Week 3: More Desktop CNCing


We’re continuing our work with the desktop CNCing.  We will discuss more material, endmill, and file options.  As well as start working with CAD.



A great source of inspiration is to use existing files for your 2.5D parts.  Pulling files from the Noun Project.


Different Bits

There are a lot of types of bits: round nose, engraving, small bits.  And fan attached.


Different Finishes

Aluminum: Sanded, Polished, Tumbled, Powder Coated
Plywood: Sanded, Oiled, Waxed
Acrylic: Waxed (1st stage wheel only)


Milling Thin Parts

Thin parts using PCB spoilboard

Step 5 in Build a Magnetic Clock


Acrylic Inlay

Milled acrylic parts and acrylic weld

Mill acrylic parts then check for proper tolerances with a dry fit.  Flood the edges with acrylic weld (wear gloves and respirator).  Press fit into place on a flat surface and allow to dry.

Sanded acrylic inlay

Sand inlay flat, start with 220 grit, then 400, then 600.  You can wet sand if you’d like.

Polished acrylic inlay

Polish the acrylic with the buffing wheel.  Only use the first stage wheel and wax (brown wax).


Slip Roll Metal Parts

If there is times, we can show the slip roll for curved metal parts.

Slip rolled aluminum pieces


Vacuum Former

If there is time, we can show you how to form plastic shells from milled bucks.

Vacuum formed plastic hearts


Vector Works

For the time being, our CAD (Computer Aided Design or Drafting or Drawing) of choice will be VectorWorks.  If you haven’t already, please download the free student version.

Download this template, open it in Vectorworks 2019, and save it as a default template.

Again, we will stick to 2D drawings for now in order to create 2.5D parts.  Simple drawings can turn into involved parts.

The 2D Polygon Tool can make complicated geometry very quickly from simple shapes.

Exporting to Illustrator and Bantam

  • In Vectorworks click File, Export, Export DXF/DWG…
  • In the Export Options menu, export you file as Format: DXF (Text), Version: 2010
  • Open your DXF file in Adobe Illustrator
  • If asked, set units to inches, then set scale to 1:1
  • Save As… your file as an .svg
  • Open the SVG file in Bantam



Make something involved on the mill.



Related Reading/Viewing

Build a Magnetic Clock

Learning About SVGs at Recurse