Classic Letters

The first sentence is the key! Laugh and Learn!
             (Here is a letter I answered. See if you can follow it? I say one or two questions, please keep it short. This one is a classic. Notice how it starts out with a disarming statement "I know you're busy" so that makes bothering me ok!)

         I know you're busy. I already have 2 Sherline mills, one that originally was a "Light Machines CNC... I have retro-fitted the antique BiPolar steppers of the L.M. unit to VEXTA PV266-o2BA (4V) steppers, ( presently using Excitron controllers ) but cannot find plans for a 3 or 4 AXIS control using G-Codes that is compatible. I could not find the plans on your site, but the Boards appear to be there. ( I use a rotary table and X/Y/Z ) they appear to be Uni-polar as are my new steppers. I would be very interested if this is the case ... as well as possibly a pre-constructed unit or package with all the required components, I can build if necessary ( been building TTL/RTL for 25 years), but I REALLY need to get the machine operational soon (cheaply I hope) ... Radio Shack here carrries very few components anymore... I have to order from Newark (Expensive) Electronics. Please advise, ... I have no credit cards, only check or money order or even cash ... with limited resources ... So I will mail. if you need any VB programming assistance also ... let me know, I haven't found any work in a I have plenty of time. Thanks for YOUR time,

              (A different kind of letter. The guy asks all kinds of personal questions along with wanting free info instead of buying the plans.)

Hello John,
                 I was wondering what software program you run to generate the PCB router tracks? Also, I've been thinking about starting a web business myself. my wife is skeptical. (very). I showed her your site, Which I think is pretty cool. You seem to be a small business man earning an honest pay. Can you give me some approximant figures of your business? Example: how long in business?
how many products sold? Approximate Dollars received from your web site for selling your roducts.
Headaches for answering E-mails This would be helpful info for myself and my wife.

Thanks TJ

(So I answered the Email with a "SORRY")

SORRY?? What the hell is that? Well I'm SORRY to say I plan to get my CNC machine plans elseware. You must be to busy to answer a few questions or the first question, which was the most important to me.. I guess SORRY is you way of saying Fuckyou and your question...
Have a nice day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 (So I sent: You crossed the line when you asked about my business. Re read your Email: Dummy! He then replied:)

Hello John,
                 I was wondering what software program you run to generate the PCB router tracks? As far as your business, I was looking for a ball park idea of your business, SORRY to get personal. I'm not the tax man. I see nothing wrong with saying "I've sold approx. 500 plans etc."


 (I told this guy to get lost! A week or so before I helped him pick out some motors on Ebay. No good deed goes unpunished )


I received the stepper motors from the EBay sale. As promised I am now ready to buy the plans. As per your recommendation I would like the following.

The 7th Sojourn plans $36.00
The Piker 4x Pro $40.00

Now I have a concern. I will be sending a money order for $76.00 to you. Before I do that, answer me this ... What is my security that I am going to receive my product. No offence but I do own my own company in the RV industry and I have had problems in the past with other suppliers, by doing this I have no recourse if you screw me? Again ... no offense ... just covering my a**.

 (I have been doing this for 4 years. You have insulted me. Please buy your plans somewhere else!)

You know I felt that you had a good thing. Too bad you can not handle someone being cautious. As explained there was no offense intended. I have just been stung before and trying to prevent a repeat. If that insults you then you were not a valid person to do business with in the first place.

Have a nice day.

P.S. 4 years is not that big of a track record. Also as far as insults ...take into concideration your actions.

(Now that I sell plans outside of the US these cheapskates have been disarmed! Their logic is I should help them because I don't sell plans outside of the US.  )

 Dear John,

I'm from the Netherlands and read allot about your tables,
but now i see you dont sell plans outsite your country.

Till now i tryed many disigns and am starting to get in trouble because i already spent to mutch money, mywife is not hapy anymore.

I keep getting stuck when i'll try a system to get parralel so everything runs smooth.

