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This page is about the adventures of making a CNC machine from old inkjet printers, stepper motors and MDF. The aim is to have a machine that is precise enough to use for making printed circuit boards without using the liquid-etching techniques.

I loosely base my design on the MicroCarve series of CNC machines that have had good reports about precision, ease of assembly and low cost.

Inspiration: The Microcarve MV3

The process will roughly consist of the following steps:

  • salvage the machined rods and print-head carriages from old printers (need at least 6 rods)
  • cut the sides and cross bars from MDF sheet
  • make a Y-axis table with a threaded rod and bolt
  • attach the cross bars to the sides
  • attach the Y-axis assembly to the cross bars
  • make an X-axis table with a threaded rod and bolt
  • attach the X-axis assembly to the sides
  • make a Z-axis dremel tool-holder table with a threaded rod and bolt
  • attach the Z-axis assembly to the X-axis table
  • find/buy/salvage 3x stepper motors and connect to the threaded rods
  • make/design/buy stepper motor driver boards
  • interface 3D modelling software to the stepper motor driver boards

2015 - January

Finally our neighbourhood was up for bulk-waste collection again. This time around I made a more serious effort in picking up some discarded inkjet printers and there were plenty.

discarded inject printer ready for salvaging parts

The following printer models had some useful parts:

  • Lexmark Z640 (1x 7mm rod with ink carriage)
  • Canon MP370 (1x 8mm rod from the scanner, 1x 8mm rod from the printer)