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What is a CNC machine?
CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. Simply stated, CNC refers to a machine which is controlled by a computer. There are many types of CNC machines, including Routers, Laser Cutters, and 3D printers.
What are your CNC machines capable of?
We have a 3 axis CNC router and Laser Cutter/Engraver. Our CNC router is capable of cutting parts up to 5 feet wide by 12 feet long and 4” thick. Any parts larger or thicker must be broken up into panels. We can cut 2D and 3D parts using nearly any router bit profile available. The 60 watt laser we use can cut and/or engrave up to 24 inches wide by 18 inches long. The maximum thickness for engraving is 12 inches while cutting is bout ¼ inch depending on material.
What steps are involved for cutting/engraving parts on a CNC machine?
There are 3 basic steps: CAD, CAM, CUT.
Computer aided drafting (CAD) is the first step which involve digitally modeling the part(s) to be made.
Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is taking the CAD file and choosing what type of cuts and tools we want the CNC machine to perform, along with specifying the material we are cutting into. We then use our software to generate a code for the CNC machine to read.
The final step is machining (CUT). We load the material, cutting tool(s), and generated code in the CNC machine and press GO!
How long does it take to cut out parts on the CNC router?
It depends on the type of cut we are making. Cutting out 2D shapes may only take minutes of actual cutting time, pocketing out material and engraving letters will take longer, while 3D carving will certainly take the longest. Refer to our sample machine time section to get a quick idea of how long certain cuts may take and how that will translate in costs.
What kind of digital files do you accept?
We can work with virtually any digitally produced file format you have to start our process but in order to streamline our end of the digital work, we prefer these file formats: DWG, DXF, RHINO, STL, OBJ, AI, EPS.
Do I need to provide a digital file?
No. We can create files for you based on cut-sheets, hand drawings, design consultations or any other form of specifications you may have. Providing digital files is simply recommended, if possible.
Am I charged for the CAD/CAM fees every time I place an order?
No. Once a program for the CNC machine is written, it can be repeated as many times as you would like. After the fee is paid for writing the program, only machine time and any other requested services are billed. If the design and/or material changes, a new program will need to be written which we do charge for.
Can I provide my own materials?
Yes. Provided materials must fit within our machine size capabilities and be flat on the bottom side. Large quantities of materials must be delivered on a pallet and will be subject to small storage fees.
Can I purchase materials through your shop?
Yes. We stock a wide variety of exotic and domestic wood, along with plywood and MDF. Anything we do not have in stock, we can have one of our many suppliers deliver to us within 48 hours or less for most materials.