Build a Mini CNC Machine from Recycled DVD Players

August 15, 2019 | 11:32
Build a Mini CNC Machine from Recycled DVD Players
Build a Mini CNC Machine from Recycled DVD Players

Fully recycled CNC machine

Some people manage to do impressive things with simple means and a lot of creativity. Surfing around on YouTube, I came across an excellent example of this, illustrating what you can do with scavenged parts, hot & super glue and open-source software.

In a series of four videos, this maker shows how to build a mini CNC machine out of three DVD players (one only serves for a few small parts) and some simple electronics around an Arduino Nano. Well, to be correct, it is not really a CNC machine, but a small XY plotter.

The idea is simple: take two motor-controlled DVD or CD player drawers, use one as a plotting platform moving forward and backward, and mount the other vertically on it to provide left and right displacements. Add a simple RC servo to it to move the pen up and down and away you go.

Add PVC tube and heat gun

This maker that goes by the pseudo Hardware Boy takes it a step further by only using scrap material. For example, he flattens a piece of PVC tubing and makes the plotting platform and the pen support with it. The only things that are not recycled – then again, you never know where he got that from – are the electronic parts to control the stepper motors. They consist of an Arduino Nano board and two L293D motor drivers.

Building teh CNC Machine needs PVC and heat gun
Use a heat gun to transform a PVC drain pipe into a flat sheet of PVC.

Without software such a machine is useless, so, in part 4, Hardware Boy temporarily becomes Software Boy to explain how to set up Inkscape, Arduino and Processing to send G-Codes to the mini XY plotter.

Design files are available

A link to the schematic is given in the description of Part 3, links to all the required software are given in the description of Part 4. Even the link to download the (tiring) music is available. Note that you can simply switch the sound off as no spoken explanations are given. Also, watch carefully as sometimes extra instructions show up as subtitles in small print.

On to the videos

  1. Assembling the frame (10:15)
  2. Making the support parts (10:49)
  3. The electronics (9:33)
  4. Software, G-code, etc. (13:58)

Mini CNC Machine – Part 1 (10:15)


Mini CNC Machine – Part 2 (10:49)


Mini CNC Machine – Part 3 (9:33)


Mini CNC Machine – Part 4 (13:58)

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