CNC Router Class

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The CNC Router class is intended to teach safe basic use of the Hive's CNC Router. A CNC Router is in essence a wood router that can be controlled and moved by a computer. Materials are mostly limited to those that a normal wood router can cut (woods, some plastics, foam, etc).

The two main programs used are Vectric Aspire to generate gcode and Mach3 to control the router.

If you have any questions about use of the CNC Router or other classes talk to the CNC area warden.


The CNC Router is a computer controlled device and as such does exactly what you tell it to do. If you are not extremely careful this can lead to a lot of unsafe situations such as bits breaking, material being launched off the table, fingers being crushed, etc.

Important safety precautions

Keep your hands and other body parts away from any moving parts! The gantry has many exposed gears and other moving parts which can easily catch clothing, pinch or crush fingers, etc.

Make sure anyone standing near the machine knows you are going to run the machine.

General safety advice

Wear hearing protection and safety glasses.

Generating gcode

Programs you can use:

  • cambam
  • Fusion360
  • Vectric aspire
  • millions of others

Setting up the machine

Initial setup: Power electronics on. Make sure all emergency stops are off. Check that motors are running smoothly. Load bit in to spindle (maybe turn electronics off for this?).

Gcode setup: Load gcode. Make sure it is rotated the correct way. Make sure it isn't larger than the cutting area.

Material setup: Secure material to be cut to spoil board. Variety of methods for this. Make sure it is square. Set zeroes.


Make sure gcode is at the top of the program (hit rewind or ctrl-w). Make sure your zeroes are correct. Set z height higher than you need to and do a dry run. Set correct z height and do actual run.