I kinda always wanted a CNC Router/Milling machine - I like making stuff and a CNC gives you the possibility to make stuff, you cant make by hand (that easy, accurate, fast anyways). I got into 3d printing some years ago with an Anet A8, built it, modified it, had fun with it - but there was a flaw, even tough you can do a lot with 3d printing, its still only a plastic part - no real eye candy, no real engineering material.
I’m always watching other people make stuff on YouTube, partly plain entertainment, partly to gather new ideas and inspirations for my own little projects - one day, 2 months ago, i’ve seen somebody working with a CNC router, it was the MPCNC, but i didnt know that yet, i thought it was just another one off that, in the end, is more expensive than something like an xcarve but still less capable. I got interessted, looked it up, came here, read a lot about what you can do with it and finally settled in and decided to build it.
With the spark in my mind, the first thing i considered was my 3d printer - in the end, it was just the cheapest i could find, decently modified yet not the most reliable or accurate machine in the world. Long story short, I am now a proud Ender 3 owner, still cheap, still not the best, but its MILES (wow, just realized, we say “Meilenweit” even in Germany, imperial units OP confirmed) away from the trusty old Anet. Planning further, i decided to gut the Anet printer for its motors and some of the electricals - one thing i dont have to buy now. I got on sourcing parts, supplys needed and so on, sliced all the parts to the specs given in the instructions, printed out the parts list so i could check off the parts already done (highly recommended to new builders that dont know the parts in and out yet) and got printing.
The long one
So the first prints were in the making. The manual tells you, its about 115Hrs, but in reality, for most people it will be more. I did not track how long it took, but it was more in the realm of ~150 hours in the end. My strategy was to print out the big parts first, and then do the smaller ones - use your patience when you got it! The prints went smooth, i only printed during the day and carefully monitored it. It pretty much went flawless, like 2 times the nozzle was clogged but that was no big deal because the new Ender can pause a print with no issues at all - success! The parts came out very nice in my book, sure, there are better set up printers than mine, but aside from one or two test prints, i didnt do anything to it. One thing i can recommend to do is to order a large spool of filament, 5KG PLA of your favourite color is not that big of an investment, it doesnt turn bad (does it?) and you dont have to take care of the order in wich you print in order to get the most out of your filament spool. you cant print a 200gr part with 2 spools that have 100 gr each on it. lesson learned, i ended up using 3 1kg spools and some of my parts are blue instead of the black i initially wanted. doesnt look too bad in the end.
Done printing, i went ahead and began assembling the components, there are TONS of screws and bearings, its easy to lose sight yet if you understand how the machine works, its pretty straight forward. this step requires a lot of elbow grease and patience. i spent maybe 10 hours, making sure everything was as perfect as i could get it. A quick testfit confirmed, everything was going well! Going forward, more assembly, i ran into a big one. my bolts were wrong. yes, i managed to fuck up by once not wanting to cheap out - i bought internal 6 hardware to make assembly smoother and the thing just look better, but its clearly designed to work with hex heads since those are a lower profile. using these screws requires some of them to be shortened down a bit. again, not the end of the world, since i own a mini lathe - again some elbow grease needed, but thats exactly the job, minilathes exist for. The remaining things all looked very promising - its all snug, no play, but runs smoothly, i’m happy.
I just finished assembling it for the (hopefully) last time, next step: Wiring. If i get it managed, there will be coming more chapters of the story - for the time beeing, here are some pictures of the machine so far (excuse the lighting, its really bad, thats not where the MPCNC is going to live in the end)!
Edit: Forgot to mention its size! its 660x660 squared, since i want to be able to machine some aluminium and i also want to give pcb routing a go, even tough i already planned making a dedicated pcb routing machine with the help of the mpcnc!