CNC Milling Machine

So did you ever wire the vfd to work through the mesa board? I’d like to go that route from the get go. Thought I’d ask here first.


Hey man! I apologize for not responding to your first post, but I am definitely excited to see how your conversion turns out.

I have not wired the VFD to the mesa board. I will need to add a pneumatic draw bar before I do that. You have to have the spindle on to counteract the force of the wrench when loosening or tightening the drawbar, and it would be too much of a hassle to turn it on through the software each time. You already need three hands to insert a collet/tool.

However, I will hopefully have a video coming out by the end of the year of some big upgrades to the mill. Stay tuned and let me know how your conversion goes.

I’ll posts some pictures later. I’m working on the enclosure right now while I wait on the rest of the electronics to come in. Did you put just one fan on the electrical cabinet for cooling and where is that wired into. Sorry I’m green when it comes to electrical. I’m gonna have to delve into the cnczone to figure out the VFD wiring through the board. I’ve printed of the other diagrams from your site that that other user uploaded but I’m lost in the sauce when it comes to that.

Pictures would be great!

There are two fans in a push/pull configuration to bring in the cold air and exhaust the hot air.

The fans are plugged directly into the tri-power supply (12V). They turn on whenever the box has power.

Let me know if you start to really struggle with the VFD. I can zoom you and can try and help sort you out, but it may be the blind leading the blind scenario.

Dr. D,

A few years back I built a 4ft x 5ft CNC router from scratch and after trying some aluminum a few times, I’ve decided to build one specific for metal work with a bench top mill as the base. Should be fairly easy/“cheap” as I will use the same electronics from the cnc and swap back and forth using quick disconnect connectors. I plan on continuing to use the router specifically for wood and plastics.

My question is your choice of the 833. I’m flip flopping between the 833TV and the 728VT. I know the 833 is much more machine for not that much more money but I’m a bit afraid of the size difference. Thoughts?

Love your videos by the way and will be using it for my assembly in the near future!



Hey Craig,

This is a difficult decision. There are pro and cons for both. With milling machines weight is everything. Larger castings allow for a more rigid setup, which decreases tool chatter (deeper cuts can be taken and better surface finish can be achieved). The Pm-833TV is twice the weight:

Pm-833TV - 750 lbs

728VT - 370 lbs

However, it’s important for you to ask yourself what are you going to be using this CNC mill for? Is this a hobby where you want to learn how to machine and program? Or will you be using this for small production runs? Is there a certain size part that you have to make?

If this is just a hobby and you are new to the game, then I recommend the smaller machine -728VT. Two burly men could probably pick it up, making it much easier to disassemble and work with. Also, its 30% cheaper. That’s nothing to scoff at. At least in my area, hobby level CNC mills have great resell value, so if you need a bigger machine then you can sell it and upgrade. However, many people go from hobby level mills to a haas (or comparable brand) because they want more sophisticated features like ATC, through spindle coolant, chip augurs, etc.

If you have some experience with milling, a lot of time to kill, or the need for higher quality and deeper cuts, then go with the bigger machine!

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Hi David,

Since I last posted, I have been working away at this project. Not likely I’m going to break any speed records here. I have managed to acquire the mill and substantially all the needed parts and have the control cabinet pretty much built and operating the motors on the bench before starting on the actual mill conversion.

I have had a couple dumb-ass attacks so far along the way, which as usual served to enhance the learning experience. :^) I have to say that the HAL meter utility is a godsend for debugging what’s screwed up in the HAL file.

I did make a mount for the Mesa board and the stl file can be found at:

Thanks again for the extensive documentation you provided, it certainly helped!


I always appreciate the follow up! That electronics cabinet is looking clean!

It looks like you have a pendant wired up. I found soldering the wires to the pins that were towards the middle of the panel mount/connector to be an absolute pain. But it was worth the trouble because a pendant is a necessity.

Do you have any advice for anyone reading this forum thread? I was looking at some statistics the other day and while this forum averages ~1 post a day (not a lot, obviously) this forum gets almost ~1k views a day. So I think that a lot of people are surfing the web looking for some info and stumble upon this thread.

Please keep us updated!


