Introduction: How to CNC: in Three Steps!

Getting started with CNC can be tricky, it's a powerful method to cut nearly anything, but knowing where to start and understanding the fundamentals can be overwhelming. I break each step down and show you how to complete a simple project from idea to final product.

Tools needed:
1) A PC: The core of CNC lies in software. Will will need three pieces of software:

  • CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program; Inkscape (free!).
  • CAM (Computer Aided Machining) program; MakerCAM (free!) or VcarvePro (not free) will work.
  • CNC controller (Computer Numeric Controlled); G-code Sender (free) for my specific robot.

2) You will also need a CNC machine. I am using a Shapeoko, which I bought as a kit for around $600 and assembled in about 5 hours. This CNC machine uses a Dremel router and an Arduino to handle the gcode.

3) Safety goggles. Always wear them, every time.

Materials needed
1) Wood! I am using 0.25" Maple plywood cut to roughly 7x6 inches.
2) A few screws to secure our material to the CNC table.

Step 1: Draw>Toolpath>Cut

Watch the video :)

Step 2: Use That Knowledge!

Now that you're one step closer to mastering CNC, try some new projects!

Make a holder for all those SD cards lying around. Download the CAD (.eps file) drawing. This will fit most (but not all standard size CD cases. Good luck!

Comments

author
KalvinD (author)2015-06-23

This is awesome! Nice write up.

Great information on feed rates!