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Name MaxNC 10
Owner Makers' Alliance
Location Wood Shop
Training needed yes
Hackable no
Model MaxNC 10 CL
Serial Serial Number
Arrival Date 2013
Working yes
Contact Sam Harmon

Current Status: Mostly Functional

This is a donated MaxNC 10 CL that has been hacked into functionality. MaxNC electronics have been replaced by an Arduino/gShield combo running GRBL (so it's no longer Closed Loop). All of the stepper motors on the X/Y/Z axes have been replaced. Technically the machine has a 4th (rotary) axis, but the current electronics do not support it.

Current Status:

  • 90+% usable at this point, but be careful.(see Caveats)
  • Could use some signage in its new home in the wood shop
  • Need to set up the computer next to it to operate it, or BYO laptop…


  • endstops are currently non-functional, so automatic homing does not work, and is only sort of useful anyway.
  • For some reason (EM Interference, probably), turning the spindle off/on will sometimes cause the Arduino to reset. This usually happens when turning the spindle off. With the back cover attached this happens less frequently. More shielding? Ground the spindle motor?
  • Y-axis weirdness: The Y-axis has been troublesome lately. To fix it we've replaced the motor-leadscrew coupler, and added a (3D printed) bearing block at the end of the axis. It needed a little tightening after replacement, but ran a 2 1/2 hour job after doing that.

Proposed Upgrades

  • Coolant drip pump
  • Vacuum for dust collection (metal vacuuming may be tough?)
  • Air blowing for chip clearing
  • Upgrade electronics to a 4-axis capable board so we can use the 4th axis (should probably also get an appropriate chuck & tail stock as well). Something like a TinyG or Smoothie-compatible ARM solution would work well.
  • Re-do bearing X&Y bearing blocks in aluminum?

Suggested Upgrades/Modifications/etc.

  • figure out spindle RPMs based on pulley configurations (need a tachometer, I guess?)

Instructions for use:

First: You should have some in-person training before using this tool. Wear safety glasses if the box is open.

Second: Your first job should probably not be done in metal. Try using wood, plastic or foam first to get a feel for how the machine works.

Generating Gcode: The easiest way to generate Gcode for this is with Inventables' Easel. On the laptop usually attached to the machine, or any modern computer running Windows or macOS, Easel also works as a simple and effective gcode sender.

On the machine we also now have bCNC installed as a Gcode sender/editor/CAM suite.

Zeroing: In bCNC, use the arrow keys to move X&Y, and Page Up/Page Down to move Z. You can set the step size in the software - 1mm is good for big moves, and .1mm when closing in on zero. Get your endmill to within a few thousandths of the material (use a sheet of paper as a feeler gauge, and you're there when moving it is “tight”). Click “reset zero” and the work position will be set to zero. In Easel, the procedure is similar, but pgup/down don't work- just click the buttons.

Run your job. Attend the work. If cutting metal, apply cutting fluid every few passes. If something goes terribly wrong, hit the emergency stop & abort on the sender.

Suggested usage (set these things in your Gcode or via Easel or whatever)

  • Keep feed rates relatively low for now (~10 inches per minute seems ok for aluminum)
  • Keep your depth of cut light for aluminum (had success at .003 per pass - slow, but got the job done)
maxnc.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/26 10:42 by sdh7