Here, we bring again yet another interesting and one of the most popular project among mechanical engineering students – 3 axis CNC machine! Yes, you read that right. I know that they are hugeee and expensive but here we bring a smaller and a little cheaper version of it, but nonetheless, a CNC machine! So lets get on with it..
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is the automation of machine tools by means of computers executing pre-programmed sequences of machine control commands. This is in contrast to machines that are manually controlled by hand wheels or levers or mechanically automated by cams alone. In modern CNC systems, the design of a mechanical part and its manufacturing program is highly automated.
The mechanical dimensions of a part are defined using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, and then translated into manufacturing directives by Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. The resulting directives are transformed (by “post processor” software) into the specific commands necessary for a particular machine to produce the component, and then are loaded into the CNC machine. Since any particular component might require the use of a number of different tools – drills, saws, etc. modern machines often combine multiple tools into a single “cell”. In other installations, a number of different machines are used with an external controller and human or robotic operators that move the component from machine to machine. In either case, the series of steps needed to produce any part is highly automated and produces a part that closely matches the original CAD.
Don’t forget to watch the video at the end of article!
Design of CNC Machine
The whole machine is made of Aluminium square bars to have strong rigid structure. The choice was simple, since aluminium has low density and has a remarkable ability to resist corrosion through the phenomenon of passivation.
The design is first implemented in SolidWorks, which looks like this –
Parts for CNC machine –
Here is a list of some of the parts used for this project –
- Stepper motor
- Acne screw & nut drives
- Allen bolts
- Wing nuts
- Male-Female connectors
- DC Spindle motor
- Linear guides/bearings
- Flange bearings
- CNC controller
- Micro limit switches
- 12V DC Power supply
- Pin connectors
Suggested project for you – Design and Fabrication of Solenoid engine
Working of 3 axis CNC machine –
First, the design has to made in a CAD software. You can design in any software you are most familiar with such as SolidWorks, Fusion 360, CATIA etc.
After that, the CAD design must be converted into CAM type. For this, we have used Autodesk Fusion 360 because it is very simple to use!
The file is thus saved in .nc format, a file type which is compatible for CNC machines, which can be read by CNC control softwares.
For operations and automation of CNC machines, there exist special software. One of them is UGS, a free open-source software. After uploading the file, you can visualise the CAM file. The last step consists of connecting the Arduino to your computer and selecting the firmware and setting up the connection with UGS.
At last, you are good to go and start machining after some pre check-ups 😉
Here’s a video of our CNC machine project in action –
Also, here is list of 100s of projects for Mechanical Engineers!
If you want to buy the project parts or project kit, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
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