CNC help needed for glassworks committee

did you know glassworks had a CNC machine?

it needs help getting functional, this is an open call to get it going. the power supply is next to it and I’m told the PC goes with it as well.

if you want to tinker with it, please do. let us know here if you make progress


What is it intended for? Engraving?

I can look at it tomorrow and at least give an idea of what it needs. Any password on the PC (provided it powers up)?

no idea what the use would be, cutting and breaking is easier with running pliers

there’s serious doubts that the PC is connected to it and may just be associated by confusion. however if it is connected I don’t know any passwords.

I have a friend who developed a CNC for glass cutting specifically to do curved stained glass.

From What I understand, breaking (consistently) on a curve isn’t possible, so it has to be cut, usually with a water jet, or if you’re patient enough, a very slow cnc. Here’s an example of some of their work:


yeah that’s the only thing I can think of too. we have a ring saw for tight curves, with some tricks and practice you can get good curves with running pliers.

this CNC doesn’t have any protection for oil or water though, so I’m not sure its actually for glass. or it made a lot of glass dust.

I would also like a waterjet. much fun. such expensive.


Ah yes. Waterjet: The ideal solution for cutting everything, and the worst solution for the pocket book.

Protection: Neither did theirs- they did a bunch of experiments and figured out how to submerge the bit and work piece in water. I think they detail it in this album:


nice! that’s awesome. now we just need to figure out the machine

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You can put the glass in a shallow tub of water for cutting. NOTE: The spindle needs to be sealed (i.e. water cooled) spindle for obvious reasons. Not a router by any means. cheers!

Did a quick look online and you can use a CNC router for cutting and etching glass, I’ve put some links down below.

Here is a quick rundown of what needs to be done to cut the glass

Slow feed rate, 1-3 inches per minute for 3mm glass
Fast spindle speed, as fast as the spindle can go.
Water for cooling the glass and keeping dust out of the air. Only a small amount of water is needed, just enough to cover the glass.
A diamond burring tool

Overall it looks like it would more than doable to use the CNC router for cutting out glass.


If I had to guess it uses the parallel port on the PC with Mach3 (VCarve and Fusion360 have post processors for this). I can plug it in next time I’m at the space and see what software it uses.

It looks like it’s this kit:


You are exactly right.

Just had a look. the unit is in decent shape but looks like it has been a long time since it was given any attention. I’ll upload pictures in an hour or so. One Vee bearing on the Y axis is off the rail and the limit switches need to be wired back in. The control box has the drivers and there are connectors to reattach the stepper motors. Power supply is working. The BIG issue is the computer. It needs a monitor, keyboard, mouse and power cord. I looked around but didn’t see any spares in the space that didn’t have death notices about touching them. The computer has the old round IBM connectors for Keyboard and Mouse but it also has a bank of USBs which I assume will over ride the dedicated connectors. It does have a hard drive. It is exactly the unit themitch22 mentioned

So it is probably worth printing an electrical schematic just for reference.

Anyway, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse and power cable are needed before any meaningful progress.


it boots!

and has linux CNC


So Linuxcnc directly controls the stepper drivers with a parallel port using the breakout board. You need a USB a to a cable to power the break out board and a parallel port cable (not a null modem cable if those still exist)

There is an ini file that has the configuration for the machine but it might already have one. You can make a config using stepconf wizard.

I’m sure we can get a Vcarve post processor to work with this machine.

The CNC I’m building uses almost exactly the same setup. It should be a decent machine for at least glass etching maybe a diamond drag bit for scoring.


Not sure this is one of the breakout boards that are on the buildyourcnc website. It may be a much older version. Anyway, I think it is powered by the transformer on top of the stepper controllers. There are two leds lit and the transformer looks like it was (really badly) spliced to a connector (with a piece of red electrical tape) and plugged into the breakout board. This may just need a parallel cable. That will make it move, but it doesn’t have any cable carriers so that will have to be addressed or there will be loose wiring all over the place.

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Looks butchery but wiring it shouldn’t be too bad. Doesn’t look like there are limit switches to be found on this thing so I guess it’s a move it in place then reset 0,0 thing that’s a little scary.

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Well, yes there are limit switches. The Y has a switch on either side. The X has a switch on the front and I’m pretty sure I also spotted one on the Z axis. If you look at the first picture Pearce posted. the orange wires are the limit switches. The picture I posted of the control box shows one orange cable wired in and that is one of the limit switches. I’m guessing they all wire in on that bank of screw in terminals.

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She moves. I hauled some computer gear to check it out. All axis accepted commands from the computer. Didn’t have time to measure the movement to see if it is accurate but that’s just a tuning adjustment and I’m thinking its probably good. Limit switches still need to be mounted. I THINK all the limit switches are all set up on the same port. Bottom line is I think this thing is ready to go with a little work


what would we need to get this running? other than a PC and accessories. Any extra limit switches, fiddly bits, cables I need to purchase?