The following video was just a progression of my tinkering...
I wanted to try making my own couplers rather than buying them or just using fuel line rubber hose. So I built these out of the coupler nuts from the hardware store. They worked and were pretty strong but they transmitted a fair amount of flex and wobble to the whole assembly. They were putting a little extra strain on the steppers and the whole thing in general so I took them off and went back to the gas line couplers. As a note, use the 1/4" gas line rather than the 5/8" line (I used the 5/8" the first time). Even when pinched down the 5/8" was too big and slid off the stepper motor shaft.
And then some success! The thing actually was moving under its own power. This was really cool. I spent a lot of time just driving the gantry all over the place.
This was the first actual cut that I was able to make. I had all kinds of issues going on here; the inexpensive little rotary tool was wobbly, the plastic collet wasn't holding, my g-code input was wonky, the feed rates were set all wrong, the board wasn't held down well, etc....but seeing this thing work was very cool.
So after messing around with the small rotary tool I decided to re-design the gantry to hold a 1/4" router. I had just enough room to get a real router in there. But it's all in there now.
This was my first try at converting a regular digital Jpeg picture into g-code. I used a program from SimpleCNC called SimpleArt. It costs about $30 and is fun to play with. I have a lot to learn but it was neat to see it working. I've since moved on to positive cuts but haven't made any videos of that yet. There are a few programs out there that do this that aren't expensive. Another $30 program is Microcarve.
So this is where I am at the moment. The machine is built and functioning. I've gotten more comfortable with Mach3 and depth settings but it's taken some time. Feel free to post questions or comments on any of the videos. I always try to respond in a timely manner. Thanks for taking a look.