Desktop Manufacturing: The CNC Mill

By FPL_Adam

Get started learning about desktop manufacturing with a simple project for a CNC mill. A CNC (computer numerical control) mill will turn digital designs into physical objects and can work with a wide range of materials (wood, acrylic, aluminum, vinyl, and more). A great starter project is creating beautiful candle holders out of wood and Corian.

When using the CNC mill at the library, you’ll want to make use of the online software Easel to create your design (or upload an existing design). Easel is an easy beginner friendly software for both creating designs and operating the CNC mill. You can create a free account here:

There is even a great short 4 minute video that explains all the basic features of Easel:

To create the candle holders you can borrow the designs and take a look at the original designers notes on creating the object including the designers source for the materials. Just click on the Open in Easel button to view the designs:

Of course, you can edit and tweak the original designs in Easel to put your own personal touch on the project. Once you are happy with the designs just head to the library with your raw materials (wood and Corian) and we’ll help you get started. We have a selection of milling bits to choose from (including the 1/8th inch bit recommended for this project). Note that you will want to make sure your raw materials will fit into our CNC mill. Check out the Getting Started document that includes all the technical details: