PrintNC – building a new CNC machine

“You already have a CNC-Router, why do you need another machine?”
That’s probably the number one question i got about the new CNC.

I own the old CNC-router for about 4-5 years. It was one of the first tools i bought when starting my woodworking journey. For a long time i only had a power drill, a cheap hand saw and a CNC-router.

With each year i have came closer to the limits of the machine in terms of speed, power and especially rigidity. Going deep in hardwood? Trying to get a good surface finish on non ferrous metals? Not gonna happen with my old machine.
Additonally with my weekly projects this year i pretty much had to fix something every week to keep the machine going.
I was more and more handicapped in the things i could do with the old CNC, that the urge to upgrade to a new one got bigger and bigger.

Then one day i stumbled on this website called I was fascinated the moment i saw it. It avoided all the shortcomings from entry level desktop CNC-routers that are on the market. To name a few:

  • ballscrews on all axes
  • powerful and heavy duty spindle (2,2kW water cooled spindle options)
  • rigid steel frame
  • 3D-printed parts on the parts you can get away with less tensile strength
  • able to mill non ferrous metals with ease and steel to some extent

To put it briefly, it was the best entry level machine in the price to performance category i ever came across.
The only downside is you have to dig yourself really deep into the project and have to build pretty much everything yourself.


If you want to know if this is the right machine for you, check out all the available resources. To name a few:

It is highly recommended to read through the Discord for a couple of weeks to really get into the project and find out if this machine is for you. I was hooked, so i kept planning my build.

The machine concept is fully parametric. You can customize the build to your needed dimensions.
I mainly do sheets of wood so i wanted to be able to pass a full sheet through the machine. Therefore i increased my X-axis to a work area of over 1250mm.
Due to the size of my workshop the biggest dimensions i could get away with, was a footprint of 1600mm x 1000mm.
There is a calculator on the printNC website to calculate all your machine dimensions based on your work area. It even shows you which profiles, screws and other hardware you should get.

PrintNC Calculator with my final dimensions


After i was sure about all the dimensions and parts to get, i started ordering my parts.

You can separate your hardware into two categories:

  • Locally sourced
  • bought directly in china
    • Ballscrews and ballscrew-mounts and ballscrew-bearings
    • linear guides
    • Spindle + VFD + waterpump
    • stepper motors and stepper drivers
    • inductive limit switches

You can checkout a BOM of all the necessary parts here: official BOM Link

Here is the summary of my total build costs (work in progress, will get updated as the build progresses):


linear hardware:
(2x hgr20-1400mm; 2x hgr20-800mm; 2x hgr20-250mm; 6x hgw20cc; sfu2010-1500mm; 2x sfu1610-900mm; 1x sfu1204-300mm; 1x bkbf15; 2x bkbf12; 1x bk10; 2x xb25*30-8*10; 1x xb25*30-8*12; 1x xb25-30-8*8)

stepper motors and drivers:
4x 57hs100 2,5Nm stepper motor
4x DM542 stepper driver

spindle and accesories:
2,2kW water cooled spindle
VFD 230V
80mm spindle clamp
ER20 collet set
water pump and 5m water pipe

3m of 25mm x 57mm cable chain
5x LJ8A3-2-Z/AX m8 inductive limit switch
920€ including shipping and all tax and customs
Steel tubing (machine footprint 1600mm x 1000mm)

1x 100x50x3x1625mm
3x 80x50x3x1600mm
2x 80x50x3x1000mm
2x 80x50x3x70mm
1x 80x50x3x100mm

Aluminium angle (z-axis)

80x60x4mm aluminium angle bracket
3D printer filament

2kg of PLA-filament Magenta
Power Supply

Cisco Systems WS-CAC-1300W (refurbished)
Spray paint

6x 500ml matte black
GRBL Controller

Arduino UNO (had it laying around)
Arduino UNO screw in terminals
Control PC

Raspberry Pi4 4GB
Endstop breakout board

Connects up to six inductive limit switches to your controller
Lithium grease

Liqui P000370 Moly LM 3406 LM 50 Litho HT, 400 g
total expenses1313,5€


To get an idea of the expected performance of the printNC you can watch this video of the creator of this machine:

If you have the tools and the skills to build this machine. It will give you the best price to performance ratio of all the available entry level machines.


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