Edit: spelling

I had to mothball my project for several months but have been monitoring the forum. Unfortunately I don’t have any knowledge on the linuxcnc systems. I have no experience on Linux and have no desire to overflow my old brain with a whole new (to me) operating system. I will however be starting this project up again soon. I currently have everything including the spindle encoder and power drawbar pretty much ready to run. Just need to finish up the enclosure and calibrate everything. I’ll try to post my progress.

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Hi David,

I also found soldering the 20 pin connectors for the pendant to be tedious. Soldering high density connectors is not really a skill set that I own yet.

I used this connector:

I know there are folks that can solder this kind stuff standing on their head, but I’m not one of them. I probably needed a slightly more slender tip on my iron, but was able to get it done working bottom to top and left to right to maintain vision and access. I know the general advice is to put a pre-cut piece of solder in each bucket, and then insert the wire when you melt that solder, but I found I could do it by fluxing the bucket with a toothpick, positioning the tinned wire in the bucket, and then just touching the bucket edge with a little extra solder hung on the tip. With the wire already fixed in place, I could use both hands to steady the iron to keep from touching the adjacent pin. (Most of the time, anyway. Good thing I had some braid around to de-solder the goofs.)

Magnification was also a big help.

Bottom line: I need to work on my soldering Kung Fu.

Other things:

Don’t forget when you start counting which pin a wire is on and assigning it in PNCconf that the pin numbering on TB6 starts at ZERO or what’s going on will make no sense. Ask me how I know.

With the Debian 10 release, installing Linux with LinuxCNC (and Probe Basic UI if you want) is dead easy and you really shouldn’t worry about not having used Linux before. See: referenced in a previous post and you will be in business in short order.

There is a custom.hal file where you can put substantially all of your pendant config and any other config that PNCConf won’t handle. That file doesn’t get clobbered if you need to run PNCconf again. Until I totally get the entirety of the hal config, I’m going to rely on PNCconf to teach me.

This is my first cartesian robot. Getting to the point where I could test the motors on the bench both with a gcode file and the pendant was really nice, and looking back, things that caused me a lot of uncertainty made perfect sense in the span of about an hour or two while configuring LinuxCNC.

More later as things progress.

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Morning all. I finished up my electronics. (That was a bunch of wiring!) Appreciate the stl for the board Sean, gonna print that and the prox mounts hopefully tomorrow. I started on the enclosure and will get that done this weekend. TCandee, if you don’t mind posting another link for your power drawback. I couldn’t get that one to work anymore, but it could be on my end! Also, I had to make another account to reply because I was getting the attached message about being limited to replies…

Are you just looking for the pictures of the PDB? Don’t think I can post anything but images on this forum.

I am still sorting this out. There is a fine line between allowing new users to posts and opening up this forum to spam. If you explore multiple topics, visit the site multiple times over a two week period, and spend 10 minutes or so reading posts you will be upgraded to the next trust level, which should allow you to post without limits.

Edit: Dang that enclosure is coming along! Please keep the pictures coming along. I need ideas for my future enclosure.

Edit2: Unfortunately, this forum can only host images. I have to pay per month for all the files hosted on the server. You can link to a google drive file or use we transfer.

I did build a plasma table a few years ago. I used a controls kit from CandCNC. Very good system but it used Linux and I had a hard time with doing other things with it. Such as connecting it to my network and mounting network drives etc. The software is good and the controls are probably the best on the market. It is the only one that I know of that can control the air pressure and current via gcode on the powermax series of hypertherm plasmas. I used it for a bit but soon figured out 2x4 wasn’t big enough.

Out of necessity I recently purchased an STV 5x5 plasma table. It uses the proma my plasma software and controls. I don’t know much about it. It will be here in a month or so.

Incidentally, I am probably going to sell my CandCNC controls package including the software and steppers. Not really worth trying to ship the table. I’ll probably post the full table locally first.

Yeah the power draw bar. I thought you had posted a link to a video.

I ran out of shielding gas, I’ve got to finish welding and then get down with the grinder. I’m gonna seal and paint it all up with the off white. I picked up some roller bearing rails for doors.

This is the best I can do right now for the PDB. Having issues sharing from my NAS right now.

Also included a pic of the enclosure that I buttoned up the last side on today.

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This forum is limited to images only on uploads otherwise I would upload all the Solidworks parts and Assemblies for the PDB. If anybody wants them let me know. I should be able to email them.

Great work! Yeah if you wouldn’t mind. I do want to make that happen as soon as I get everything assembled.