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All things associated with CNC Design, CNC Routers, CNC Cutters, 3D Printing, etc

DIY Oven Build Using a Filing Cabinet

April 26, 2016
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Cheap and extremely effective! A DIY Oven for DIY powder coating, wood drying, acrylics and plastic; you name it!

Cheap and extremely effective! A DIY Oven for DIY powder coating, wood drying, acrylics and plastic and any other idea that needs heating or baking in future.

You did what?  Hacked a filing cabinet to make a home DIY workshop oven?!

Yes, perhaps we are crazy, but this DIY oven really IS made from a standard office filing cabinet and it works like a dream!

It is great for curing electrostatic powder coating on CNC milled metal parts; melting plastics; bending acrylics; scorching wood, sealing natural bamboo wood wax and any number of other DIY projects where oven heating is required.

See more about how we made this DIY oven from a filing cabinet here.

Industrial, or even DIY hobby ovens are extremely useful in a home DIY workshop. Unfortunately, they are also usually unjustifiably costly for most small projects.

Cheap toaster ovens can be used for small scale applications as a ‘make-do’ alternative, but are often not physically large enough to fit many DIY projects.  They also usually offer very poor thermal efficiency.  A big downside when working over longer periods as the units tend to get hot inside as well as out.

We recently cut some large aluminium parts and components using our home built CNC machine. We wanted to coat the metal parts using an electrostatic powder coating system to give them a lasting professional finish. Powder coat curing however, requires parts to be heated to high temperatures for extended periods. (And strangely, the cooking department said the kitchen oven was considered off limits well before we mentioned curing powder coat paint or the carcinogenic gases they produce….)

We needed a large, cheap DIY solution. A robust, purpose built DIY oven capable of maintaining high, evenly dispersed temperatures for lengthy periods.

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Fixing a Dremel® Hand Held Rotary Drill – A Step-by-Step Guide

May 26, 2015
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Dremel® Multipro (Model 395) Rotary Drill.

There comes a sad time when all great and trusty tools in the workshop begin to die from overuse.

Murphy’s Law states that this must occur at the most inopportune time. In the case of our ever faithful hand held Dremel® MultiPro rotary drill, this breakdown just happened to be in the middle of an important PCB shaping, drilling and cutting project.  Our rotary drilling tool was mounted as a router on top of a mini CNC machine at the time.

Dremel® Hand Rotary Drilling Tool - Exploded Parts Anterior View

Dremel® Hand Rotary Drilling Tool – Exploded Parts
(Click to see our step-by-step hand held rotary drill strip down guide.)

When the problem started, the tool motor suddenly became erratic and there were problems with the variable speed control (VSC) switch. Then, the sliding switch no longer provided any motor speed control what-so-ever.  It only provided power ON at full speed – a heat blasting 35,000rpm …. and a silent OFF.  This wasn’t at all ideal for our CNC cutting project where cutter heat control was important.

So what was our obvious DIY reaction to this? Find the cause and fix the tool ourselves of course!

You can find photos showing how the internals of our Dremel® MultiPro tool looked here.  We have also provided a step-by-step dialogue on how the tool was taken apart; how the faulty part was found and replaced AND importantly, how the hand held drill was successfully put back together again!
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Making DIY CNC Clamps and Knobs – Free G-Code Download

January 26, 2015
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CNC DIY holddown clamp

Moving material blocks cause lots of failed CNC project attempts. Having ample CNC machine clamps on hand always helps prevent material movement problems.

There is nothing more frustrating than completing a lengthy DIY CNC design cut, only to find the wood or aluminium material block has moved during the program – rendering the material and entire project cut-out attempt  useless.

We “clamped down” on this problem long ago in our DIY workshop, but we always like to remind new CNC machine builders that you can never have too many clamps on hand.

The problems extending from small amounts of material slippage on a CNC table are often the hardest to identify.  The problems are often blamed on other machine components, such as faulty CNC motor driver controllers, slipping shaft joints, structural flex, or backlash.

We’ve found that many of these DIY workshop problems are solved by having ample clamps and clamping positions available for use on the machining table.  This ensures your projects stay securely in place and that they are cut correctly every time.

