CNC Machine Build – TEP

I`ve had a couple of emails lately asking about the CNC machine on my youtube video and I believe in the background on one of my pictures. I`ve not posted much about it purely because I built it between Jan-April this year (2012) and during that period I was busy with work and for some reason didn`t take many photos in the short bursts I had in my shop.

I`ve always been nervous about a CNC machine – truth is, I`ve never known where to start!! Some of you will have seen my wooden MDF CNC build but that failed miserably as I just felt the machine was going to be useless for the money I needed to put in.

Anyway, I was trawling ebay and came across the base and axis of a TEP CNC mill. They really are a terrible machine but I thought it would be a good foundation to get me going and cost no money at all. You`ll noticed that even a complete TEP doesn`t have ANY z axis, just a solonoid spindle to lower the cutter into the work


First job was to flip the X axis – what possessed them to mount it this way around in the first place?!? I also built up a Z axis from ally bar and some leadscrew and nuts I`d harvested off an old lathe:
This was my first poor attempt to get something work – drawing a picture of peppa pig for my daughter. However terrible you might thing this was… I was jumping around my workshop for joy!

I then made the brushless DC spindle (which you can find under the links to the left) and tried to cut a door sign, which was also not good but I thought it was fab at the time:

After quite a bit of tinkering with the machine I found that I was being let down by the TB6560 3 axis stepper driver. It took quite a bit of configuring and after moving over from linuxcnc/EMC2 to Mach3, the machine was running very well!

It now stands in this state:

This is a hall effect sensor connected to Mach3 gives me a good tachometer for the cost of £1.99 (that was for 5 from china!!)

I`ve now cut a few nice pieces with it:

And some engraving which you will have seen on my “Drag Engraving” video:


Not really given it a full work out yet but I have plans brewing!!!…

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2 responses to “CNC Machine Build – TEP”

  1. John says:

    Thank you for posting this. I really like the CNC spindle that you have made. A friend and I are working on a little CNC machine and I plan to implement a design similar to the one you have made for the spindle. I will be using some equipment on campus to make it but the same 12V rail on an ATX power supply. We are using a homemade design similar to the Fireball V90 but with less quality components, used a lot of hardware store parts. Also my TB6560 is on the way. You said that it was letting you down and I was wondering if you might go into more detail, I will be using it with Linux CNC so might help. This will be my first machine but not my last. Thanks again for the post.

  2. Raynerd says:

    Hi John
    Thanks for the reply. I`m quite harsh on the TB stepper chip – it does its job just fine when setup correctly but it did take me a long time to get it setup!
    Just a note to say that the spindle recently blew the ATX supply, it just wasn`t supplying enough current. I`ve now swapped it for a £10 48A 12v server power supply and it works a treat! Keep us posted on how your cnc machine goes!

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