What you need to start CNC machining at home

By Tom Suddard
Jan 20, 2024 | CNC, Making stuff | Posted in Shop Work , Features | From the May 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Tom Suddard

Our series on helping every fabricator build better parts started with the basics: How to draw those parts, design them with a computer, and instruct a sub-$200 3D printer to bring them to life from plastic. Now it’s time to start cutting metal.

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Brotus7 Dork
3/30/22 1:24 p.m.

Hehe, did I hear someone say CNC crash?

Jokes aside, this is a great article series. I've been drooling at small CNC mills for a couple years.

Some forum members have had good luck with mail order custom machined parts, any chance of an article on those options?


Patientzero Dork
3/30/22 7:22 p.m.

In reply to Brotus7 :

I've designed and ordered from Xometry and Oshcut.  Both good to deal with.

drtalon123 GRM+ Member
12/20/22 3:28 p.m.

The Mercury Capri of routers hahahaha this had me rolling! Great article.

BimmerMaven Reader
9/30/23 2:03 p.m.

<<We couldn’t find a clear set of rules that categorizes machines as one or the other.>>


I'm reasonably sure that a mill has a stationary cutting head, while the part is mounted to a moving platform,

 and a router has a moving cutter head and a stationary platform.



Patientzero Dork
10/3/23 8:44 a.m.

In reply to BimmerMaven :

Depending on the machine the platform or head or both is moving on a CNC mill.  The platform might be responsible for certain axis and the head others.  Just depends.


BimmerMaven Reader
10/6/23 11:07 a.m.

In reply to Patientzero :

i live in a simple 3-axis world!  


stigskov New Reader
1/20/24 5:36 p.m.

Step 1: design the part

ummm, what cad program did you use?

stigskov New Reader
1/20/24 5:36 p.m.

Step 1: design the part

ummm, what cad program did you use?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
1/20/24 5:57 p.m.
kb58 UltraDork
1/22/24 11:29 a.m.

Between Alibre (CAD) and VCarve (for CAM and some CAD), I've been very happy with the results.

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