CNC Routing

$65/hr

$65/hr or $1.08/minute is our flat rate for CNC machining.
We can offer quantity discounts on larger production orders.
*There is a minimum of one hour to process any job on the CNC.

Existing CAD Design files are required.
File Specs are available at bottom of page.

*We do not do any milling of metals



ABOUT QUOTES

Quotes for the CNC router are more complicated than with the laser cutter as they require significant up front work to generate machine operations before we can see the machine time. As such we can’t give exact quotes off the bat, we will estimate your job and if that approximation is satisfactory we will schedule the job and let you know the more accurate cost before pulling trigger once we have the machine operations complete. Finally when the job is done the machine records the exact time it took which we bill by the minute after the first hour. Many shops just overestimate on a ballpark quote as their official quote, we charge by the minute at an established low upfront rate in your best interest.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Please Note – *We can only selectively offer CNC routing on a case by case basis to make sure your project is a good fit with our specific machine.

Examples of the type of projects we typically take on:

– Simple cutouts as well as pocketing features. (furniture pieces, toys, fixtures etc.)
– Straightforward surface milling (architectural site models, molds, signage)

We aren’t able to take on projects with double sided milling or excessive machining features and bit changes.

CAD files are required (Very cleanly drawn Illustrator files are also possible for simple cutting & pocketing)

Our machine is not equipped with a vacuum table so screw or clamp fixturing is required. Parts cut from sheets goods will come tabbed into place
inside the board for a rough delivery requiring user cutout with hand tools. To have the tabs removed by us there is an additional labor charge ($25/hr or 0.42/min).

Because of the violent nature of the CNC milling process and inconsistencies in some materials it’s realistic to expect it will take one or two iterations to have a production perfect file developed for manufacturing. We will make you aware of any concerns about the part design or material if any arise before milling your job.


MACHINE SIZE & FILE DESIGN

4’x4′ wide and up to 2″ thick

in woods and some foams or plastics. We don’t mill any metals.

Rhino is our CAD software so a native v4 file is file (must export if you’re on v5). Otherwise for 2D we can accept either .DWG or .DXF file types.
For 3D files please send us a Rhino file or export a .step file (if .step isn’t available .IGES is a secondary option).



Our panel robot is capable of cutting out shapes or carving designs or pockets into sheet goods up to 4’x4′ in size and 2″ thick. These simple cut-out or carving operations don’t require any 3D modeling skills and can be done with vector artwork from Illustrator, or other 2D CAD software.

If you do have 3D modeling skills you can step into the sculptural world of 3-axis CNC milling. Here the router mills over the entire face of a surface to achieve the final sculptural contour of your 3D model.

To learn how to create a file for CNC machining with us the basics can be found at the bottom of this page. We’re working out an in depth .pdf for free download so continue to check back.

Additionally we do have local freelance designer contacts if you’re unable to generate the necessary file yourself.


CAM

We can offer rough estimates based on your file and desired material without generating CAM. To get an exact quote before milling CAM is required which is a service you must pay for. Every CNC milling job requires CAM (machining operations) and this work is billed at our standard $25/hr labor rate.

Typically the CAM charge on a job runs $10 to $20 depending on complexity for the setup.

Bits

There are two common types of CNC router bits, one is flat bottom and the other has a round nose. For 3-axis milling typically a wider flat bottom bit will be used to quickly rough out large areas of negative space around your part. A smaller round nose bit would then be used to follow the surface of your design. Text or line artwork can be carved using a V shaped engraving..

We stock our bits in .125″, .25″ .375″ and .5″ diameters.

For doing shallow molds we do have a ball nose bit that is slightly tapered which will provide a draft, making it easier to remove a cast part from the mold. It’s a .125″ round nose bit with a 1.5 degree taper and a 2″ cutting length.

Layout

When laying out your parts to be cut take care to ensure there is enough space between them, here’s a simple formula:

  • Around the perimeter leave the following amount of space: 1″ + the bit diameter.
  • Between each part leave the following amount of space: typically 3x the bit diameter.

  • Note the CNC can only move up/down and left/right when designing your part – it can’t rotate itself to get into a cave like area (no undercuts). Always remember too that the bit is round – so the smallest inside corner that possible to mill is the same radius as the size bit you’re using.

    File

    We use Rhino to do our CAD & Modeling so you can always send a native Rhino file (We’re currently on Rhino v4 so remember to export if you’re on 5)
    For profile cutting we can use 2D line work from other graphics software – please export your drawing in the .dxf format for 2D drawings.
    For 3-axis milling we will need a 3D model. If you’re using a program other than Rhino please export as a .step file.
    Our machining program (RhinoCam) requires nurbs based surfaces for milling operations, not meshes.

    remember

    – It is essential that we receive clean, organized files for milling.

    – All loops must be closed.

    – Any extraneous data should be deleted (little line scraps or accidental double lines can mess things up!)

    – Make sure your file is set to inches and not mm before submitting.

    Good file management is key to any digital fabrication project




    Here’s a quick introduction to setting up a file for CNC Machining



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