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Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Official support for products purchased from the BuildYourTools.com and BuildYourCNC.com sites, and the book "Build Your Own CNC Machine (Technology in Action)" by Patrick Hood-Daniel and James Floyd Kelly.

Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby lorne » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:16 pm

I started off with a power drill, but I found it very difficult to drill perfectly perpendicular holes. Required too much skill/patience. I got a hold of an old, low end drill press which made life much easier.

I think the same holds true for the table saw. If you could borrow one you'll find you can make far more precise cuts than will a skill saw. Otherwise, you could go to a local Home Depot with your list of pieces and they can do it for you (I think the first 3 or 4 cuts are free before you pay per cut).

I bought a 12" INCRA ruler which I now use ALL the time. A small mitre box with hack saw are essential for cutting the aluminum rails. You'll also need a 5/16" tap for the BRA's. Also, I bought a set of Forstner drill bits for the counter bore holes (mostly used the 3/4" and the 1-1/8").

Hope this helps. I've had so much fun building this thing. I'm at the point where I need to buy the motors and electronics, which seems to be the most expensive investment, so I'm saving up a bit.

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Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby Awesomeness » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:37 pm

1. Yes, you can build it.
2. Yes, it is easier if you have the non-hand versions of tools, like a drill press and table saw instead of power drill and circular saw. It takes time to develop the skills necessary to drill straight holes by hand, etc.
3. Yes, you have some clever options if you can't get access to a drill press and table saw.
4. Generally speaking, if you are a careful, detail oriented person, you should have no concerns about building this machine successfully.

Ok, so now that that is out of the way, here is what I suggest...

There are two tools that will help you drill perfectly perpendicular holes.

The first is a tool that was sold by a company in the '60s and '70s, called a Portalign ( Portalign Manual ). They went out of business 25 years ago, but there are modern equivalents out there for about $30, such as the Craftsman Drill Guide. This will let you drill perfect holes, although it gets a little tough to use as you get near the edge of a board, where the support ring can't sit on a wide patch of wood.

The second, is like a mini drill press, that clamps your hand power drill into it. They don't have much throat/reach, but they will do well near the first couple inches at the edge of a board. So essentially they work in the area where the Portalign fails. They run about $40, such as the Craftsman Drill Press Stand and Flex Shaft Holder. They also make them for Dremel tools, such as the Dremel Tool Drill Press, but that would not let you use as big of bits as you need.

There is a 3rd option, and that is to buy a cheap drill press. Personally, I consider Harbor Freight tools junk, and buy them only when I need them for a one-off use, and consider them disposable. They sell a few cheap drill presses, such as this one that costs $79 but you can usually find it on sale or with a coupon for about $50-60.

I would also recommend the Harbor Freight Self-centering Doweling Jig, for $13, to help get your holes in the EDGES of the board perfect.

My final suggestion is for cutting well with a hand-held circular saw. They make "trolley" systems that let your hand-held saw ride on a piece of aluminum angle, such as the $110 PSI Woodworking PPS-2 Panel Saw. Of course, if that is too expensive, you could just run the edge of your circular saw along a regular piece of aluminum angle, or possibly even a very straight board.

A lot of handheld drills come with a bubble level on the back now, too, such as the standard $45 Craftsman 3/8" Power Drill. That would be the crudest method, but could allow you to drill holes well enough for this project.

And I agree with the final suggestion above, that Home Depot and Lowes will cut things for you cheap or free. If you came back with your board (and receipt showing you bought it there), you could probably get a handful of cuts done free each trip.

I hope that info helps.
- Guido

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Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby bajaru » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:36 pm

How about one more option? Perhaps there is someone in your area that already has a working BlackToe 4 x 8. Perhaps that person would cut all the MDF (or birch ply, or whatever) for you, which would save you a lot of time and maybe that person wouldn't charge you a whole lot to do it. (Actually, I think if someone gets the plans from Patrick, you're not allowed to charge much for cutting out the parts.) I dunno. It's just an idea.

I live on the central coast of California. If you're nearby, let me know and I'll cut the parts for you. If not, it would probably cost a to ship all the materials to you, but that's an option as well. I'm thinking there's gotta be someone near you though.

-Brian

Pa sez: "Keep your flesh away from rapidly spinning metal things."
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Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby Awesomeness » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:40 am

Brian,
That's a good point. It's also the basis of 100k Garages. Check it out.

