Project tutorial
CD-Drive Mini CNC Plotter

CD-Drive Mini CNC Plotter

Created with an Arduino, CNC shield, and 3 CD drives (X, Y, and Z). The frame is made out of two dowel rods and a laminate shelf.

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Components and supplies

A000066 iso both
Arduino UNO & Genuino UNO
CNC Shield
Also need a 12V power supply .
CD/DVD Drives
I have opened a few that did not have stepper motors in them.
7/8" Dowel Rod
Cut mine to approx. 6.5"
Laminate Shelving
I used a 15.5" Long by 5.5" Wide. Although you will see that 15.5" is very long, You probably only need half the length.

Necessary tools and machines

09507 01
Soldering iron (generic)
You can use ribbon wire,or whatever you want to attach the wires to the motors.
SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router 3018-PRO
Used this only to route out the holes in the base (shelving) for the dowel rods. You might be able to do this with a Dremel -- or just put a screw in though the wood to hold the dowel rod in.
Hy gluegun
Hot glue gun (generic)
Used a hot glue gun to put the black piece of plastic on the bottom.

Apps and online services

About this project

If you are like me and have a lot of old CD/DVD drives around and are interested in making a CNC plotter... I have successfully created a working mini CNC plotter. I have looked at others' projects for ideas on the easiest way to create one of these mini CNC machines. I was having trouble imaging how to put these three drives together. As they appeared easy to make, it took me about a day to finally have the idea to put my three different drives together.

Building the Frame

I first measured how far apart the holes were on the X drive. I found them to be 4.25" apart. I realized that I had some dowel rod left over from another project, and I noticed that it was perfect to sit on a laminate shelf. So I CNC'd out some holes that were about 1/2" deep to hold the dowel rods.

The bottom 'Y' stepper drive did not sit flat on the wood. I found some PC riser screws that fit into the screw holes and that leveled it out. Then I screwed it in place.

Attaching the Z and X Drive

I had a difficult time trying to attach the 'Z' drive to the 'X' drive. I had the idea to solder them together, but I was not able to solder them to the (I believe) cast aluminum. I had to put two screws into the aluminum and solder the Z drive to the screws:

Attaching the Pen and Plastic Plate

I had to get a hot glue gun to fill in the cast aluminum slider with glue, then I put a cutout PVC sheet over it. I thought about 3D printing a holder of the pen, but I ended up just using hot glue to make the pen stand out enough, so that it didn't hit the frame of the Z drive.


Before testing the plotter:

First time testing the plotter. I noticed that I have some settings in the file misconfigured, but I can change that later. I know that it works.


grbl firmware
Use the Arduino IDE to import the library and then look in "examples" to upload the code.

Custom parts and enclosures

Dowel Rod Holes (Fusion 360)
This is the model used to align the holes for the dowel rods
Dowel Rod Holes (nc File)
grbl ready. Zero the router at the very bottom-left side. The Center of the Dowel Rods are 4.25" apart.


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