CNC Routers

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Steps for Access and Use

Step #1: Permits and Fee

Ensure you have:

[-] A CoE permit (red OR green) and have paid your materials fee for this semester. Our student staff are required to swipe your ID every time to verify.

[-] M-Pass holders do not have access to the CNC Routers.

Note: College of Engineering faculty and staff are not required to pay the materials fee, however, they must have a CoE permit. 

Step #2: Obtain Approved Material

Approved CNC materials include:

  • Composite Woods (Plywood, MDF, OSB)
  • Hardwoods
  • Sheet Plastics (HDPE, Acrylic, Polycarbonate, Acetal/Delrin)
  • Polyurethane modeling board (renshape)
  • ACM (Aluminum Composite Material)

Unapproved CNC materials include:

  • Non Ferrous Metals (aluminum, brass, coper, etc.)*
  • Ferrous Metals*

Materials not listed must be approved by the shop manager.

A list of materials sold in the makerspace can be found here.

*TEAM-Lab has the capabilities to machine these materials.

Step #3: Create Tool Paths.

There are two options for creating tool paths for the xCarve router – Easel & Vcarve.

  • Easel is a web-based software developed by the makers of the xCarve (Inventibles) to make creating tool paths easy. See this tutorial to get started with Easel.
  • Vcarve is an industry standard software that can make tool paths for both the xCarve and the Laguna router. See “Software (Vcarve)” on this page for details. If you would like help creating tool paths come to the Makerspace during a Project Support session (see calendar at bottom of the page).

The makerspace does not support other CAM software.

Step #4: Running the Router.

The xCarve can be used by anyone with a Red Permit during the machine shop open hours. You will also check out the xCarve Kit that includes: hold-downs, tooling, etc.

The Laguna router is run by appointment only. Email maker-router@lists.wisc.edu to coordinate a time during machine shop open hours.

Step #5: Come During the Reserved Time (Laguna Only).

Bring the Vcarve file (.crv) with you on a USB thumb drive.

Trained Makerspace staff must work with you to:

[-] Approve tool paths & post the gCode file.

[-] Approve stock set-up (fixturing).

[-] Approve machine set-up.

Step #6: Stay with the Machine While it is Cutting.

… and clean up after yourself.

Equipment Specs

Make Model Qty Features Permit Required
Laguna SmartShop II 1 4’x8’ bed, Auto tool changer Red + Appointment Manufacturer’s Manual Specs
Inventables X-CARVE (1000mm x 1000mm) 1 29″ x 29″ x 2.5″ bed Red Manufactures’s Manual

 

Software (Vcarve)

The Laguna and xCarve routers both run gCode created in V-carve (PC only).

The UW Makerspace has a license that will let you create tool paths at home (before you come to the makerspace).

Follow these steps to get the UW makerspace version of Vcarve:

  1. Download the trial versions of Vcarve here.
  2. In the trial version go to “Help – About”, press “Enter Makerspace ID” button on the dialog and enter the UW Makerspace ID 92C2F-2BAE0-A645E-207E7-9E911-31644-1D7F6.
  3. Restart Vcarve.

The last page of this PDF has the same instruction with images.

Note: The Makerspace Version of Vcarve does not post gCode. This is intentional, trained makerspace staff will check your tool paths before posting code to run on our machines.

V-Carve Tutorials

Start with this “Wing Spar” tutorial here to learn how to cut 2D profiles.

Vectric, the maker of Vcarve, provides very good tutorials here.

Makerspace Tool Library for V-Carve

A tool database for V-Carve can be found here. Currently this database only has imperial end mills.

To use this database you will have to have V-Carve installed (see Software above).

-In V-carve go to the Toolpaths panel and select Display Tool Database.

-Delete all existing tools and import the new tool database.

Materials

The Makerspace sells the follow sheet goods in the Mini-Mart. You can also use your own materials on the CNC routers if approved by the staff. If you have questions regarding the machinability of materials, please come to a Project Support Session or contact our CNC router managers.

Material Material Type Thickness Length & Width Cost
Plywood - Birch Wood 3/4 48 x 96 51.70
Plywood - Birch Wood 1/2 48 x 96 42.50
Plywood - Birch Wood 1/4 48 x 96 26.41
Plywood - Birch Wood 1/2 48 x 48 35.00
Plywood - Birch Wood 1/4 48 x 48 19.00
Hardboard (HDF) Wood 1/4 48 x 96 12.40
Hardboard (HDF) Wood 1/8 48 x 96 8.00
EPS Pink Foam 1 24 x 24 3.50
Polystrene Plastic 1/16 18 x 20 4.50
Polystrene Plastic 1/8 18 x 20 9.00
PETG Plastic 1/16 18 x 20 7.00
Hardboard (HDF) Wood 1/8 18 x 24 1.00
Hardboard (HDF) Wood 1/8 36 x 24 2.00
Hardboard (HDF) Wood 1/4 18 x 24 1.50
Hardboard (HDF) Wood 1/4 36 x 24 3.00
Plywood Wood 1/4 18 x 24 6.00
Plywood Wood 1/4 36 x 24 12.00
Foam Core 3/16 30 x 20 3.00
Acrylic - Black Plastic 1/8 18 x 24 10.75
Acrylic - White Plastic 1/8 18 x 24 10.75
Acrylic - Clear Plastic 1/8 18 x 24 10.75
Acrylic - Black Plastic 1/8 36 x 24 21.50
Acrylic - White Plastic 1/8 36 x 24 21.50
Acrylic - Clear Plastic 1/8 36 x 24 21.50
Acrylic - Black Plastic 1/4 18 x 24 20.00
Acrylic - White Plastic 1/4 18 x 24 20.00
Acrylic - Clear Plastic 1/4 18 x24 18.25
Acrylic - Black Plastic 1/4 36 x 24 40.00
Acrylic - White Plastic 1/4 36 x 24 40.00
Acrylic - Clear Plastic 1/4 36 x 24 36.50
Acetal Plastic 1/4 12 x 12 26.47
Acetal Plastic 1/4 24 x 24 105.90
Corrugated Cardboard 5/32 24 x 36 2.50

Useful Links and Guides

Example Stool for CNC Workshop – Here.

Reserve A Time Slot

Routers Managers

Lauren Reeg

Assistant Shop Manager

Quinn Sabin

CNC Routers, Laguna Maintenance & Operation Manager

Contact Us