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Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby keith » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:42 am

Nancy one thing that you are going to need is PATIENTS!

I agree with all the above comments that you WILL be able to build it. Drilling holes into the ends of the pieces is probably going to be the hardest however using a bit of ingenuity you can make a VERY accurate jig using a few Erwin Clamps and a 12" long spirit level available from Home Depot or any hardware store.

You will need lots of clamps anyway so buying a few to use for this jig is not a waste. Try your local recycling centre and see if they have any angle aluminium; combined with a few clamps and presto you have a straight edge.

If you take a look at this video on YouTube Bob Schmidt making straight cuts with a homemade jig .

Please take the time to watch Patrick’s tutorial videos; in some of them you will see the tools that he made his first machine with, sometimes working in his bathroom, presumable to contain the dust/mess. He did it I am sure that you can too.

Remember Patrick did not have the support of all of us!!! Any more questions just post again.

The Titanic was built by professionals; the Ark was built by Amateurs..........
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Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby jeff » Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:18 pm

Hi Nancy. I have about gathered all the info to build a cnc from here. I am gathering also the parts. I beleieve without a doubt that anyone can build one of these with the bare tools. Just look at what Patrick did and in his house too, man I bet the mdf dust was terrible. The video that Kieth linked of Bob Schmidt is what I have done for a couple of years now due to not enough room in my garage for a table saw. It works great. Also I have a drill press but they make drill guides that you clamp to the wood that you use with a regular drill, I have seen them at Home Depot. I think that the building part is the fun part, kinda like the going on a trip half the fun is the ride there, but as somone said be patient.One thing I enjoy also is needing a new tool and then you buy one as you go and learn about that. Some people may laugh when they read this but I dont mind mistakes and when I do make one it makes me work my brain and solving skills. And everyone has and will make mistakes. Also one more thing that will be a valuable tool at least for me is a camera for those times when you just cant explain what your talkin about to all the great builders on here. I dont know if there is a way to post pictures on here but you can host them on photobucket and show the link here. This forum is a valuable tool also and post every question you have , as I am goin to because it not only helps me but maybe it will help somone else too. Anyway good luck and dont be afraid to start or afraid your gonna make mistakes. Just my $.02

Jeff

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Re: Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby Argus » Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:55 am

Not to be flippant, but IMHO in building a 4x8, the single most used tool is good electric screwdriver.

I grant you it hardly qualifies as an essential, but the savings in time, sweat and general bother are incalculable.

If I were to do it all again, and felt no pressing or moral need to DIY everything from wood, I'd hit the yellow pages and look up an industrial shelving/racking supplier and get a quote on a heavy duty work bench of the right size. The quote I had from Dexion for a custom unit with extra reinforcing, came out about even for what we ended up spending on materiel's for our table. That just leaves the top to make and fit, which is mostly flat work that a circular saw, a pistol drill and an electric screwdriver should handle with ease. Even if the sides needed boxing in, again that is mostly flat work.

To extend the list a bit, a set of 8"/200mm vernier callipers, a large 6 or 12" square, a meter/yard steel ruler and the longest builders spirit level you can afford are all very helpful for setting up, levelling and calibrating both the table and the machine. Doing a steps per inch check against marker dots on the table with tape measure is not hard, but reading direct off nice long scale is easier. :)

shane
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Re: Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby kevinl » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:37 pm

i think most people can make some form of the DIY machine.. it just takes some patient and a good bit of layout or prep work on your personal design or just jump in and purchase one of patrick kit's..
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Re: Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby Awesomeness » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:14 pm

Argus wrote:Not to be flippant, but IMHO in building a 4x8, the single most used tool is good electric screwdriver.


Very true. A power drill or electric screwdriver is almost a must. Don't forget to buy some #3 Phillips bits, which are the correct size for Patrick's screws (the "normal" size Phillips is a #2, so these are noticeably larger). ;)
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Re: Woodworking Newbie with Limited Tools - Can I do this?

Postby lonetreecreations » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Small magnets from Harbor Freight for holding the cross dowels was a Godsend for me.
Also a doweling jig is a must have as well. The magnets are small neodymium magnets
sold in an 8 pack for crafts or whatever. I think they were $2. I use them to hold
on my brush on my dust collector shoe, and the back hatch on my gantry X motor access.

Here's the link to the doweling jig you'll need: http://www.harborfreight.com/self-cente ... 41345.html
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