Can you miss some tips how to get everything right?

i tryed some thick tubes an skeeler bearing with luluminium chanel. .and now bought some drylin W system with also isso extreme sesitive to parralel and i can keep making holes in the MDF i dont have anything to fix the rail by now.

With kind regards Rene Laumen.

Wiched i would ever get a base moving with a stepper.

(This is a typical "Data Miner letter"  He will never order anything from me. He found some motors, now he wants me to tell him what size machine they will run. I used to answer these until I realized it never leads to a sale. Answering 100 letters to get one sale for a produce I don't make any money on was insane.)

 Hi John,

I haven't bought anything from you....yet.
I've attached a pdf that gives the specs on some steppers that I have. I need to know if they would be enough motor for the "Hawk" (or any of your designs)....and if they would work with your "Perf-X" controller.



(Then there are the Pot Smokers.)

Two stupid questions:

1) Is there any possible way to get the plans for 7th Sojourn that don't involve me having to go into town to buy a stamp? I haven't used the physical mail for quite a few years, and I'm not certain that I remember how it works. Also, my memory of checks and money orders is getting quite hazy, although I could probably plumb the recesses of my memory and figure those out.

If there's no way to transmit money to you electronically, I do have digital information of my own for barter. For example, I'm amongst the world's best general information technology gurus (officially--google me) so if you've
got a computer problem that's been irking you, I could provide my expertise in exchange for yours. I'm also pretty funny--you could just read my satire site at until you feel like you've gotten an equitable trade out of it. (Caveat: I'm not responsible for how long it takes you to feel like you've gotten your $25 worth, but there are over 700 satirical posts on the site).

2) How much would it cost to have you build a 7th Sojourn for me, and then ship it? Before you say "You don't have that much" you might want to just go ahead and try me. I have more money than time and more ego than talent.

Thanks for your indulgence thus far,


(Notice how bad letters always start out the same no matter what country it comes from.)

 hej hej

I have a maybe stupid question, but i'm new to building cnc machines and i was wondering
how did you make the x-ax/y-ax move with the threated rod ,On the "Morph"? Because your site inspired me to make a cnc machine, and the overall idea was inspired by the morph i did somethings diffent with the material i had! everybody on forums say to weld a mold with 2 nuts, but i don't have the oppertunity!
I tried almost everything but nothing will keep steady enough! I would be very gratefull if you answer this question But if you won't, i understand, then i'll just keep on thinking and asking until someone knows a simple solution!

thanx ,

(Remember I say keep it short! Now read this one. I get several of these per week!)

 Hi there , sorry don't know your name, mine's Alex , and I have been looking for a small cnc : I would use it for simple PCBs and front panels(alluminium). I also Milfords kit , but It was so dissapointing that I did not even try to modify it. Apart from that , I have been developing for years , my own stepper motor applications with hardware and software all mine - all customizable to your needs. At present the project has the following specs: one board can drive up to 4 bipolar stepper motors , using a serial interface from the PC.(my code in VB6). each motor is driven with resolution up to 25600 microsteps / 360 deg. maximum speed ( without load) is 128 microsteps / millisecond or 360degrees in 0,2 seconds. Acceleration is programmable from 1 to 64 microsteps/s2. all motors' positions are refreshed 1000 times a second. the microcontroller software supports 2 calculation types: 1) target position time T to execute move 2) target position and speed S to execute.
positions are 2^31 = 2147483648 microsteps. the power bridges I use can drive up to 750mA per motor winding , but this can grow up to 2.8 Amps without software changes. boards have a dipswitch addressing system that allows one to have up to 16 boards(64 motors) driven simultaneously over one serial port. Hope this could be used in one of your projects , and I would be glad to share it with you , cause I really like what you do.I am sick of "project sites" that have stupid and bad ideas , but yours is special , and you have done exactly what I was bored to do : build your own cnc! Back to my needs now , I wish to build a cnc , but I am afraid I won't be able to get the harware here (in Greece-Europe).Is there a chance I could buy Plans and Hardware in a form of a KIT from you? Brute or The 7th Sojourn seem to be what I need. Hope to hear from you soon


(Notice how this letter starts. Typical!)

