As the host of one of the most satisfying woodworking channels on YouTube, Frank Howarth of Frank Makes tends to seamlessly balance interesting wood projects with clever videography skills regardless of the challenges from either thrown at him.

To date, the Portland, Oregon-based Howarth has recorded and shared the build process of everything from lawn chairs and wood bowls to his recent kitchen remodel and even the entire build process of his drool-worthy workshop in a heavily-forested area of Portland, Oregon.

More recently, Howarth turned his attention to building something that most of us CAD junkies are a little more familiar with: a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machine.


Over the course of three videos, Howarth gives us a behind-the-scenes look at building his CNC machine from scratch – starting with the construction of the frame itself (completely with hockey puck feet for dampening vibrations) and ending with the initial cuts on the new setup. Along the way, Howarth gives us some in-depth insight into the entire build process, such as wiring the CNC and setting up the table:

“The wiring for the CNC is simple,” he explains. “I just ran a USB cable to a UC100 CNC Motion Controller. This connects to a Gecko G540 4-Axis Stepper Driver, which delivers power and pulses to the 4 Nema 23 motors. The table for the CNC is two layers of ¾ inch MDF. The first layer is attached directly to the steel base. This layer is then surfaced with the router making it perfectly plane with the CNC. The second layer of MDF goes on top of this base layer. I cut “T” slots in this to layer to attach hold downs to.”

The CNC Build: Part I: All About That Base

The CNC Build: Part II

The CNC Build: Part III

Be sure to check out there rest of Howarth’s videos over at Frank Makes.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.