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CNC Router

Adrian McEwen edited this page Jan 7, 2019 · 14 revisions

This machine is dangerous, please do not use unless you know what you are doing.

In the Metal Work room is a CNC-Step Router Type S720 T with a 720x420mm bed, 110m Z-axis travel. The spindle is a Suhner UAD 30-RF 1050W unit. For latest news about its status, see the issues list.

The computer beside the machine is integral to the system because it interfaces to the KinetiC-NC controller which drives all the motors.

To make the router work, turn the controller on with the red switch on the front of the box, log on to the computer, open the KinetiC-NC software and go to the "Jog" panel where there are controls to move it left-right-up-down at various speeds. You can load in NC code and run it. The controller turns the spindle on and off, but does not control its speed -- you need to set that on a dial on the side of the spindle.



We have three: 8mm, 6mm (slightly damaged), 3mm, 1/4inch, 1/8inch=3.175mm. It takes two spanners to bot the collet it (one on the nut and one on the spindle). You must tighten the collet up enough so it doesn't fly out and get damaged. You must use the correct collet size for the bit or it will jam.

Milling bits

See the CNC tool crib for list and records.


The most common method is to drill holes in the part and screw it down to the sacrificial bed.

This is sometimes a problem with thin flexible material that is pulled in the middle by the direction of the flukes of the cutter.

Tool length zeroing

There is a touch probe block that can be re positioned and tested using a macro available in the KinetiC-NC software. Sometimes zeroing is done by eye and trapping a piece of paper against the bed.

There are different conventions of either setting the zero to the top of the stock and milling into the negative Z, or setting it to base of the stock. There button on the right that zeroes each of the three axes individually to where it is currently situated. Watch out for the G53 and G43 modes. The controller has many different offset modes.


Software to generate CNC toolpaths (aka G-Code) is not universal. Fusion 360 and FreeCAD are both installed on the same computer as the controller for convenience. The software that came with the machine Construcam-3D was not popular. For any CAM software you need a post-processor made for the machine to generate the G-code that it accepts.

The computer is connected to the DoES freenas which you should use for sharing and transferring files from your own computer to save the hassle of memory sticks.

Fusion 360

We have an educational install, and it's able to make toolpaths.


Toolpaths are made using the Path workbench. There is a post-processor called "jgt" that should work for the machine.

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