We currently have 5 CNC machines available for Student use.
- 2 Roland SRM-20s (called Peter & Bernard)
- 1 Roland MDX-50 (called Rem)
- 1 AXYZ 4004 (Called Renzo)
- 1 AXYZ 4008 (Called Norman)
The 3 Roland Mini Mills are our entry level machines. They are used to introduce you to the concepts and ideas behind CNC Machining. They are safe, fun and easy to use and perfect for any small jobs you have.
Renzo and Norman can seem more intimidating due to their size but they work in the exact same way as the smaller machines. Our induction process is designed to give you the basic knowledge needed to use any of our CNC machines!
To do you CNC Essentials you must first complete the Fab Lab Essentials and Laser Essentials.
Our range of CNC’s are good quality machines designed to cut very accurately and to produce a fine quality finish.
Before you can use the machines by yourself, you will need to complete the 'Balsa Challenge'. This is a simple task we've carefully designed to be quick while also including all the basics you need to make something in the mill without hurting yourself or breaking the machine. It covers both file preparation and operation of the mill.
The task is simple - you must join two small pieces of balsa wood together using a CNC joint cut in the mill. Note the following parameters for the challenge:
● We will give you two pieces of Balsa wood stock, each 65 x 35 x 4.8mm
● Your design for each part of the joint must be maximum 50 x 20 x 4mm
● You can design your joint in any 3d software, but we recommend Rhino. If you use other software, import it and bring it as a Rhino file ready to cut.
Once you have completed your design you have to program it using RhinoCAM. This tells the machine how to cut and which paths to take. RhinoCAM is available on all PC’s in the CNC Lab. Follow the ‘How to RhinoCAM 3D’ Guide available on the Website. If you are having trouble with RhinoCAM book into a CAMClinic to get some help.
Once you have completed your RhinoCAM bring it to the CNCShop in P1 and we'll book you a time to show you how to use the machine so that you can cut your joint. You can see the induction schedule below. Be sure to read through the following guide and complete your design before coming to the Lab. Neither of these things should take you very long.
For examples of the sort of thing you can make, Google 'CNC joint', or come along to the Lab to get inspiration from joints other people have made.
No Narrow Cuts
Always add extra 0.2mm to tool thickness
No Long Reaches
No deeper cuts than tool lenght
Have edges properly joined
Extrude solid, watertight mesh
Maximum stock size 150x200x40mm
YOU MUST BE LOGGED IN TO SEE THE SCHEDULE
ONLY LAB STAFF CAN BOOK THE ESSENTIAL FOR YOU.
Light materials only (foam, balsa)
Check The Size
Maximum material size 150x200x40mm
Put Double-sided tape on the back of the stock
Insert the Tool
Insert tool up to the black line.
Tighten the Tool with allen key
- User Coordinate System : A coordinate system in which the location of the origin point can be freely changed. Machine Coordinate System : a machine-specific coordinate system in which the location of the origin point is fixed.
- Coordinates: The current position of a cutting tool is displayed.
- Speed: The movement speed of a cutting tool is displayed.
- Spindle: in [ON] and [OFF] rotation of a spindle is started and it stops.
- Feed Buttons: clicking these buttons moves the spindle head or table. Holding down the buttons performs continuous movement.
- Cursor Step: specify how much the cutting tool should move every time you single-click the X, Y, Z buttons.
- View: moves the spindle head to the center and moves the table to the very front. XY/Z: Moves the cutting tool to the XY/Z origin point. Stop: stops the cutting tool at that point when it is moving.
- Set Origin Point: select the coordinate system for setting the origin point.
- XY/Z: sets the current XY/Z position to the base point.
- Adjust Speed: the feeding speed of a cutting tool.
- Adjust Spindle Speed: adjusts the spindle speed. (The spindle speed cannot be specified from any
application other than VPanel.)
- Setup: sets the cutting machine's operating conditions and the correction values for the axes. Cut: configures cutting settings. Pause: pauses and resumes cutting. Cancel: cancels cutting.
- Output File List : cutting files are listed in the order they are output. Make sure the Roughing Path is set first.
- Add : adds the file to cut to the list. Delete : deletes the selected file from the list. Delete All : deletes all files from the list. Up/Down : moves the output order for the files. Test : if a cutting data file is written in NC code, you can test the output of the file to check for the presence of mistakes (bugs).
- Pause at each file : select this check box to pause output after a single file is output.
- Save List : the output file list and output order can be saved to a file. View List : opens a file saved.
- Output : outputs the files in the output file list to the cutting machine in order from the top. The dialog closes once the output begins Cancel : edit of the file carried out in the dialog is canceled and a dialog is closed.