CNC Milling

Overview

Our 3-Axis CNC router can be used for cutting 2D part files as well as 3D surfacing. While it is unable to cut any undercuts, it has the capacity to cut through materials up to 3” thick. Before your part can be milled, you need to review your file with the technician to ensure that it can be processed and to discuss the cost of running your file. All CNC Milling requires a 3-day lead time.

Equipment

Techno LC Series 4896 3-Axis CNC Router. This mill has a 4’x8’ bed with a 4” gantry clearance (Z height).

Pricing

The cost of CNC milling is $30 per hour, with a minimum charge of one hour. There is also a $6 file set up fee which includes the review of your file and the set up on the CNC bed.

Materials

Wood, including plywood and hardwood Rigid Insulation Foam Plastics, such as acrylic and polyethylene (LDPE / HDPE)

Keep in mind that the quality of the material you use will affect the final result. Low quality plywood (chipboard, luan, warped sheets etc.) will yield low quality results.

If your material stock is glued up, be sure that it has had at least 24 hours to dry before dropping it off. Use liberal amounts of glue spread evenly across the material to ensure complete adhesion when laminating materials and ensure the material is cut square and true. We would also recommend that you use calipers to note your actual material thickness, For example, if using ¾” plywood, it is likely the actual thickness is .6875”. This information is important when designing your file.

Preparing your files

2D cutting can be set up using 2D vector files made with AutoCad or Adobe Illustrator. Be sure your file is made up of closed vectors; all lines meet exactly at endpoints and there are no duplicate or overlapping lines. Indicate any pockets by using highlights and text notes. Save your file as a DWG or Ai file.

Keep in mind that the smallest cutter we work with is 1/8” and so the cut paths will be 1/8” wide.

3D surfacing uses a surface or solid model as a starting point. These files should be at actual scale of the part you are making. We will use VisualCAM to generate the tool-paths to machine cut your part. Save your file as an STL or as a Rhino file.

Ensure that there is a 1” margin no cut zone around the perimeter of all your material stock in order for us to secure the material down to the mill bed.

Cutter Information

We have some cutters available to students. If you are working on a particularly large project, or if you require a specific finish, you may be asked to provide your own cutter. To determine the best type of cutter for your project, speak to the technician.

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