Make a Mini CNC plotter with old DVD players and L293D Arduino [Full Guide]

This project offers you to build your own Arduino Mini CNC cutter. For the X and Y axis, will use the stepper motors of two old CD or DVD players. We will use two L293D motor drivers. One For Each X and Y axis. For the Z axis we will use a small servo motor (for example SG90) That Moves a pen up and down. The Z axis will be hard to Develop (for young Makers), so to simplify the project, i design all mechanical parts That You just need to print with a 3D printer.

You can Develop Your mini CNC Plotter Directly from this post. You need to install the codebender plugin for your browser.

You can buy all components or on internet DIY store.

Dismantle the old DVD players to get the translation system with the stepper motor.

mini traceur cnc plotter projets diy lecteur dvd
Stepper Motor and DVD player translation system ready to use.

it’s better to sold the wires on the flexible connector. You May-have problems if you sold Directly on the stepper motor. If you can, try to use 4 different colors, one for Each Pin. There is no identification on the engine purpose the connection is quite easy. The first wire corresponds to the first output of the L293D (usually) and so on.

mini traceur cnc plotter soudure stepper motor projetdisymini traceur cnc plotter soudure stepper motor gaine thermo projetdisy

You can download the STL files of this project is Thingiverse or Cults3D .

I prefer to use PLA filament Because It’s an environmental friendly and non toxic material. If you print all parts, you need about 3 hours. I use the French 3D printer Dagoma discovery200 .

elements de structure impression3d mini traceur cnc plotter arduino

Just cut the three shares (see the BOM for dimensions)

The Circuit is really easy as you can see bellow. One L293D For Each axis and a servo motor for the Z-axis.

mini traceur cnc plotter arduino schema de cablage breadboard

mini traceur cnc plotter arduino projet diy cablage l293d breadboard
2x L293D motor divers
mini traceur cnc plotter arduino projet diy zoom cablage arduino

X and Y Axis

Use 4 spacers and 4 screws M4 x 30mm to assembling the X axis on the playwood (200 x 160mm). Do the Saami for the Y axis. Use the picture bellow to setup the position of elements. Finally attach the Y axis on the vertical uprights. The height is not important we just need to adjust the position of the pen in icts holder.

Vue de droite du mini traceur assemblé.
Right side view.

Drawing area

Use a glue gun to fix the drawing area on the axis. To find The Good position move the stepper motor to the max. position and fix it.

mini traceur cnc plotter arduino projet diy zoom plateau dessin
Drawing surface (Front View)

Pencil case (Z-axis)

Follow the assembly drawing to the pencil holder. Fix the servo motor with 2x M2 screws or glue.

mini traceur cnc plotter arduino vue ensemble porte crayon
Pencil holder design
mini traceur cnc plotter arduino projet diy zoom gauche porte crayon
Pencil holder ( left view)
mini traceur cnc plotter arduino projet diy zoom droit porte crayon
Pencil holder (right view) with the servo motor

Breadboard and Arduino

Use spacers to fix the breadboard.

mini traceur cnc plotter arduino projet diy arriere breadboard
Arduino and Breadboard (rear view)

Now, we can start programming! First, we need to test if the X and Y axis are Properly connected. After That, we will calibrate the stepper motors.

X axis test

X-Axis use the pins 8,9,10 and 11 by default. Start this program. If all is ok, the stepper motor must do 100 steps. Measure the distance and divide by 100 to obtenir the X-Axis calibration value.

Y axis test

Do the Saami for the Y axis.

In case of problem

The main problems I Encountered During the development of my plotter:

  • The engine Does not move: first check the wiring of the L293D. The IN and OUT Pins May be reversed.

  • The management of movement is reversed. Reverse Pins on the L293D.

  • The engine never stops, do not go to the end ‘or’ jump ‘. There is probably an obstacle in icts path. Check if one screw is not too long …

Before uploading the CNC program, maybe you need to update the configuration

  • penZUp: angle of the servo When the pen is up

  • penZDown: angle When the pen is Down (on the paper sheet)

  • Pins servo, X and Y axis

  • Calibration values ​​of the X and Y-axis

Warning: do not use the servo motor to press the pencil on the paper sheet. The forces exerted by the actuator May be too strong and prevent prevention movement of the axis X. The pen is pressed on the sheet by the spring.

Last step before your first draw. We need to install a program That gcode send file to the Arduino controlling.

If you are a Windows user you can use the Directly compilated release of gctrl. You can download it here .

For macOS or Linux users, you need to install Processing ( here ) then run gctrl.pde ( download here )

Before making your first draw:

  • Make sour the plot area is at the origin

  • Check That nothing blocks the movement of the axes [

  • Place a sheet on the drawing area

gctrl is an efficient goal basic program in the sense That it Does not check the selected file. The plotter start just partner after the selection of the gcode file. So, sure be validate before. In case of problem, press “x”!

  • Press “p” to choose the serial port.

  • Press ‘h’ to go at home position

  • Press “g” to chose the g code file

mini cnc traceur arduino - inkscape gcode gctrl_pde

mini traceur cnc plotter arduino test minion

A short video (in french at the moment … be patient) That Explains how to make your Mini CNC plotter.

I hope you find everything you need to make your Mini CNC cutter. I hope I did not forget anything. Feel free to share your experience or add your tricks. Comments are there for.

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