My CNC odyssey begins.

Zen 7x7 Model

I have been looking at ZenToolWorks 7x7 CNC mill for the last year, last week one showed up on eBay and I got it, so awesome. I just finished reassembling and hooking up all the electronics, and I can’t wait to learn more about using it. Since the TB5650 Stepper driver board uses a Parallel port, I am setting up an older laptop with windows and Ubuntu dual boot to play with all the applications available.

First impressions are that the quality of this device seems really nice and sturdy. The Stepper driver board and the spindle motor controller both are lacking proper labeling on the PCB in English, but after an hour of testing pins, I’ve figured out most of headers. The DC spindle motor is really quiet, which is amazing to anyone who’s ever used a dremel.

In the next few days I’m going to try and attach a felt pen in place of the cutting blade to get the hang of processing gcode.

Uses for the CNC machine I can see in the near future:

  • Prototype PCB boards quickly, exported from EaglePCB
  • Make some fancy engraved labels for things around my family’s ranch
  • Attach a burning laser diode that I bought a while ago, and make some stencils
  • Design some things in Google Sketchup and export them into the real world.
  • Make some plexiglass enclosures for some electronic projects I’ve had in the past
  • Purchase a drag-knife head and cut some vinyl stickers