CNC Milling Machine

Our CNC Milling Machine is based on Joe's CNC plans, and was built by Trevor Taylor, Lloyd Engebretsen, Bill Sandidge, and countless others. The working area is approximately 48" x 52", and the cutting tool is controlled with Mach 3.

Use of the CNC is restricted to members who have taken the CNC class, or who have otherwise demonstrated their mastery of the machine.

Toolpaths for the CNC are typically generated in either VCarve or Fusion 360.

Decatur Makers has unlimited licenses for the makerspace client of VCarve Pro. This version is limited in that it will not export GCode to be interpreted by Mach 3. Click here to download the trial version of VCarve Pro. Contact Trevor Taylor, George Breeden, Michael Fletcher, or Chris Goode for the code to convert the trial version to the makerspace version.

For a quick VCarve tutorial, head over here.

When you generate toolpaths in VCarve, you will need to specify the bit you are using. Click here to download the Decatur Makers tool database file, DecaturMakersbits.tooldb, which you can import into the toolpath in VCarve.

A library for Fusion 360 is coming shortly.

Here's a quick workflow for working with the CNC:

  1. Turn on CNC Power switch (leftmost switch on the right side of the CNC)

  2. Turn on computer, login and launch Decatur Makers CNC

  3. Click Reset to exit Estop mode

  4. Click Ref All Home and wait for the machine to home

  5. Secure your stock with clamps and put the touch plate on the zero corner of your stock; PLUG IN the touch plate

  6. Attach your bit and move spindle above the touch plate, about 1/4”

  7. Press Z on the XYZ section to zero the Z axis above the plate

  8. Move the bit and lower into the hole in the touch plate

  9. Click the yellow crosshairs in the touch plate test area; hold onto the touch plate until the XY touch test is finished

  10. 10.Move the bit over the top of the touch plate and press the yellow Z- arrow

  11. 11.Remove the touch plate and press Goto Z to confirm your zero position

  12. 12.Press Load G-Code and load your G-Code

  13. 13.Turn on Spindle power switch (rightmost switch on the right side of the CNC)

  14. 14.Open the baffle to start the dust collector.

  15. 15.Click Spindle CW, and Cycle Start, then Cycle Start again after the M6 tool change line (you should already have changed the tool to your bit)