Modified X-Carve and Custom 4-Axis CNC Controller

Here is my fully customized X-Carve!
I originally bought it in 2015 but I didn’t do much with it during College. Fast-forward to 2017, I found myself wanting a machine capable of handling demanding production run, better 3D carving, and to do it all on an Open Source platform as to make future expansions possible.

I quickly ditched the TinyG GRBL shield w/Arduino Uno and pick up some control cards from Mesa, specifically the 7i76/5i25 card combo.

With Mesa cards, you need to run LinuxCNC or MachineKit to talk to the FPGA controlling the CNC. so I download a 32-bit kernel of Linux (Wheezy 2.7.14) to an older dual core Pentium II PC with a trivial amount of RAM.

The design files can be found by going to my GrabCad and Thingiverse pages –

The bill of materials is listed below –

1 7I76-5I25 PLUG-N-GO KIT
1 DROK LM2596 Analog Control Step-down Regulator Module
1 DC Fan (120mm x 120mm x 25mm 24V)
1 Mesh Dust Filter for 120mm Fan
3 DIN Rail
1 IEC320 Inlet Power Socket
4 KL-5056 Stepper Motor Driver – 32 bit DSP Based
1 Emergency Stop Button Switch
25ft 4 Pin Cable
1 Antek Linear Power Supply – 500W 30V 16A Peak 25A
3 Wall Outlets from Home Depot Find ones you like / feel are safe enough using
16ft Led Strip Lights
1 Misc. Hardware Nuts, Bolts, Standoffs, Crimp Connectors, Spare Fuses, 2 Extra Limit Switches
2 Ogrmar SSR-25 DA Solid State Relay with Heat Sink
1 18 AWG Gauge Stranded Hook-Up Wire Kit
~30pcs Heat Shrink Tubing
1 Shop-Vac
7 Uxcel 16mm Thread 4-Pin Panel Mount Wire Connector
2 8 Circuit 20A Terminal Block

If you’re considering this upgrade, you should know that LinuxCNC is VERY picky about the computer hardware you run it on.

My advice advice to you would be to go read through all the forum posts on

Pay special attention to all the information about GPU compatibility. Also, disable your computer’s power saving features and start with a computer that has only the bare essentials in it.

Getting stuck for three weeks because you didn’t notice how the after-market sound card was trashing your latency numbers isn’t a good time.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions about my X-Carve or LinuxCNC, you can comment here or email me, and I’ll do my best to help!

X-Carve CNC Router

Okay, so I caved. The previous CNC machine was sold to pay for a new Macbook back in 2014, and it was collecting dust for a while so I didn’t feel too bad about getting rid of it… I saw the need to get a new router when I started brainstorming for my Full Body 3D Scanner V2…. I wanted to cut the huge pieces that were over 2′ in either direction on this new router.

I eventually decided to pre-order an X-Carve kit, and assembled it over a few weeks with my girlfriend! It works very well, my only gripe is that the GRBL firmware it runs off isn’t exactly real-time. G-code is streamed to the controller through a local server on my computer that relays g-code generated from the X-carve website. It’s very complicated to make this router 3D carve, but Mastercam should be able to create g-code for it!

Anyway, here it is!

Build Your Own CNC Bluechick 3.1 Kit

For my 14th birthday, I received an unassembled CNC machine kit!

This kit required me to get very creative and I learned a lot during the 5 months it took me and my dad to build it.

September 18, 2010: Mechanically done for the most part.

Nov 21, 2010: Making a router holder for my own router at school
I recommend turning your sound down before viewing the above link.

The router really is too big, I’m going to make another mount for a smaller one later on.

Nov 29, 2010: Steppers mounted and my Ubuntu rig has EMC^2 and Mach3 on it.

Additionally, my dad and I mounted the power supply and the stepper controllers to a sheet of 1/4″ Plexiglass.

Dec 3, 2010 –
I now have made a new mounting bracket made for a much smaller router. It looks fantastic if I do say so myself.

Feb 2, 2012 –
Here’s a video of the CNC making a puck for my Unhappy Skate longboard slide gloves!
[Removed until I find this video again… (2/18/18)]