Category Archives: DIYLILCNC


Hardboard, Computer, Motors, Electronics
24″ x 36″ x 36″
2009 – ongoing

DIYLILCNC (aka lil’ CNC) is a set of plans for an inexpensive, fully functional 3-axis CNC
mill that can be built by an individual with basic shop skills and tool access. The
project was co-authored by myself and Chris Reilly.

CNC devices are used to fabricate precise physical copies of digital 3D models. These
devices come in two major flavors: additive and subtractive. Additive tools, such as the
Makerbot, build up a model by adding material to empty space. Subtractive tools, like
DIYLILCNC, start with a block of material and carefully carve it away to produce a result.

The DIYLILCNC can be built for around $700. This cost includes all the stock hardware and
sheet material used in construction. CAD files for custom laser-cut parts are distributed
along with the plans. Anyone with access to a laser cutter can use these files to
fabricate all the panel parts necessary for construction; those without ready laser-cutter
access can use local or online laser-cutting services.

Plans and instructions for building the DIYLILCNC are distributed freely and intended for
wide distribution and modification with few restrictions. The plans are formatted to
facilitate easy fabrication, especially for beginners. The DIYLILCNC can be built by an
individual, a student group, or a class. Besides being immensely fun, building the
DIYLILCNC is a great way to learn about motion control and CAD/CAM/CAE.

For more information, or to download complete documentation, please visit