other end, and carefully tip the machine so it is sitting upright. Ensure your threaded rods on the gantry are tightened and make sure to support the gantry as increased stress can cause damage to the gantry.
Install the longer threaded rod through the CNC base. One threaded rod will need to go through the black plastic, and can be very difficult to line up properly. It may take some time, but eventually you will get the rod to line up through the holes. One of the threaded rods will go through the outer holes near the top.
Install washers and acorn nuts on one end of the threaded rod, and washers with wing nuts on the other end.
Tighten the threaded rods so that they hold the machine together, but not overly tight. All axes should slide smoothly. If they do not, check to ensure everything isn't tightened too much.
If you purchased our optional aluminum support bracing, now is the time to install it. Instead of installing the threaded rod in the step above, use the existing holes to mount the aluminum support. Install the 1/4-20" machine screws with washers using a #2 Phillips screwdriver.
Installing the leadscrews can take some time to get right. Start by installing the ball bearings into the holes in the gantry arms, and the end supports. Take your leadscrews and feed them through hole in the ball bearings. At this point you will want to decide which side the motors will be installed on, it won't matter which side they go on. Slide a nylon washer onto the leadscrew, followed by a shaft collar, then feed the leadscrew (carefully) through the leadscrew nuts on the gantry and z-axis. Then install a shaft collar, followed by nylon washer on the opposite side and feed through the other ball bearing. You will then want to move the shaft collars to the ends and tighten them (with 7/64" Allen wrench) to ensure the leadscrew is always tensioned.
Now it is time to install the stepper motor onto the side with the motor coupler. You will want to take the 10-24 screws, and insert them into the holes on the stepper motor, and then through the 1" nylon spacers. The shaft on the motor should line up with the motor coupler and insert into the hole. Line the 10-24 bolts up with the holes, insert them and tighten slowly. Once the motor is tightened, tighten the set screw on the motor coupler (2.5mm Allen wrench). Do this for all three motors, be very careful when installing on the z-axis.
Your CNC machine should now be mostly complete. The next step will be to install the table surface.
Take your table surface, and set it on top of the machine end supports. Feed the flat machine screws into the holes on the table surface and into the machine ends. While holding the screws, install the dowel pin through the hole in the machine end support using a flat blade screwdriver to line it up. Once you thread it into the dowel pin, do the other machine screws and then finally tighten them all down.
Your machine should now be ready to plug into the control box, configure the software, and then you can start cutting cool parts!