 Hi John,
            I don't want to waste your time, nor ask stupid questions, but I do know what I don't know. I don't know much about CNC machines. Please let me explain what I am trying to do, and perhaps you can offer some advice. I am not looking for free, nor do I want to be a nuisance.

(This is a Full Moon letter. This type comes just before a Full Moon. People wanting a custom machine or they want to be my partner.)

I am an importer of Australian Burl. I often get in large slabs of burl (up to 5'x8'x5") which I need to surface down to about 2" thick for table top applications. I see your machines are designed for smaller applications and I have looked at the internet (Google) for larger ones. Would you be willing to design (for a fee) a machine that could do this for me? I am willing to build this myself, but could also buy if you think this would be a better option. What I am really looking for here is some guidance and not a sales pitch from someone who knows what they are doing. When I call some of the places online I get a 'buy mine now' pitch and not information.

If you are too busy, or not interested, perhaps you could point me in the direction for getting more information. Books, literature, etc and not a web site or Google. Like I said, I know what I don't know, and as such am trying to get information.

Thanks for your help.

(This guy blows smoke up my ass then he asks for info that has nothing to do with my plans!)

Seen your site, love your attitude. There is a lot of @#%$ out there. I'm researching
building an automated assembly line for some small jewelers torches we make, it
is a pain in the ass (ass)embly. Don't need super precision just a little power/force.
I am an expert at programming CNC's to machine metal, I have some basic electronics
knowledge. How much luck do I need? Thanks.
Ed *****
*** Engineering Group Inc
310 N *** Lane
ISO 9051:2000 Registered

Webster SD, 57274

(Another "Data Miner" They hold a sale over my head hoping I will answer their question. Some people also write like they hear me in their head while they are writing the email. The guy forgot to tell me what he is taking about. My guess is the WoodTurtle?)

      I had the same idea (I use a vega-duplicator professionally) and own a cnc router, but am no engeneer. I am going to buy your plan if you can tell me the following: How do you go about programming and drawing-especially due to the fact that you can only cut "downhill" without running into problems? Do you devide the profile into segments? what is max. cutting depth and max. workpiece-diameter of your machine?


(I have a BIG disclaimer about Lasers, Plasma Cutters and building my machines bigger but it does not stop anybody. Note typical first sentence, followed by dangling a plan sale over my head so I will answer questions I say not to ask.)

I'll try not to irritate you too much

I am going to buy a couple sets of your plans.

I am a welding artist(low budjet) I am working

On building my own cnc plasma gantry 4x8 table

I am not an engineer or have any experience

Just determination- My question WHICH

Set of your plans would have an x/y axis

Or even z - After seeing your site- my thought

Was - buy a couple of your plans- build these

Machines according to YOUR plans - to get

The experience- then branch out from there

To a 4x8 cutting surface- I've built the base

And spent 3 months online sniffing

Tell me what you think ?? Lloyd

(I delete these along with the virus)

I Emad matar from Eygpt
I want yuor cnc


(Yet another motor size question. I told the guy 1.5 amps tells me nothing and then he starts spouting a bunch of Enginnering babble. If he knows so much why did he bother me? )

 Hi John,

Love your site and approach.

Looking at your 3 axis controller plans. My brother's an EE and can help with assembly advice. He actually just designed a circuit that converts a 4-20ma signal to a user-variable duty cycle which I just built (perfboard and solder) and plan to use to drive an SSR in a coffee roasting application. I roast coffee in a hot air popcorn popper controlled with an industrial ramp/soak PID controller. So I am a beginner to CNC, but not without resources or willingness to improvise.

What would you say is the max depth of cut in MDF using 1.5amp motors? My CNC would be used mostly for ship modeling, but it would be nice to cut decorative moldings/trim/rosettes for my house now and then using some of the scrap MDF I have lying around. If those motors would be adequate I'll buy your plans. Probably the pipe dream plans too.


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