Finally a quick video of my build

Got side tracked with my initial build, but did some tests and found that the middle was too loose, so spent a lot of time fine tuning my 3D printer, which now is as good as it gets. And along the way I had to finish off a storage area as a new home for the CNC machine, so that and other life things delayed me quite a bit, but that was a good thing since the new middle is much nicer.

I came up with a quick and dirty mount for the limit switch at the bottom of the Z axis. I’m still refining it, but once it is to a point I am satisfied I’ll stick it up on Thingiverse.

I also printed a box and super glued it to the X axis mount for the Z axis drag chain to raise the height. It was quicker than reprinting the mount. And I modified the drag chain mount for the Z axis so that it fits within the upper and lower motor mount parts.

Finally I designed a ball point pen holder using the new blank tool mount. (It would be nicer if there was a true model file for those of us without access to Solidworks:))

I’ve run some tests with the new middle and the pen and the repeatability is great, and it looks like it really is dead on.

So in the next day or two the pen will be replaces with the DeWalt router and we’ll see if there are some other things that I’ll need to tweak when actually cutting something.

I’ve put a quick and dirty video on YouTube. For the next one with it cutting with the router I should have a tripod and a better camera setup but I wanted to get this posted.

I’m using GRBL on an Arduino UNO and for the test I used bCNC, although I have been playing with ChiliPeppr as well.

Just a test file I built with some generated shapes modified to just draw at Z0 with the pen.

I’ll add some still shots in a couple of days as well.


What file format would you prefer, I thought the blank mount file I put up was universal?

There were two files on Thingiverse when I downloaded it.

an STL (which is of course universal) and Blank_Mount.x_t which is a Parasolid file. Right now I don’t have anything that reads the Parasolid file. But I’m looking at a conversion tool and have downloaded an evaluation to see how it handles the Parasolid file.

Ideally I want to see if I can pull it into FreeCAD which I’ve been working with quite a bit lately, and I haven’t checked to see if Fusion360 can import the Parasolid file and also allow exporting to something I could use in FreeCAD. I’d work with it in Fusion360 but at least on the machine where I have that installed it is very slooow compared to FreeCAD.

Not a big deal, just more challenging to do anything extensive with the .stl file.

I’ll see if I can convert the file tomorrow.


What file type would you like? I can export any file type you need. The drawing is also up you can just make it fresh, no need to convert.

When I send files out to clients parasolids are usually requested, so that is what I used here, and had done on the previous part.


Yes I have the drawing but it would be quicker to have something that I can directly import:)

Short of the FreeCAD native format the best choices are:

1 - STEP (appears to be what the FreeCAD developers / users say works best)
2- IGES (When exporting from FreeCAD they say to set IGES export to B-Rep mode, don’t know if that is important on the import side).

Either of those should be fine for those of us using FreeCAD.

Not a bit rush, but I’ll likely be looking at making a couple of custom tool mounts in the future, so having a STEP or IGES file would save me a bunch of time.

Now back to getting the DeWalt mounted and trying to get some cutting tests completed.

I think I need to go back and revisit the overall frame rails alignment. The calibration tests appear to be quite good, excellent repeatability, and everything appears to draw square but with the new middle which is perfectly square there is a small difference along the outside Y rails that I didn’t see before. Not sure if it will be a problem given the test plot results, but it needs to be addressed.

Once I get things really tuned then I plan on building a slightly larger machine, and plan on getting an extruder to do some larger format 3D printing as well. I was just able to fit the XYZ pieces on the Simple Metal PrintrBot buy placing them diagonally, and there have been a couple of other projects where having a larger print volume would have allowed me to make some parts that I passed on.

Thanks again,


Was able to convert the .x_t file to STEP.

I hadn’t played with ONshape in a bit and had received a link to a video on sharing files between Onshape and Solidworks.

I found that I can import the .x_t file and then select the entire model and right click to get the context menu and from there I can export to a number of CAD file formats, including STEP.

Did that and the part imported to FreeCAD perfectly. Previously I thought that I could only work with Onshape files so that is good to know.

This may be useful for others who need to do a conversion. Set up a free Onshape account even if you aren’t doing a lot of modeling with it, although it is pretty good and I find it to be faster than Fusion360. Onshape is much more responsive for a browser based 3D modeling tool. I just prefer to keep my files more directly under my control, so FreeCAD works well enough for most of what I’m doing at present.

I’ll be tied up for a couple of days, but then will have a new video of the MP CNC build actually cutting something:)


Here’s a couple more videos. First is another “plot” this one of the Crown .dxf file. It worked quite well, I tried some different sizes small (about an inch wide), one a little bit larger and this one.

And the next one is the first (well really the second) cut with the DeWalt router. Went very well for a first try. Nothing exciting, just a slot 5mm deep, 10 mm wide and 19mm long.

Now to zero in on a CAM package to use going forward, these were done with EstlCam, but I’m still working though some things getting used to it.

FreeCAD’s Path workbench looks promising but is in heavy development so it will be a little while before it is really useful. HeeksCAD/CNC is giving me a little indigestion on a couple of tests at the moment, again likely due to just really getting started with CNC.

I expect to have some more interesting projects up in the next week or two.