CNC Router questions

Hi All,

I have a woodworking project I want to start and after careful consideration, I think employing the CNC router would be best for this. As a result I have a few questions:

  1. How soon could I get an orientation on the CNC Router?

  2. My project will probably be designed using Fusion 360…maybe google sketch-up… Before I go too far down either of those paths, what kind of files need to be prepared for the CNC router to route? Is there a program native to the CNC router that I could use instead…and is it available for a Mac…for free? FYI - profiles I’m cutting will be 2D paths in 3/4" plywood.

  3. Are there any other questions I should be asking before taking this project on?

Oh - somewhat related - what kind of tolerances can I expect to hold with the CNC Router?


  1. @Gary or @RealCarlRaymond can answer the scheduling question. I know @craniumation is waiting for a CNC checkout as well.

  2. Fusion 360 is the way to go for design. Depending on what you’re doing you can either do the CAM profiles in Fusion, or export the shapes into VCarve to do the CAM step. The checkout goes over using VCarve to do this. We have a makerspace license of VCarve that let’s you do all the steps up to posting code for the machine from your own computer using our makerspace license key. We don’t have it posted online b/c we’re not sure if it’s OK to make it publicly available. Fusion is available for the MAC, but I think VCarve is Windows only (someone will have to check me on that, I couldn’t find anything for sure on their website.) VCarve is pretty user friendly for 2D cuts, pockets, etc. For more 3D work, I think most people have gone to Fusion as it provides more control.

  3. There’s probably plenty more to ask, but without knowing the project it’s hard to guess what they would be. :slight_smile:

Tolerances, very good. I don’t think we’ve run the numbers to give an actual number, but I also don’t think I’ve heard many complaints about accuracy/tolerances with it.

I recently used Fusion 360 to prepare a 3D model for the CNC. The CAM section in Fusion 360 allows you to export a .tap file that contains g-code (commands) for the router. Here is a tutorial that I followed.

However, for purely 2D projects Fusion 360 is an overkill I think, especially if you’ve never used it. I would draw what I need in Inkscape and import the vector graphic into VCarve, which will produce the g-code.

I can get you checked out on the machine, but weekends are best for me.

Me too please!

I was part of that last one that had to be canceled


Hi Kirill,

I’ve used fusion 360 for a few things previously. I was hoping I could do a 2D sketch with a profile and export a vector or something to Vcarve. Sounds like this is possible.

I’m not doing any 3D profiling, so I think I’m all set.


Hi Karl,

I could do a weekend. However with the holiday fast approaching, I’m not sure if that would put the check-out into 2018. I have a lot of availability between Christmas and New years if that might work?


In that case, how’s Tuesday or Wednesday night at 8:00?

Hi Carl,

When you say Tuesday or Wednesday do you mean today or tomorrow at 8:00PM or the 26th and 27th?

Regardless, I could probably make any of those options work except tonight. Let me know what works best for you.


I can do tomorrow night, the 20th, at 8:00pm. Will that work for you?

Hi Carl,

I just checked with the family - tomorrow at 8:00PM will work. See you then.


Tagging @Kyle and @craniumation in case they are able to make it as well.

Just curious - about how long does it take to go through everything for the check-in?

Probably an hour and half.

Sounds good. I’ll be there.

Hi Carl,

We had some last minute scheduling changes at our house. Is there any way we might be able to do this earlier - like 7-7:30PM? Otherwise is next week a possibility? Sorry for the last minute change!


I’m just reading this at 7:34. We can do this another time; no trouble. I’ve got Christmas vacation coming up.

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