Design Studio: CNC Router

Quick Start

  • 2D (+2.5 & 3D) digital fabrication technique for larger wood, plastic, & foam sheets
  • Multiple file formats accepted. Submit as .pdf for 2D designs, as specified for 2.5-3D
  • Undergraduate coursework only and approved student groups.
  • TA-assisted self-service. Begin by submitting a CNC Router Request Form.
  • On-site design consultation & assistance with processing

About This Machine

  • Make/Model: Forest Scientific FabBot Platform Series CNC Router
  • Working platform is 48″ x 48″. Recommend max thickness for 2D parts of 2″ and up to 6″ for 3D features.
  • Acceptable materials: Plywood, wood, plastic sheet & dense foam. No metal.
  • Located in The Pit. Operated only with TA assistance.
  • Operating software is VCarvePro

Designing for the CNC Router

Materials & Cost Estimation

  • The CNC router is primarily used to efficiently cut planar designs from sheets of plywood (up to ~2″ thick). It can also be used to cut 2.5-3D geometries out of softer materials like plastics and foam. The designs in all cases should be primarily planar.
  • If working in wood, use the laser cutter to cut smaller, thinner (1/4″ or less) sheets. The CNC router should be used for larger, thicker planar designs.
  • There is no charge for use of the CNC router for class projects; however, you may be asked to estimate part costs based on amount of stock material consumed.

Design Considerations

  • It is suggested that you review the software V-carve Pro so you have a general idea of how a CNC router works, and so you can communicate effectively how to fabricate your parts.
  • It is recommended that you use SolidWorks to create solid models of the parts, then pull in the front view as a drawing and save it as a.pdf. Make sure that the drawing is 1:1 scale for a 48 x 48″ cut bed.
  • You should annotate your drawings as shown below to specify cut-through or blind cut features. TAs will help you select appropriate router bit sizes and cut speeds to achieve these features.
  • Inside corners will have a radius equal to the radius of the tool used to cut the part. For example, if a part is cut with a 1/4″ End Mill, an inside corner will be a 1/8″ radius, not a square corner.
  • For 2.5-3D designs, you must meet with a TA first to discuss design strategy, materials, and submission file type.

File Formatting, Submitting, & Processing

  • Planar designs on the CNC router should be submitted as .pdf files (see Design Considerations above). Consult with a TA for appropriate file types for any 3D designs.
  • Once you’re all ready to submit your part, complete the CNC Router Request Form. It will ask you for the following information.
    • Information about your project (course, team number, your contact info)
    • Your design file (.pdf if 2D, other if 3D)
    • Your preferred appointment time for TA-assisted processing of your design
  • A TA will look over your request and will approve or reject your part for processing. The TA will correspond with you on the status of your part.
  • Your part will be made on the CNC Router during a specific appointment window. You must be present for this appointment and bring with you any stock materials needed for your job. The TA will primarily control the machine, but they made need to discuss with you your design needs in real time.

Need Additional Help?

Contact a Pit TA for more information.

Pit TA Office Hours

AcademicsDesign StudioEquipmentCNC Router