Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) is a machine based on a stepper motor that can move according to the commands given by a computer. The movements are precise so they can be used to form certain materials precisely. This CNC is widely used in the industrial field to support the production of certain parts (ex: car/machines spare parts), art workers (wood/stone carving), SMEs (acrylic cutting), or just for a hobby.
If you buy a DIY CNC, you need to build it first. If you at this step, you can read this article for more detail. After finish assembling, you can try these steps to configure/calibrate your machine
- Run a GRBL streamer software. You can use Grbl Control, GRBL Controller, Candle, UltimateCNC, or others. Even you can use Hyper Terminal or Putty at this step, but it’s not recommended if you are not mastering GRBL command
(note: in this article I use UtimateCNC, you can download it here freely)
- Check your GRBL initial configuration by typing the’ $$’ command in the console. Look at the result shown on your display
- Set Axis direction. At this step, you can set axis direction depends on your hardware (stepper motor) set up. Try these configurations, until you got correct direction regarding the navigation button in GRBL software. See picture below
enter one of above configuration using command $3=value in the console (ex: $3=6)
- Set speed of the stepper motor. You can do this step by entering the command below for each axis in Console
- Distance calibration. This point is the main calibration step, so please be careful to run this step or your CNC will less precisely moving or move incorrectly at all.
First, check initial configuration using ‘$$’ command, then noted the value in $100, $101 and $102 configuration.
Second, press navigation right-button, then see the movement of the X-axis. Measure with the ruler then check if it’s correct or not. If it shows incorrect distance, then try to enter command ‘$100=value’ (X-axis) in the console, with ‘value’ is how many steps are required to move the machine related to distance. You can trial and error entering the value until you got the right distance
Tips: you can look at this calculator to enter the correct value
For Y-axis and Z-axis, doing the same way to calibrate, with ‘$101’ dan ‘$102’ command
After doing all the above steps, please try to move each axis manually (using the navigation button on the software). After the axis move, try to double-check it with your ruler. If everything okay, your CNC should move in the right direction with precision distance. To make sure, you can open a GCode file then run it. Your CNC will start ‘dancing’ follows the command in that file 🙂