Students Make a CNC Router Table

Written By: Bill Griggs - May• 19•12

Morrisville Router Project



Makermasters helped Students make a CNC Router table. I (Bill Griggs) was invited to advise the S.U.N.Y. Morrisville Mechanical Engineering Technology programs Capstone Project. The Capstone projects assignment was to design and build a CNC Router table for manufacture. The M.E.T. program focuses on Engineering with an eye towards manufacturing. Students learn the design, engineering and machining skills needed for a career in manufacturing.

A chance invitation by a neighbor to view my CNC Router table turned into an invitation to advise an engineering project at a local college. The process turned into a learning process for me and for the students that I will never forget.

The students were broken up into three teams. Each team was responsible for the design and construction of one axis of the machine along with other joint team assignments. The students were  instructed to study two sets of plans for CNC Router tables and use those as the basis to design their own original machine. The two plan sets used were the Joescnc Hybrid and a set of plans for a Z axis I designed and offer, called the Warp Drive. Based on these two designs the students were then given a set of additional criteria and asked to design a machine to fit those specs.With some mild coaching from the staff and I work began.


Based on this assignment the students built a welded steel base from 2″ rectangle steel. The lower portion of the base included a shelf an a mounting surface for jack stands.

The spoil board of the machine was designed with multiple screw adjustments to level the surface. There were also 8020 T tracks for clamping. The gantry plates on the Y axis were made of aluminum plate which were designed in Solidworks, coded in Mastercam and machined on a Haas machining center. The Y axis used 2 Rack & Pinion drives from CNCRouterparts. The X&Z axis were machined from aluminum and include a Rack & Pinion Z axis.

Y axis carriage

Prior to making all the aluminum parts, prototypes were made from PETG plastic sheets. Based on the tests using the PETG parts, modifications were made, followed by the final parts. By making the prototype parts first, the students were able to avoid costly mistakes in the expensive alum

inum stock. Many compromises and new solutions had to be developed along the way to make this project a success. The team work needed to pull off a design/build this complex cannot be overstated. Each design change  proposed required a careful analysis of how the change would effect the overall design.

The semester long course culminated with a demonstration of the finished machine before the Dean of the department, advisory board members, faculty, and industry experts. Each team also presented an audio visual presentation and prepared  portfolios of their work.

This is my first experience working as an adviser to an academic program. The experience was extremely rewarding and a real eye opener to just how much talent this generation possesses. I am extremely proud of each and every one of the students and it was my pleasure to share my passion for CNC machines with them.  The level of professionalism of the staff, the well equipped facilities and the eager participation of the student made this project a joy. I am happy I helped the students make a CNC Router Table. I can’t wait to see what projects they make with it.


The first project made with the New CNC Router Table was the school Logo.

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  1. […] many wonderful projects with their new CNC Router table. I can't wait to see what they make. Bill Students Make a CNC Router Table – Maker Masters Maker Masters Capstone Project – Students Make A CNC Router Table – YouTube google_ad_client = […]

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  3. […] It was nice that we got to hang out make something together. A short while later, Jeff ran into his old college roommate  John. John is an instructor at the local State College Mechanical Engineering Technologies Department and a Certified Mastercam instructor. When Jeff told John about his CNC router, he also told him about my machine. They Made plans to get together so that Jeff could show off his CNC router.  John also asked Jeff if he thought I would be willing to show him my machine to. So Jeff asked me, and we set up a time to meet. Jeff and John came over and also brought along John’s boss Mike and Adam one of their students.  It turns out that Mike and John were thinking about building a CNC router table as a project for their students. After I demonstrated the machine they were impressed enough to invite me to advise their class on how to make a CNC Router Table (you can read about it here). […]

  4. […] I helped some local college students build. Warp Drive Project Story Part 2 – THE MAKERS GUIDE Students Make a CNC Router Table – Maker Masters Bill __________________ Making the world a better place, one project at a time. CNC Router, […]

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