CNC Milling Machine

The CNC machine is a subtractive process that uses a computer-controlled router to remove material by drilling and cutting to turn a flat surface into a 3D model.

Material: Wood, Metal, Foam, Plastics (consult with Tech supervisor for use of other materials)

Note: Other items can be attached to router head

Tool and Build Specifications

Bed Volume: 60 L x 54 W x 7 H in (1524 L x 1372 W x 178 H mm)

Height: is gantry clearance.  part height depends on depth of bit (estimate bit x2)

Slope of cuts:  considered with regards to collet collisions with sidewalls

Students can prepare .nc files in CAM software (tutorial link) and submit to TechTAs for CNC mill operation.

Contact with CNC Mill requests.  Jobs require 1 week advance notice.

Process Notes:

  1. Consult Technician (Tech TA and/or Tech supervisor) about job.
  2. For better results, scale the 3D model to fit the build volume.
  3. For best results, build the 3D model within the dimensions of the build volume. After scaling a large 3D model to fit the size of the build volume, sometime parts of the building structures may be too small.
  4. Always test a smaller version first.  You will want to conduct some preliminary tests to see the finish results with different bit sizes, types, and milling settings.  Unique materials will require extra testing.  Homogenous materials (MDF, foam) will yield more consistent results than organic materials (wood).  Hardwoods are typically denser and therefore better than softwoods.
  5. TIME, TIME, TIME….lead time in trouble shooting and job set-up can be a factor.  Denser materials like wood or MDF will take longer to mill than softer materials like foam.
  6. Machine operation is to be done by trained staff only.
  8. Files must be cleanly built.  No naked edges.
  9. Consider that the object will be built on the X, Y, Z axis.  There are no undercuts.
  10. Depth of deepest vertical sidewall should be no deeper than the depth of flutes of the router bit.
  11. Consider the grain of the router paths.  A parallel milling operation will leave a parallel grain to the cuts.  This can be an aesthetic consideration.
  12. Allow time for post-processing.  Burs and splinters may need sanding.  As well, if you are trying to achieve a smooth surface you will need to allow time to sand after it is done.
  13. Consider the uniqueness, size, and replicability of your geometry.  A single simple box is not an appropriate use of the tool.  Multiple, complex parts would be.


CNC Resources

Manufacturer’s Website