Hold down clamps in themselves are cheap and easy to make.  Three to six clamps made of 5-7 mm thick steel with a slight bend at one end (coated in a tough powder coat paint), is usually enough to hold wood or aluminium material blocks firmly in place for most projects.  Being made of steel, the clamps have some inherent ‘springiness’ in them making them easy to place on and off a part (unlike block aluminium clamp alternatives).

DIY CNC Hold Down Clamp Knob

Easy turn DIY CNC clamp knobs are quick, cheap and simple to make for yourself, with your own CNC machine!

Making the ‘easy turn’ DIY knobs for your CNC machine clamps is also super easy …. using your CNC machine!

With our free g-code, dxf and crv files available for download, you don’t even need to design the knobs yourself. You can download the files and import them into your CNC machine design software right now!

The downloadable knob design provided is sized for M8 bolt heads (ie: bolt shaft diameter 8mm, head hex width 13mm) embedded in 13mm thick high density plastic material, but the basic CNC machine g-code or crv design file (for Ventric and other compatible design software)  can easily be resized, recoded, or redrawn to suit other bolt sizes and material thickness’s. Read more »

Etching DIY Circuit Boards (PCB)

November 29, 2014
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PCB Screen PrintingElectronics hobbyists who have never ventured into the realms of making their own circuit boards, are missing out on half the fun.  Here, we present a quick step-by-step guide to the UV light transfer and Ferric Chloride etching method for making your own printed circuit boards.

Home DIY electronics projects can be a lot of fun for discovery and learning.  They can also be extremely useful for those  extra buttons and remote devices in your home.

What is even better, is being able sit the project components on a printed circuit board (PCB) that you also made yourself.

It is extremely satisfying seeing a finished DIY electronics project which looks so professional it could have just as easily come from the nearest electronics store.  Learning the skill of etching your own PCBs will help you obtain that same satisfaction in your home electronics projects too.

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Home DIY Electrostatic Powder Coating

November 2, 2014
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Electrostatic Powder Coating Spray Unit

DIY electrostatic powder coating requires some upfront investment in workshop equipment, but the surface coating results are worth every cent!

brush-100x100We can’t rave enough about electrostatic powder coating in our DIY workshop.

Why? Because even when most liquid paints let us down completely, electrostatic powder coat paints consistently give our metal DIY parts and projects an extremely professional looking finish.

There are no spray cans, liquid solvents or messy paint brushes involved in powder coating.

The paint is supplied as a dry, finely milled powder and applied using a specially designed electrostatic spray gun.

The array of powder coat colors available, with finishes, metallic effects and textures to suit any DIY project desire or need, is stunning. Powder coated finishes are quality coatings which are thick, vibrant and extremely scratch resistant.  They last!

With powder coating equipment available, a fully protective dimpled coating in an exotically wild metallic red or green color over a metal surface is simple to achieve – whether with or without an holographic like lustre! As is a a more conservative, yet very professional looking coating of silky matte black.

The ability to spray this level of coating quality at home expands all sorts of DIY project horizons.

Unlike liquid paints, powder paint can be applied evenly in one shoot without the risk of dripping or sagging. Over spray can be easily swept up and re-used.

Following a paint shoot, the coating is cured by heat treatment. Then, after just 20 minutes in a workshop oven …. the job is done!  The parts are good to go!
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Cat Paw Projects – Design for CNC – Free Download

October 1, 2014
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DIY CNC Cat Paw Drink CoasterRev up that CNC machine …. It is time to fill your home with DIY cat paw ideas and projects! 

We have made new DIY CNC machine designs available for download. Free home DIY cat paw drink coasters, DIY cat paw mouse pads, or DIY cat paw wall prints; the possibilities are endless.

We have provided two different design download options to allow simple CNC cutting of both DIY drink coasters and DIY mouse pads.  That means at least a joyful addition to the home coffee table, or more fun behind the computer.

Cat Paw Coffee Coaster CNC DesignWhatever project use you can think of for this versatile design, you can simply re-size the image file in your favourite vector graphics design software and CNC cut the design any size you need.

The vector graphic and GCode files are simple two level 2.5D cutouts which can be machined in the workshop in minutes.

These cat prints make great DIY gifts for cat lovers and kids.  Whether from aluminium, wood, or acrylic, they are quick and cheap to make.

We cut a matching mouse pad and drink coaster set from aluminium backed high density plastic sheet to automatically get a strongly contrasting color in our finished project (per photos). This really brought up the 3D effect we were looking for in the designs.  With a final wet and dry sand papered scratch finish on the aluminium surface, they look great!

