Table Size: 5′-0″ x 10′-0″
Gantry Height: 10″ with MDF Spoil board or 11″ without MDF Spoil board
Four zone vacuum table
Pneumatic Alignment Pins
Automatic Tool Calibration Pad
The Lab Coordinator will provide assistance to students and faculty when using the CNC router. Students and faculty are responsible for programming all toolpaths using RhinoCAM. RhinoCAM is available in the computer lab located in ARC 172. Detailed PDF tutorial guides are available to assist students and faculty with toolpath programming. Additionally, the Lab Coordinator is available to answer questions during the programming process and will check all toolpath programming. Once toolpaths are checked, the Lab Coordinator will assist students and faculty with configuring the machine, loading material, and executing the job.
Please Note: File checks are NOT done via email.
At the Conception of a Project:
- Visit website to determine machine limitations, tools, acceptable materials, etc.
- Review the RhinoCAM PDF guide online to gain an understanding of what geometry is required, and how that geometry is arranged in Rhino for the plugin to operate correctly.
- Students may schedule an appointment with the Lab Coordinator to discuss feasibility and possible solutions for their project.
Preparing a Rhino File(s) for Toolpathing:
- Have all necessary geometry required for the toolpath process cleanly modeled in Rhino.
- Save Rhino file(s) to USB drive.
- Visit ARC 172 (ARC computer lab) during regular hours to toolpath your Rhino files.
- Review the RhinoCAM PDF guide online.
- Save Rhino file(s) with CAM settings to a USB drive.
- Once students and faculty feel they have sufficiently completed tool paths, they may email email@example.com for a file check appointment.
- Please obtain material stock prior to the file check. Bring material stock.
- Bring Rhino file(s) with CAM settings on a USB drive.
- All parameters of the toolpaths will be verified for conformance with lab policies and safety protocols. Minor adjustments and edits may be performed during the file check appointments. If major revisions are needed, students and faculty will need to come back for another file check after revisions are completed.
- If toolpaths are checked and approved, an appointment can be scheduled to run the job. CNC cutting appointments must be scheduled in advanced and are not scheduled the same business day that the file check occurs. CNC cutting appointment times are based on the RhinoCAM time estimate multiplied by a factor of three.
- Arrive 5 mins prior to your appointment.
- Bring your RebelCard and material stock. Ensure there are sufficient funds prior to your appointment.
- Students and faculty are required to monitor the job and to clean up.
- Your RebelCard will be charged at the end of the appointment.
Safety Guidelines for CNC Router
Acceptable and Prohibited Materials
If two or more pieces of stock are to be laminated (or glued) together, each internal surface must be evenly coated in glue and the piece must be clamped for 24 hours prior to milling.
CNC milling poorly laminated stock can pose a safety risk. There should be no visible gaps between laminated layers. The digital fabrication lab requires wood stock (hardwoods, plywoods, and MDFs) to be laminated together with wood glue – titebond II or similar. Foams are required to be laminated together with water activated polyurethane glue – Gorilla Glue or similar.
Materials can be stored for CNC jobs in ARC 175 (3) days prior to your appointment. All materials must be clearly marked with a name and phone number. Any unmarked materials or materials stored longer than (3) days will be discarded. The Digital Fabrication Lab is not responsible for lost or stolen materials.
Materials may be stored outside in the yard with the approval of the lab manager. All materials and projects must be stored out of the firelane adjacent to the building.
It’s recommended to protect materials from the elements with either a tarp or plastic. Students and Faculty must provide the applicable supplies needed to protect their materials. Additionally, it’s advised to raise materials on blocks to protect from ground moisture. All materials must be clearly marked with a name and phone number.
Arranging Parts in the Rhino File
There are three things that need to be balanced when arranging parts on a sheet – time spent programming, time spent post processing, and material usage.
The most expeditious way to program a file and limit post processing is to think of each part as a separate operation. In other words, the machine will completely cut out the first part then move to the next. This is the fastest way to set up toolpaths because the settings can be easily copied to each part. The drawback is there are duplicate cutlines and there needs to be some original stock remaining between parts for the bridging tabs to attach. Thus, requires a little more material.
Typically, there needs to be a minimum 1-1/2″ spacing between pieces. This will account for two 1/2″ bit diameters and leave 1/2″ of material remaining for the bridging tabs to attach. The 1/2″ of material remaining is a good rule of thumb because it works well for long parallel cuts where the stock may begin to vibrate, thus requiring intermittent screwed connections. The 1/2″ is wide enough to allow screwed connections if needed.
Alternatively, the job can be set up to only leave a 1/2″ gap between the pieces for one pass (to cut out the sides of two parts at once), but this requires a more involved tool path programming process. When doing this, the joined part outlines will need to be broken up as needed.
Onion skinning is a technique that can also be used when cutting out small parts. This involves leaving a small layer of material remaining at the bottom of every cut. This technique will only work on higher quality materials that are not warped. Low grade plywoods will not work for this application. Once the cuts have been completed by the CNC router, the onion skin can be scored with a utility knife and the parts can be snapped apart.
It’s always recommended to remove the remnants of bridging tabs and the onion skin by either sanding or using a hand-held router with a flush trim bit. Breaking these off can result in tearing the face veneer!
For sheet goods, a 1″ margin is needed around the perimeter for fastening the piece to the spoilboard. For thicker (or laminated) stock, blocking can be used around the piece to secure it to the spoil board.
Size of Stock vs. Size of Final Part
It is difficult to get stock perfectly aligned to the origin and stock edges may not be true. If an absolute size is desired for the final part, it is always advisable to perform all milling operations, then cut the final piece out of the stock at the end of the job.
RhinoCAM Information & Guide
The CNC router is equipped with an automatic tool changer. There are six standard tools always loaded on the CNC router and two open tool slots. The standard tools are versatile and can be used for a wide range of tool path programing.
Tool 1: 1/4” Square End Mill
Tool 2: 1/4” Ball End Mill
Tool 3: 1/2” Square End Mill
Tool 4: 1/2” Compression
Tool 5: 1/2” Ball End Mill
Tool 6: 1/8” Drill
Tool 7: Open
Tool 8: Open
Max Cut Depth: