CNC In A Really Confined Space

I recently purchased a 5’x10’ Pro Avid CNC.
While I build my garage/shop the reality is, there won’t really be space for it in the building. (plus, having it run in the same space I’m working could be undesirable)

I am pretty much settled on constructing a separate shed to house the CNC. And, this brings me to where I need some input/insight.

Due to the ratio of developed square footage on my property, I’d like to keep the shed footprint to a minimum.

If I make one end wall and one side wall mostly large doors; would the CNC be servicable/operable if I leave about six inches of space between the machine and the walls all the way around?

Insights? Observations? Experiences? Considered input?

Some untested reflection: it seems like you’re building in more problems- and that’s OK: every choice is a trade. That said, I’d want to have access all the way around the machine- and 6" wouldn’t provide that.

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I wouldn’t do anything that wouldn’t let me walk all the way around, but if I was forced, I could probably give up the back end only, but thats about it.

I built mine mirror-image - cable tray on the left - and put that edge against a wall, leaving only a few inches of gap. You get used to crawling around on top of the cnc table (or under it) to get to stuff, but it works.

I would Like at least 3 feet on the sides with the back against the wall

Something else to consider is material handling and tool/accessory storage. You need to be able to load materials onto the machine and secure it to the table at least around the perimeter of the piece. You also need a place for the computer, monitor, and all the other peripherals - plus all of your tools, collets, fixtures, clamps… You get the idea. Add in a dust collector and the duct work that requires, and you can see where this is going. And you still need to be able to load and mount the material after you’ve shoehorned all of that other stuff into the shop. I only have a 4X4 machine in a 12 x 16 foot shed, and things get very tight when I need to mount large pieces.

Thanks Christopher, I get that.

Thanks JJneeb, I am bringing this up before I build.

Hmmmm, unless I can put arthritis in the past, crawling around is not something I would look forward to.

This would be ideal, and it would make the shed rather huge. I could do that, and I want to explore as small a footprint as possible. I may have to go large.

I agree concerning the material handling. The end door would open the entire end and 3-4 feet of the side from the corner of that end, with no obstructions. the opposite end could be the same. In the center I would need some posts, and between them would be more doors. So, essentially, other than some posts, the end and side would be wide open with the doors open.

I could mount the clamps and fixtures to the inside of the doors.

Hmmm, still thinking about the computer. It is a laptop.

Dust collection would be a tube coming into the building. A forced air vent would also be installed for smoke etcetera.

yeah, I have concerns about it being tight. I do wonder if the and end and side can largely be opened, would I still note significant issues???

My idea comes from freight locomotives. The long hood on them consists mostly of doors giving access to all of the machinery inside.


You spent money on a good sized CNC, now don’t cheat yourself on being able to take advantage of it. The first thing that comes to mind for me, is that I need access to all sides for clamping my material. If I HAD to make a choice, I would probably choose only the back to have limited access to, but honestly, throw the roll-up doors on all sides. Yes, it is more money, but you just spent a lot of money.

Hmmmm, not the first time I have read that access to all sides for clamping is not only desirable, it is required.

I did a quick estimate and if I left three feet of space internally on all sides of the machine the inside would be 13’5" x 17’9" and the outside dimensions of the shed 14’6" x 18’10", or 273 square feet. My city would have a stroke. If, however, I left 6 inches around the table, with wall thickness, the building footprint would be around 8’4" x 12’8" or 106 square feet. I think I could sneak that by. I am seeing it would be beneficial to move the ‘shed’ away from the shop, and a fence, thereby providing access on all four sides of the shed.

If I put two large large structural posts on each long edge of the table I could build a “floating” roof which is supported above by the posts. I could then hang doors on the posts. When all the doors are open, the ends, and sides would be fully exposed other than where the posts are located; all the way around the machine.

Thoughts on this?

What if you use your shed for another tools or wood storage and have the cnc in the garage? This is what i have done and it works out pretty well :wink: I have the same size limit as you with with sheds.

It always amuses me when I’m deciding how much to write for clarity versus how much to write for brevity I always end up writing more. Must be a Murphy sub-law.
I like your thought Jeff. We have discussed that and played mental hopscotch imagining how it would work.
My original plan was to build a shop/garage with around 1,126 square feet. And my wife and want to add on to the house with an actual master bedroom (the house is very old) of at least 400 square feet. The city stepped in and said that would develop too much square footage of the land piece. So, 400 square feet was taken from the shop to allow for the future master. Yet, I actually need that additional footage.
The work around is a shed, or sheds. In order to not catch the ire of the permitting department a non-permanent building doesn’t apply to developed square footage. This requires the buildings not grow too large, and also be constructed to a shed standard. No slab for example. Think of those large sheds you can buy at Lowes or Homeless Despot.
I have other equipment that will already be in the shop, 1+ vehicles, a lift, saws, work tables, welding, sanders, sand blasting cabinet, vapor blasting cabinet, paint booth, powder coating oven and so on. An additional shed would need to be built, (I forget the size; 8x12?) for dust collection machinery, two 80 gallon compressors, and various equipment I rarely need and want to keep.
The second shed is for the CNC.
When inspectors come for the master bedroom I want to avoid any complications/impediments to house construction. And, I want my shop.
My wife keeps revisiting putting the CNC in the shop. If I did that, I’d be building a shed for large machinery that I’d then have to move into the shop each and every time I wanted to employ them. So, I would still be building a shed for all the other tools, and the shed might be even larger. Plus, moving machines for use is a no starter.

It grinds me I couldn’t build the shop I wanted. I’m making lemonade out of lemons.
At this point, I’m imagining a shed with space around the shed, all the way around. The ends and sides would open fully except for four posts, which would NOT be on the corners of the building. The space around the footprint of the building takes the place of space around the machine inside a building.
As I describe it, does it sound workable with the CNC or am I going to encounter some serious flaw that would render the entire effort a failure?