CNC Build Part 6: First Cut! #3DThursday #CNC

With the wiring complete, the rails aligned and the limit switches adjusted, it’s time for a test cut.  I’ve installed a 1/8″ ball-end mill in the PC-690 router I am using for a spindle.  I’ve also mounted PDJ’s nifty see-through dust boot and connected it to the shop’s dust collection system.  We’ll start with a simple engraving cut on a scrap of plywood from my off-cuts bin.


I generated some simple engraving G-code using Cam-Bam and loaded it into the Mach3 CNC package, positioned the bit and zeroed all the axis at the origin.


And off we go.  We can see through the dust skirt as it starts to make the cut.


Almost done now.  Everything appears to be working smoothly.


And there it is!  Looks like I need to level the work support rails a bit, but otherwise a successful first cut.


Work remaining includes speed control for the spindle, cooling fans for the steppers, emergency stop buttons and general cable-dressing.  These will be the subject of future posts.  But for now, this CNC build is fully operational.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

1 Comment

  1. Just my 2 cents on this since I have built a CNC router too. I initially made a vacuum chamber like you did with strips of vinyl. I found that this let far too much air through and my workshop ended up quite dusty. I switched to an enclosure that has thin brushes around it. I think that they were supposed to be used for smoothing out concrete. They are only about 3/4" wide. The top I made out of acrylic. Over time I modified the top to allow a sprayer for coolant for when I was cutting steel (I made mine really beefy) I also have a small hole for a WD40 nozzle to pass through for when I am cutting aluminum and brass. I added a couple of small LEDs to allow me to see what is going on in there since the vacuum hose and brushes block a lot of light. If I were to remake it (and I probably will eventually) I’d make it a bit bigger with a larger viewing area, have a LED strip light that goes around the entire perimeter so I could really see what is going on, and have a third port that I could hook up to my air compressor to blow away cuttings in some situations. For example, if I am cutting a hollow book, the cuttings tend to stay in the groove that was cut so being able to blow them out would be useful.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.