How To Build a CNC Router?

Last Updated on March 27, 2021 by James

A CNC router is used for cutting various hard metals, lathe, or simply drilling. Automation and precision are the two best benefits of the CNC router tables.

Follow the given steps below to build a working CNC router:

Design and the Materials Required

The first thing we can do before building the CNC router is to design the model in drawing software. We can use various design software, but most of the professionals recommend using Google SketchUp or AutoCAD  because we need the design in 3D. You need to make sure that all the angles are measured adequately as per the dimensions. There should be sufficient distance between the moving parts so that they do not collide while working.

First, provide the dimensions of the machine.

Here are some of the basic dimensions in X, Y, Z axis.

Overall Dimensions

X: 1051mm Y: 841mm Z: 401mm


X: 731mm Y: 651mm Z: 151mm

As per the size of CNC Railing and balls, screws length should be provided.


  • 3x 3 Nm Nema 23 Stepper Motors
  • 3x DM556 Lead shine stepper motor driver
  • 36V power supply (for Stepper Motors)
  • Breakout Board
  • 5V power supply (for Breakout Board)
  • ON/OFF switch
  • Shielded 18/4 Avg wire
  • 3x Proximity sensor (limit switch)
  • Spindle: Kress FME 800


  • Linear rails: X: SBR 20 Y/Z: SBR 16
  • Ball screws: X/Y: 16mm 5mm pitch

The X-axis

The frame of X-axis is made of 4 pieces of aluminum extrusions of size 30 or 60 where two holes of 6.8 mm diameter are made at its end and two thick plates of size 15mm at the end plates. The plates are properly clamped matching all holes. Then, four more holes are drilled in the middle and side of each plate for the bearing blocks in the middle and motor mount in the side.

Gantry Side Plates & Assembling the Gantry

The gantry side plates are made of the 15mm size of thick aluminum, and both the plates are almost similar with the only difference of few holes to attach the motor mount. Then we need to drill the hole in the same line so that we can clamp two pieces of aluminum in the side of the rails. The rails which will get attached must be parallel.

Y-axis Carriage

We need to attach eight lines bearing in one plate and for that, and the holes should be drilled in a proper way so that all the holes of one plate should match the other otherwise it will create a jam.


It is made in the same way as the Y-axis where two pieces of aluminum are attached keeping plastic in between to maintain space between the rails. The linear rails of Z-axis must be fixed to the movable parts of the Z axis.

Motor Mounts

The pieces of Aluminum tubes are required for the motor mounting. The motor mounting for the X and Y axis should be in such a way that both plates should slide in and out.

Bearing Blocks

50mm aluminum bar is required for making X and Y axis’s bearing blocks. Therefore provide four pieces of 15mm thick aluminum round bar. Firstly, we need to drill four holes for the bearing to get fixed. We need to maintain the alignment of the holes because if the alignment is not properly matched the bearing will not get fixed.

The Cutting Bed

This is the most important and final part of the machine. We can use different types of material for making a cutting bed like a tabletop, plywood or any aluminum table top. The cutting board can be made of good ply either MDF or marine ply. I will suggest going to MDF.

The Electronics

Few electronics are required for the machines which consist of:-

  • Power supply current – 47VDC
  • Three drivers – Lead shine M542 V2.0
  • Three stepper motor – 3Nm hybrid Nema 23
  • Breakout board
  • Relay – 25Ampere, 230VAC output,
  • Main power switch
  • Two cooling fans of 80mm

Electronics Cabinet

For making all the wires and components hidden we need an enclosure so that the work can be done effectively without tampering any components and for the aesthetic view. It should also be designed in such a way that airflow should take place properly.

CNC Software

For the operation of the CNC router, we required a CNC software. The CNC software consists of 2 software- the first one being the drawing software.

We need to design the product as per our needs and requirements. We can use it in any CAD software, and another which converts the CAD into CAM which makes the software converts into machine language.

The CAM software assists the machine in executing the work as per the given design.