CNC wich one


DESi Customs
Silver Member
Thanks Gary, yes it is my long travel and they will be square rails. I can find plenty of 15mm at a "decent deal" but the 20-25 are harder to find in a decent length.



Jake<built cues for fun
Silver Member
If you research load ratings you will find that 15mm rails are more than adequate for anything in cue building. The load your carrying around as well as cutting force is pretty much non-existent when dispersed among 4 trucks.

I tend to like 20-25mm for pretty much everything but its only for my psyche as the real #'s prove that there overkill.

I'd also agree with away from un-supported round rails.


"no buds chill"
Silver Member
BEst advice ever...

"...plug it in and actually do something right now"? Thanks for the chuckle. There's almost no end to the local individuals/companies who call me for consulting help after they've followed this exact advice. Unless you have a decent understanding of CNC - both programming and operating the machine - the only thing you'll be doing "right now" is turning it on and jogging the axes around while you're wondering where the hell to go next.

I've built a good number of 3-axis & 4-axis machines for around 30% - 40% of your $10k budget through online auctions (for parts) and a decent shop in which to fabricate components that can't be purchased. That would leave you a decent bankroll for software, and by the time you finish the machine you'll have so much more understanding of CNC than you ever would buying some "plug-and-play" unit you could have built yourself for significantly less money.


This right here is the reality of it.

There are some videos on using say adobe inventor to make the wireframe's then converting to other formats that can be used by like Mach3 or cadcam.

However, even those really just get you started and it will take hours and hours of messing with the software and getting your process down to actually do even a simple operation.

Milling intricate pockets with 15 thousandths bits ain't no plug and play



"no buds chill"
Silver Member
The easiest startup is using a drill press or mill.

The gantry will end up weighing more than you might think at this point. I assume you are using square rails and not round or supported round rails? Unsupported round rails sag and bend - even at 20mm - and I've used them. Supported are better, but still I think square/rectangular are best.
Circling back to the original question, is your X-axis the long axis? If so, I'd say 20mm is the minimum, 25mm would be better.
Now if your X axis is the short axis and 600mm works for you, PM me, I've got a pair of brand new 45mm that I'm not going to use.
My 2 cents,

Get a drill press or mill, securely mount it. Use one motor for depth control in place of the hand press, use a bed on top of a bed for X and Y. Mount a CNC rotational chuck you can get on Ebay for a couple hundred bucks for the 4th if you want one, although I would get used to using 3 axis routing operations before I try doing 4 axis.

Then you don't have to worry about gantry weight cause you're not using one.

Never mind I thought you were talking about the Z axis, not the X

I prefer to use round supported rails mounted upside down to the bottom of the bed with the linear bearings mounted to the static surface.



AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here's a machine that can be built for under $5k - I know because I built it just over a year ago. I used high-quality linear tables found online and a Chinese indexer (which I had to completely rebuild). The cuemaker who owns it provided the NSK air spindle. He loves the system, and now uses it for his main CNC machine station. Jake Hulsey and Royce Bunnell have both seen it in operation, and could give their own assessment regarding self-build vs turnkey-buy.



I know this is a super old post but can anyone share more information on the components used in this build?