Monday, March 8, 2010

Long Winter

It's been a long winter, but first let me introduce myself.

My whole family has been into computers since I was little. Our first family computers consisted of Timex Sinclair 1000's, Vic 20's, Commodore 64's etc. We even had an original Pong. Pretty much had everything up through the first 486's. That was a long time ago, and none of us have left it.

Mom started her own software company in the early 80's selling educational software to school systems all over the US. My father got out of programming but helped mom manage her company. When we moved to Virgina he got re-involved in commercial construction management. My whole life Dad has been an avid woodworker, making everything from Christmas toys to custom cabinetry. My brother Todd went on to Virginia Tech's Computer Engineering school where he got all the way into his PhD program. Now he's doing stuff I'm not allowed to know about :)

Myself, well my name is Brett, and I'm the youngest. I also went to Virginia Tech, and also got into Computer Engineering. I stopped at my Bachelor's and went straight to work. Currently I write avionics software for a small company, and have work on some pretty cool things such as the X-31 control software, X-43C, GlobalHawk, C-130J moving maps, etc.

About 3 years ago dad approached me to help him build a CNC router for his wood shop. He already had a frame from a router duplicator, and so it begun. About 4-5 months later we had a crude CNC machine that would run at 30-40 ipm (inches per minute). We fiddled with it for about a year, constantly tweaking the design trying to resolve issues that crept up.

We started to grow tired of it, and dad decided we should start over from more solid plans. We started with a Joe's CNC design but added provisions for a lathe/rotary axis at one end of the machine. After about a year of working on it, and two rounds of electronics, we finally have a monster on our hands. We can cut almost 4'x6' sized sheets at a time, and turn up to 8"x36" blanks on the lathe, all at up to 200 ipm.

That's where the history ends, and this blog begins.


  1. could one know more about this CNC machine?

  2. Our machine is based off the Joe's CNC machine found here.

    Plans cost around $100, which we then modified to add the lathe.

    We will be posting photo's and video of our machine cutting Mendel parts soon. There are plenty of video's of other Joe's CNC based machines on youtube, just search "joes cnc".

  3. thanks thats is what i was wondering