Folding CNC (Custom Build CNC – Part 2)

Folding CNC (Custom Build CNC – Part 2)


Finally I have gotten to talking about version 3 of the CNC router. (Want to see where I started: Part 1)I learned my lessons, pulled on my big person pants and finally did it right. Doing it right started with getting the base table right. For years I had been designing bases out of wood because welding and working with metal was intimidating to me. I know, it was a silly fear, but a fear none the less. I wasn’t sure I could do it. So, like many things, I had to just jump in and face it. I was still in the military so moving was still a big concern. This led to requirement 1:

  1. The CNC must be able to be moved relatively easily from one house to another.

Breaking Requirement 1 down a bit more

  • a.) The entire CNC should be able to be moved in one piece. (Previous builds separated down the middle, into two pieces and I had learned that this was not an optimal solution.
  • b.) The entire CNC must be able to fit through most doors as I was not always assured to have a proper garage

1a and 1b were some pretty big constraints for something measuring 5ft x 5ft and weighing at least 500lbs. After much debate and sketching, I developed a plan for a folding CNC. My design is best illustrated through a series of pictures:


Given my design I felt the only proper material to build it out of was steel. I was able to pick up lengths of 2x2in 16 gauge steel from a local supplier. I think 12ft cost me about $75 and I needed roughly 60ft which resulted in a material cost of $400. I also grabbed six heavy duty gate hinges from the local hardware store, which would be not only bolted but welded to the frame at the pivots for the legs and the cross beam:


To cut all of the beams I used a 10in Metal Cutoff Blade (Amazon Link) in my Miter Saw. To weld this contraption together I used a Hobart 230:

I’m a huge fan of this Hobart. It has been an awesome tool and will be the last welder I will ever need. What makes it so special is that it is dual voltage, 115/230. This dual voltage will allow me to weld Aluminum if I ever get the need up to. I figured, spend a little more once and get a quality tool that will fit my needs for life, than buy a cheap import store welder.

The bottom wheels were 5in polyurethane double locking casters.  I bought a set for the CNC and have subsequently bought 2 more sets for other tools.  The ones I got were:

They are rated at 350lbs each, meaning my CNC has an upper limit of 1,400 lbs… Plenty.  Before I forget, I should also tell you about how I locked the CNC in the down position.  For that, I used two eye hooks, some metal wire and a turn buckle. The turn buckle was this one:


I bolted two eye hooks onto the frame. I then connected the wire permanently to one eye hook and then to the eye hook of the turn buckle. The other side of the turn buckle could hook onto the other eye hook:

Originally I wanted to put the cable so it connected in the rear at the bottom.  However, as I played around with the geometry, I realized in order to lock the table in the down position, the cable would need to connect to the top rear.


Next, we will get into the rest of the build starting with the electronics here: