CNC Machine

AKA The Nimbus

Front view.


Machine Type

Work Area

  • X – 46″
  • Y – 24″
  • Z – 5.5″


Controller case outside.

Rockcliff controller with power supply inside a stripped out fuse panel box.



  • 3x 270 oz-in. Bipolar Stepper


  • Bosch Colt router

A nice variable speed router in tool holder with an adapter made from thick walled PVC pipe.

  • Collet set (1/8″ & 1/4″) from PrecisionBits/Think&Tinker

Bosch doesn’t have an 1/8″ collet, so I had to get one from a third party. Both sizes seem better than the one that was supplied.


  • Custom Pendant

A USB keypad and E-stop button inside single electical box makes an easy pendant controller. The cord is surplus from an old keyboard and can stretch to the opposite end of the machine.

  • Relays for 120V control

Dual relay board from eBay connected to an outlet. Definitely needed to stop router when E-stop pushed. Also to turn router on/off from controller and g-code. The extra outlet can be setup to control a shop-vac, if needed.

  • An extra E-stop button

A single E-stop button wasn’t enough. One is mounted next to the keyboard and one on a stretch cord to reach to the end of the machine. It wasn’t overkill to have more than one.



My desire for my own CNC machine started by seeing neat stuff at I attempted to build my own based on other designs, but it didn’t work out due to limited space and lack of tools. After I moved to my own house, I ordered a kit for Joe’s Model 2006 R2  in early 2009 (tax refund time). My reason were that the forum provided plenty of help and it could mill it’s own parts and reproduce itself (if needed).

By 8/18/2010, the kit was assembled, painted and together in the lab, but needed the motors mounted and wired to the controller. It also needed its own computer setup. I kinda screwed a few things up. Mostly drilling some of the plastic pcs. with a 1/4” drill instead of tapping with 1/4-20 and putting a nice twist in the table when glued together. Oh, and one of the motor mounts is a little fucked up, but since forced into submission.

I fell into the usual trap of getting a bargain computer that turned out to be more trouble than anything. In the end I thing it fried itself. Luckily my former employer went out of business  and I was able to annex my work computer.

The machine is finally operational, at least testing-wise, on 7/5/11. Several things still need to be done, such as setting up a cutting tool, a spoil board and addition supports.

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