As with other free DIY CNC design downloads from HomeDIYStuff, the design files are provided free for private, non-commercial use and are in CVR (Ventric Cut2D) and GCode text formats. (Sorry, there’s no DXF or PDF file for this specific project this time).

The free download zip files for the Drink Coaster sized Cat Paw Print design can be downloaded from here.

The larger Mouse Cat Pad Paw Print Design can be downloaded from here.

IMPORTANT: Pause, before cutting your paws! 

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DIY Parts Tumbler and Polisher

September 30, 2014
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DIY CNC parts Tumbler

Cheap and ugly, but it does a great job! Home DIY parts tumbler for finishing CNC’ed aluminium parts, polishing and deburring.

This is a home DIY parts tumbler and polisher which was made to prepare the surface of aluminium CNC machined parts prior to electrostatic powder coating.  It also has many other home DIY workshop uses.

It is a beast ugly machine which was made from JUNK, but it works brilliantly!

CNC machining often leaves burrs and sharp edges on designs cut from aluminium, especially once the CNC machine cutter bits start to dull. Using a parts polisher / tumbler is an effective way to clean up these unwanted edges, knock off burrs and round metal part corners to give that professional de-burred workshop look.

The main reason for posting photos of this DIY project is to show  that it isn’t always necessary to have expensive tools and equipment in the work shed to get excellent metal surface finishing results on DIY CNC machined aluminium parts. Professional looking jobs can indeed be achieved in the home workshop on the cheap. (And without hours of laborious use of a deburring tool!)

Tumbling and polishing makes a big difference to the final look of metal surfaces on DIY electrostatic powder coated aluminium parts.  The tumbled metal surfaces are generally left clean and even, and are generally ready for powder coating and an oven baked finish after a quick soap water wash and scrub.

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CNC Design using QR Codes – Free Download

July 1, 2014
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CNC Free design download - QRCode - I Will Love You AlwaysQR Codes (Quick Response Codes) were originally developed in Japan in 1994.  They were made to improve efficiencies in part tracking in the automotive industry.  Since then, QR Codes have touched almost every aspect of industry and daily life across the world.

The codes are essentially a clever two dimensional bar code, which can be easily read by most modern smartphones.  All that is required is installation of any number of readily downloadable QR Code scanner apps (eg: Qrafter or QR Reader for iPhone and Android, or equivalent).

The square blocks of digital information in QR Codes can be designed to hide  any text, URL link, or information, along with pictorial graphics if desired.

I recently used my own freshly created 2.5D QR Code CNC design to make a new wood block art piece.      Go direct to free CNC design download –>

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Fixing a Chinese Made TB6560 Stepper Motor Control Board

March 3, 2014
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Fixing a Chinese Made TB6560 Stepper Motor Controller Board A few relatively simple modifications made a huge difference to how my stepper motors run and how the overall CNC machine performs.  (All details and illustrations for the total fix of the Chinese made TB6560 Stepper Motor Controller Board are here.)

I am happy to share my approach with anyone else who may benefit from my project information and the photos I took.

I initially experienced missing steps, poor calibrations and intermittent axis travel problems.  The changes to the CNC driver board resulted in:

  • No more missed CNC motor steps (due to the Chinese TB6560 controller board itself)
  • Quieter axis travel and CNC motor operation
  • Calibrations that were accurate and stayed set
  • Noticeably more torque on each axis.
  • Stepper motors were no longer screaming when holding.

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Flying Japanese Ibis – Free CNC Design Download

February 9, 2014
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Flying Japanese Ibis - Free Download for non-commercial use.If you were one of our happy DIY readers who last week downloaded the free Japanese themed Soaring Ibis Bird project for home CNC machines, then no doubt you will be happy to see this post too!

We have now released the next similarly themed Japanese Ibis bird design for CNC machines in CRV, PDF and GCode file formats.

Follow the links to download the new Flying Japanese Ibis design files here, boot up that CNC machine in the work-shed and get this second bird flying!

Remember.  Check, check and re-check all CNC and software settings before you make any cuts on this project.  It saves time and materials, and potentially any damage or injuries too!

Good luck!  We hope you have as much fun cutting this DIY CNC project design, as we had making it.

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