HobbyCNC Blog

1000th DIY CNC Plan Downloaded!

I'm delighted to share that we just had the 1,000th download of our DIY CNC plans! I have such fun with my home-built machine that I wrote-up the plans, documented all the dimensions and assembled it into 72 pages of instructions. It is a pleasure and an honor to see...

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PC Board with Solder Mask

One of the things I like to use my DIY CNC router for is to make PC boards using the isolation routing technique. My latest prototype is Isolation routed PCB with solder mask for an opto isolator board to be used with the HobbyCNC Pro when the user experiences "false...

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The Power of Checklists

I've started using checklists. A few nights ago I made a small, careless mistake and wrecked one of my nice 60 degree milling bits (at $14 a pop). My 'favorite' mistakes include: restarting LinuxCNC and forgetting to reload my program forgetting to connect the probe...

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Where has all the power gone?

Making sure your stepper motor wiring is robust and secure is critical. Most (all?) stepper motor driver instructions include the warning "do not connect/disconnect motors while power is applied". Curious why? A brief-yet-incomplete intro to stepper motors is...

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We all make misteaks

I recently assembled 5 PRO 4-axis boards. I'm pretty careful. I follow directions. I am quite familiar with the boards. Only 60% (three out of five for you non-math types) worked first time! Oh the shame.  Careful(er) visual inspection revealed the problems: One...

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Tech Support – The Voltages Are All Wrong!

Had an interesting tech support problem last week. The customer was measuring wrong voltages all over his HobbyCNC board. The 5 Volt test point measured 4.85 Volts. The test point should be between 4.95 and 5.05 Volts (5 Volts +/- 1%). The output of the LM317HV should...

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To Shield or Not To Shield (your wiring)

Should you use shielded wire or not? I don't use any shielded wire on my DIY CNC, and I haven't had any noise or 'phantom triggers'. I do notice interference (like a 'fuzzyness') on my computer monitor when I hit the power to my stepper motors, however, but that is...

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KiCAD, FlatCAM and milling slots in a PC Board

I needed a quick-and-dirty 36VDC unregulated linear power supply to drive some HobbyCNC boards on my test system. I wanted the bridge rectifier to mount directly to the PC board.  The beefy bridge rectifier that I had in my stock was the type with the large spade-type...

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KiCAD and FlatCAM to isolation route PCBs

As a follow-up to my last post on Autodesk and Eagle, I did my first PCB isolation routing using the KiCAD and FlatCAM to LinuxCNC toolchain. I did schematic capture and board design on KiCAD and Gerber-to-GCode on FlatCAM. It took a few hours to get somewhat...

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Eagle and Autocad

One thing I use my DIY CNC machine for is milling PC Boards (it's technically called "isolation routing"). This is fairly fast, inexpensive, accurate and uses zero nasty chemicals. I'd been using Eagle Schematic & PCB design software. Great product, works very...

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