Joop’s Hobby CNC
Engraving Machine

Mill/Drill Machine.

This is a project of Martin, Piet and Joop.

The intent of this project is: to demonstrate the feasability of building a simple, low cost (after all we are Dutch), solid and stable hobby CNC mill/drill.

Saturday 04-nov-2006

A purchased mill/drill machine from Herman Buitelaar for 299 euros. Standard specifications with the intention of converting it to CNC.

It is a typical drillpress with an X-Y table.


Beware, the box weighs approximately 85kg.


Now the unpacking.


As you can see it's well packed.


It self-aligns. First place the lower unit on the workbench then assemble the column.


Now the awkward part. Use two people. Lift the head unit and place it on the column.


Now, remove all that excess mushy grease. Such a nice glob. One advantage though, you'll get smooth baby hands from all that grease.


The first problem we encountered was the column.
With other machines the head slides up and down the column; but with this unit the head is fixed to the column and the column slides up and down.
This presents a problem when you want to lower it close to the table surface. The column will hit the workbench preventing further lowering of the head unit. Thus you need to make a hole in the workbench surface to allow the column to go lower.

Now to the assembly.

The photos below are not so clear, but better photes will be obtained in the future.

It soon became evident that the x and y-axis would not present serious problems.
We used a control card, chain and sprocketwheel by Conrad from a previous project and thus made quick progress


This is the X-axis.

On the left side we widened the handwheel and mounted a sprocketwheel.The motor was mounted with long threaded rods to enable proper alignment.An astute observer will notice the small tensioner sprocketwheel.This mechanism was cannibalized from an old daisywheel printer.We also used this on the y-axis.The motor is mounted below the table to accomodate larger objects on the table without the motor getting in the way.


This is the Y-axis.

As you can see we retained the use of the handwheel.


We turned down some of the handwheel's thickness. (3mm)

Subsequently we attached the sprocketwheel to the handwheel with 3 countersunk screws.



The two axis were quickly done and because we were curious we carefully powered the unit to see if it would work.

It worked flawlessly thus we could eagerly apply our full energies to the Z-axis.

However we encountered some problems.

With a drillspindle in this price class you naturally have some play in the radial and axial directions.

After some serious thought a solution unfolded.

The upper section of the machine can be rotated and when rotated 90 degrees we obtained a nice flat area which allows other things to be attached.

This excellent solution allows the drill secton to be used as is.

By rotating back 90 degress you now restore the unit to a useful drillpress.

It's like having a five-legged sheep with a low budget at that!
We also had an extra x-y table from a previous project.
This item may also be purchased from Herman Buitelaar.

The lower part was also widened ( see below )


and machine vise milled.


This is how it looks when you purchase it

and this is how it looks after you milled it and widened the lower plate.

This is an edited version of the photo above. It's the idea that counts. I had forgotten to take a photo of it.


In this photo you can see that a large plate was attached to the unit and on which we mounted the milled x-y tablel.

What you subsequently attach to the x-y table is dependant upon the spindle motor that you will use.

We used an ordinary electric motor obtained from a photocopier. Not a very high RPM, but sufficient.


All connections were made to the control card and ready for making items, like clamping tools, nameplates or plaques.

So far so good and the completion of the work went smoothly.

Protection cover for the wiring and drive chain.


Protection cover made from printed circuit board material. Easy to solder. Afterwards spray painted black.


We also made a rubber cover to protect the raceway and leadscrew.

The right handwheel of the x-axis has been milled so that nothing pokes above the table.


The distance between the drillpress and the milling head is about
. This places you roughly in the center of its range.

After some squirt-work the machine is completed. On the one hand that's too bad since this was the neat part of the project, but on the other hand who knows, we may plan a similar project.

Now the machine is completely finished and operates with full satisfaction.
We are delighted with this new acquisition

IIn case you're in the area, there is a good possibility to view the machine. Email Joop ( sorry only dutch. He speaks no english )

In the meantime, these photos will have to suffice.


We have now begun to make a fourth axis out of some scrap materials. More to come.


This page is translated to English by Mr. P. Bylsma.
Many, many thanks for that.