Mars Curiosity Rover Landing Site

Introduction: Mars Curiosity Rover Landing Site

Fun little desk decoration or paper weight! It celebrates the historic landing site of the curiosity rover.


CNC router

Proper Endmills

Aluminum, Plastic, or Wood

Step 1: Finding the File

There are a lot of places online that you can find free or inexpensive models for cutting, like: Thingiverse, GrabCAD, Turbosquid, or even the NASA website. NASA has published a large amount of files of different landing sites, planet surfaces, and vehicle/space craft models.

NASA Models -

Step 2: Setting Up the File

Once I had downloaded the stl. file from the NASA website, I needed to bring it into MasterCAM and get it scaled and correctly orientated. A CAM software, like MasterCAM, is where we will be programming the part - which is what the CNC Router will read to do the cutting.

Step 3: Programming File and Posting the File

There were only three operations for the part programming:

Operation 1: Surface roughing pass

Operation 2: Surface finish pass

Operation 3: Contour cut

Once programmed, I posted the G-Code to a flash drive and brought that to the router.

Step 4: Setting Up the Tooling

The tool I used to cut this out were the: 3/8 o-flute, 1/4 Ball Nose, and 1/4 o-flute

The tools first had to be loaded into the collets and properly tightened down.

Then the tooling was measured and the length was input into the CNC controller.

The tools were loaded into the tool carousel in slots 8, 9, and 10.

Step 5: Setting Up the CNC

Setting up the CNC included:

1. Loading the part program

2. Setting up the rubber seal

3. Pulling vacuum coins

4. Turning on the vacuum

Step 6: Running the Program

I kept a close eye and ear on the machine while it was running and adjusted the feeds and speeds as needed from the CNC Controller. The program started with the roughing pass, then went to the finishing pass, and finished up with the contour to cut the part out. The program took 202 minutes in total.

Step 7: Cleaning Up the Part

The final contour left a 1/32" onion skin on the base of the aluminum. I cut it out with the band saw and sanded the rest of it flush with the belt sander.

Step 8: 3D Print Rover Model

You can 3D print yourself a cute Curiosity model and set it up on a desk or shelf!

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    2 years ago

    Very cool, I like this : )