Suggestions for a DIY CNC router

Hey folks.

One of the wife’s uncles is a 40+ goldsmith and jeweler. He (and the other uncle) may be closing down the family business for retirement in the next while. Now the goldsmith will probably be going into doing his own thing in the next year. I am thinking of putting a small CNC router with a removeable rotary together. Mostly to make wax blanks for castings and maybe super light carving of wood or light metals.

Now the bigger Diy 3 axis I am more or less up to speed on. It’s the smaller, need 6"x6" I know nothing about. I am hoping for suggestions or insights, especially about a small 4 axis. I want to aim low on the price as I don’t know how viable and needed it is.

Software is covered. And would probably go mach3 or mach4. Though I’m open on Mach.


I heard about this one awhile ago, sounds like it maybe what you are looking for.

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That guy is many thousands (also in USD so 30% premium at least. I’m looking to go full DIY source parts and build. I’m more looking for plans or maybe at least ideas. A few hundred dollars at most. Not looking for perfect repeatability, as things will be mostly one offs.

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There’s this site:

I built a CNC using their book, and it worked pretty well. It cost me about $700 for all the parts and material about 6-7 years ago. The bed is pretty big (24x48).

Bonus: The co-author of the book is on this forum (@jktechwriter).


BTW, the link to the book is a little buried in the website:

ALSO BTW If you had access to a laser, cutting the parts for the CNC would be a lot easier :slight_smile:


The pocketNC 5-axis is amazing (it’s the only 5-axis desktop machine out there). And for small jewelry it is perfect (it can only take something up to about baseball sized).


Depending on jewelry type I would strongly recommend looking a b9 creator (have a friend with one and it’s amazing what he is doing with it), solus 3d etc. Just saw a uv laser printer on kickstarter…that thing looked tempting as cost was quite a bit lower, but at this point I rather see how it turns out and pay a bit more if he makes it…

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Is your uncle-in-law computer savvy already? Is he using CAD already? If not, maybe some kind of pantograph would be a good idea.

Another thought I’ll throw out there: maybe a lathe-based machine with cutting axes added would be better than a 3-axis machine with rotation added.

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I would be running the machine , and I have the cad side down, and I am looking into an artcam subscription. I have used artcam 2008 thoroughly, so not to worried about the software. I have never used a 4th axis rotary, but it seemed reasonable to learn, and I know artcam is setup to do it. As well, it has jewelry modules.

I’ll look those up. Not sure what a UV printer is, but worth a gander. Is it like one of those newer style 3d printers that lifts the item out of resin and uses light to set each layer?

And again, not anti pocketnc , but for price of investment vs risk and no long term stats or guarantee, I’d rather risk a lower price.

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And ps at @polarbrainfreeze I’ll retake a look and that site. I remember it from many years ago when researching the diy thing. I remember the Joe CNCs as really popular.

One of my biggest questions is how well the Chinese cheap drivers work.


Just saw this on wish. The price is insane. Any opinions?

seem to be a whole lot in that price range on E-bay and several for fairly cheap all considered around the web. I think the expensive parts are elsewhere in the build where you need more power or more precision?

I don’t know where you’re at with this project but take a look at :

I bought one but have yet to put it together and they’ve already improved a number of things in the design. Not quite as active as this group but lively.


Can’t beat the price…

For my lack of floor space and the fact I need to cut things bigger then the forge in thicker materials, it might get me going…

I just need 5x5 capabilities

So they are shipping and in the wild?

Has anyone seen or experience with this one?

Been shipping, most communicative Kickstarter I’ve ever been in. Look at the forum, a few people were working on making the frame in smaller sizes. Some have hinged to the ceiling or wall. They are just as helpful as this group.

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