Show us your mods/custom machines!

Calling all owners that have done mods to their machines, have extra large machines, or just an interesting use case that’s not “normal”.

We’d love to see some pictures of what you’ve got!

50 watt co2 laser attached to the spindle mount.
…cuts like a charm


Here are the mods I’ve got. If anyone needs software or stls to replicate any of these I’m happy to help:

First I have a tool height setter. I added a button to mach 4 to automatically reset Z axis homing to the spoilboard for whatever bit I have loaded. For most of my work flows this gives me much easier and more repeatable tool changes than previously.

Next I wired up an ESP32. It uploads some data about the CNC to my mqtt server. This is mainly used to automatically turn on dust collection and turn it off again a fixed amount of time after I’m done cutting to help keep the air clear.

This one is a little harder to see. Basically it is a pen holder which uses a 50mm linear rail to keep the pen still in the x and y axis, but allow a little bit of motion in the z axis. The z travel lets me write on surfaces like fabric that aren’t completely flat. I also have magnets in there to reduce force of the weight of the pen. Without that many tip types would quickly get deformed.

Lastly I have the 5 watt OPT laser.

I’m currently experimenting with a vacuum hold down system, but I haven’t finished it yet. It’s a little weird that I seem to be spending more time making parts for the machine than I do making actual projects.


The jury is still out on this — I mounted my tool forks sideways on the front to preserve work area.


I think that is a good idea! It can still allow you to cut a full 8’ sheet on a 4x8.

Some of this I’ve posted before, but here’s a summary of my custom machine…

This is an Avid frame and moving parts, but with my own servos (salvage), custom servo drives, LinuxCNC, CNCDepot ATC spindle, laser, and a few other niceties. My setup is mirrored, though - the cable way is on the left (AVID - make this an official option please! :slight_smile:

The Z carriage has a local air manifold for the ATC and laser, plus one spare. The laser uses Avid mechanicals but it’s a laser we already had before Avid started doing lasers. Note I had to make a bracket to move the laser away from the spindle and up so it doesn’t hit the tools in the tool rack (I still need to make a longer laser carriage so it can deploy further down). I used the extra space to mount a pen microscope.

A good shot of two of the servos (NEMA 34 160V) and one of the springs that offsets the weight of the Z carriage. They’re strong enough to keep the Z from dropping down when power is removed. They’re also one of the reasons I had to move the laser.

The ATC uses a fixed tool rack at the back of the machine, along with a toolsetter to measure the tools. The mounts are 3D printed so if anything goes wrong, they break first. It’s happened often enough that I put some foam insulation under them to catch them WHEN it fails.

This is the mess of custom electronics I still need to put in a box. Mains power comes in in the upper right, circuit breakers split it into four branches, contactors and power supplies (upper left) control everything. Big PSU in the middle is for the servos, spindle VFC in the far upper right. Middle left are the four servo drives. Center and lower right are the Mesa board, relays, and other stuff. Power switch center front.

This should be standard :slight_smile: