Machine base (aka table)

Hi all,
what is the most practical yet technically optimal suggestion for the base of the machine, the table or structure that the MPCNC will rest on? MDF, plywood, a timber frame, aluminium extruded profile frame, … ?

Of course, it depends, as always, on the demands and goals. This ranges, in my case, from 2D-milling of MDF, PVC, various woods and alumimium, 3D from polyurethane foam to wood, and moreover a somewhat open construction to also make mortises and tenons. 4D milling not excluded for the future.

I’ve seen many examples of your working machines, what would you reommend as an optimal solution, if there is any? Also keeping in mind that the leveling should be easy, and that a sacrificial board should be easily placed and replaced. -

Side-requests: The machine should be mobile, yet have a solid standing, maybe even stowable in an upright position. Oh yes, I opted for a 20" by 30" size.
Sorry for my non-native English terminology!

Thanks and cheers!


This is what I keep using,, but it is far form “ideal”. I Think I will end up welding together as a removable leg type base for this. I do like the 2x4 wood top and once it is built (to keep it square I build the top as one piece), I cut it so I can replace the center section easily.

It would be nice to have wheels, or removable legs. There are some smaller gorrila racks at my local hardware store for $40 that would make a great base for these. Or if you want to spend a little extra there are the flat top rolling toolboxes with 1-2 drawers and a tool storage area.

I am always looking for a better solution, but 2x4’s are so cheap and easy to work with it is hard to beat.

Thanks, of course I had seen that before. My carpenter’s skills still have some headroom, my work would probably rather resemble a Picasso drawing. But it gives me some ideas. First pictures in the neighbourhood of this,

So I have actually put a lot of thought into this because i live in a small apartment and can’t have my table out an about so I found this table. I like this table because it is made to be very stable (its a router table) but folds up. On thing I also liked is the exchangeable top. obviously I’ll need to work out a top that will work just right for the MPCNC but i think the potential for this will be great.

I like that table. I want to make these on just a flat top an be able to either stack them on gorilla racks or put them on a base, this looks like it would work great for that.


Had the idea of folding the table up (around an axis through the cog, more or less) too. Folding the rails is not so promising, but the whole table could be swept up. Or lifted and stacked in a rack (Ryan, pls design a mostly printed fork lift!). I got a simple large plywood board now that I enforced (not really necessary for 21 mm thick birch playwood) with 40 by 80 (mm²) timber beams. But that frame is a good base for legs or hinges or… If the room is high enough, one could also winch up the whole affair to the ceiling.

More on my table real soon.


I drove a forklift For more years than I care to admit to pay for school…I really don’t want anything to do with them. Even though it never stopped feeling like I was getting paid to drive a go-cart.

The ideal of an angled mill seems promising, it even pretty much handles the cutting debris without a vacuum! Maybe even mounted on the wall (why not)???

My MPCNC is vertical. Well…almost. the cnc is built, I am now in the process of building the “table”. My table has a vacuum built in to hold down the work piece. It will be at 70 degrees. My milling dimensions are 48x48. This puts my table with extensions at 54x60. I want my table a little long for a possible add on later.

Basically, it’s a matter of renaming two axes. Plus some remedies to keep things at their place. You have to do that anyway, but the added asymmetric influence of gravity has to be regarded. As Ryan remarked, getting rid of the debris is potentially a bit simpler.

Guys, how do you stick the material to the table? My ideas are:

  1. Drill some holes in the MDF which i use as table with some thread. Then use some fixators, screwed into this thread. But, making thread in the wood does not look reliable.
  2. Drill some holes and use something like a metal threaded collars, glued or fixed in the table holes. (i’ve seen something of that kind somewhere)

are there any better/simplier ideas?

I just use screws and clamps. I use the plastic printed hold downs where I think the router might go, the metal ones I use where I know the router will not get close, or where the dust shoe has to pass over.

Google Photos

I have also used superglue and painter’s tape. Put tape on your spoil board and on your material being cut. Then a bunch of superglue on one piece of tape and spray quickset on the other. Press the two pieces of tape together and hold for a second. So far nothing has come off, and even if your tabs get cut off, inside cut out pieces will stay attached.

This is how I attached the piece of acrylic in this video.

Thanks Barry! Thats an interesting method using glue, need to try this also :slight_smile:
Regarding the metal fixings - how do you mount them to your board? I suppose there are no nuts underneath, or ?

Forgot to tell one important argument - in my case I assembled the CNC on the MDF board, which is supposed to be put on the other table, so it is supposed to be flat on the bottom. That’s why nuts on the bottom side do not suit me. I need something that will not increase height of my board… Mmm, maybe thats my problem, but I wanted to make CNC as portable as possible…

No nuts, I just use screws wherever. I’m sure eventually it will mess up my table too much, but the spoilboard takes the brunt of it. When it comes to that, I’ll just use the router to surface off the table top and glue a new piece in place. You’re going to have a hard time keeping your machine flat without a sturdy table underneath your mdf. Not sure where you live, but some hardware stores sell slatwall that you could cut to fit your cut area. This would give you basically a row of t-tracks that you could use for hold downs.

I have a couple of posts in the hardware section that might be useful. The first is a folding plywood table built using pocket hole joinery. The second is a U shaped tub, machine base of MDF and a spoil board.

Is there any reason not to simply fix everything to a 3/4" MDF sheet and place it on the floor to use it? I can’t think of a mode stable surface than a concrete floor…

@David, but is the concrete floor flat? Most aren’t.

I assumed it was flat… it looks like it, but I guess I should go do a level test.

I’m trying to find out more info on tables, but didn’t want to start another thread so I dug up this one.

Barry, you mention having a table underneath the MDF, are you referring to a tabletop? As in the top having two layers, a top and then the MDF?

Also, the main page instruction set for a table says to screw down the top (does not specify if this is MDF) and then “cut the center out” so that everything stays square and you end up with a removable portion. How is this cut achieved? A skill saw?

Also, I see no mention in the instruction for any workpiece hold down features. In a lot of videos, and even the main table image you see evenly spaced holes that look to be about 3/4". I’ve seen videos of pipes being inserted into holes like this. Where would I find specifications for this layout, and a description of how to use it?


Skill saw is what I used.

Hold downs depend on what you are doing. I just screw to the table or clamp to the edges. I have drilled 9 large holes before so I could put clamps in the middle of the table, but screws are way easier.

I suggest not inserting nuts into the table, you will eventually need to replace your table so that is a lot of wasted time and space, maybe drill the holes for it and only insert a nut if you need it and only from the bottom, not the top. It is a sacrificial board and will get cut into, you do not want to hit a steel nut.

For some things I just but a weight on top, others just double sided tape. The method depends on your use and expectations.

I would say do not over think it and just start using it. You will figure out what you need and can CNC a new table for yourself.

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The build in the image isn’t a MPCNC (well, it is a mostly printed CNC in progress, but not the MPCNC), but I built the table with a miter saw and a bunch of Simpson strong ties for about $120. This table is 9.5x5.5ft, so for something the size of a typical MPCNC you could probably do the same for around $80 (half the cost was the strong ties). Don’t wuss out on building a table – it’s by far the most important part of the build.


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