CNC routers are computer-controlled machines that carve and cut wood, composites, foam, and some plastics. It’s a basically a spinning drill bit that removes material. While 3D printers represent additive forms of fabrication (they slowly add material where none exists), CNC machines represent a subtractive form of fabrication (because they remove existing material to create a product).
What can I make with a CNC router?
We have two CNC routers for two different purposes. The small OtherMill Pro is designed to make custom circuit boards. It can engrave other materials but for most CNC projects, the larger ShopBot Desktop Max is the better choice.
Maker Hub – Downtown
You must attend a 90-minute Basic Training and Safety training before you can use the ShopBot CNC router. See www.elon.edu/MakerHub for a list of upcoming trainings. After attending training, you can use the ShopBox CNC during regular operating hours. It is first-come, first-serve.
Training is not required to use the OtherMill Pro.
The ShopBot is located in the Safety Zone so please review the Safety Zone rules on our policies webpage.
Tutorials and resources
- Guide: ShopBot Desktop Max – if you’re new to CNC routing, this is the place to start. This guide outlines the entire process of creating a file to cutting it, including important safety rules for the ShopBot.
VCarve Pro Tutorials – video tutorials for using VCarve Pro, the software you’ll need to prepare your file for the ShopBot.
Tutorials from ShopBot – videos and instructions for the ShopBot Desktop Max
Information about copies of Adobe Illustrator at a reduced rate for for Elon students and free for faculty and staff. Review the Computer Software page on the Elon Technology Wiki for instructions. Illustrator files can easily be imported into VCarve Pro.
Learn how to use Adobe Illustrator with Lynda.com tutorials. Free access for Elon users.
Download the free software for the OtherMill Pro – Bantam Tools Software.
Checksheet: ShopBot Desktop Max – Outlines steps to complete before starting an engrave or cut.