Fall 2020 Hours

Support Shop / dFab Lab is closed. For questions please contact:

David Kempken. dkempken@calpoly.edu

James Mwangi. jmwangi@calpoly.edu

CNC Router

CNC Header Image

How To Prepare 

The bed of the machine is 4'x 8' and can currently accomodate up to 4" of Z height. To prepare, you'll need your material stock and digital file. Toolpaths are generated with RhinoCAM, a plugin available on the eight computers in the d[fab]lab. It is up to the student to take the initiative in learning RhinoCAM - technicians are unable to teach this software to students.

Video tutorials are available for reference: https://dfab.calpoly.edu/tutorials-rhino

These videos are meant to serve as a general guide. It is your job to synthesize this information and correctly program RhinoCAM . 

Once you program your machine operations with RhinoCAM, a technician will review your file with you during one of the RhinoCAM check times and notify you of necessary modifications. If your file is accurate, the technician will schedule a time for your project and you will be charged for the RhinoCAM estimated time at the rate of $15 per half-hour via your Poly-Card. To estimate the total run-time, the RhinoCAM estimation is multiplied 2-3x. This accounts for the set-up, take-down, and clean-up. You will only be charged for the RhinoCAM estimated time.

Before your CNC mill job is scheduled, you must have your file checked.

Fall 2020 RhinoCAM check times are:  

**Please note:


Support Shop/ dFab lab is closed for Fall 2020. For questions please contact:  


David Kempken.  dkempken@calpoly.edu

James Mwangi.  jmwangi@calpoly.edu


Monday TBA
Tuesday TBA
Wednesday TBA
Thursday TBA



Tool # Type Cut Length Overall Length
1 ¼” compression 1” 1.75”
2 ¼” ball endmill 1.5” 1.75”
3 ½” square endmill 2” 3.25”
4 ⅛” drill bit 1” 1.75”
5 ½” ball endmill 2” 3.25”
6 Open    

Material Preparation

You must supply their own material stock. If your material stock is glued up, be sure that it has had at least 24 hours to dry. Use liberal amounts of glue spread evenly across the material to ensure complete adhesion when laminating materials. If laminating blue foam, use a urethane glue like gorilla glue - elmers / tacky will not dry correc and can damage the machine. You must measure your actual material thickness with calipers, as this will impact your RhinoCAM settings. Calipers are available in d[fab]lab.

Materials you can use are:

  • WE DO NOT CUT MDF, but will cut ULDF.  ULDF can be purchased through Mayan Hardwood.  Call Mayan at 805 238-0038.  Tell them you are a Cal Poly student.
  • Wood, including plywood and hardwood
  • Rigid Insulation Foam (blue foam)
  • Plastics, such as acrylic and polyethylene (LDPE / HDPE)

Machine Set-Up and Operation

You are responsible for clamping or screwing your stock down to the router table. Be aware of where you are placing screws to ensure that they are not in the way of a tool path. If a tool path hits a screw, the bit will be destroyed.

The technician will load your file and set the machine for your part. You are responsible for observing the machine while in operation. You are responsible for changing out the tool when prompted by the machine. Please note that it is common for parts to take several hours to finish. 

You are required to wear eye, ear and dust protection while the machine is in operation. Eye protection, ear muffs, and a re-useable mask are available in the CNC router room. 


You are responsible for leaving the CNC router room in a clean condition.  The floor should be broom swept and blown with compressed air.  You are responsible for putting off-cuts and scraps into the dumpster. Large scraps and 4’x8’ drops must be cut down to size on the panel saw.  Do not leave large scraps in the router room or in the shop yard.   You will lose your privileges to use the CNC router if you are negligent in your clean-up responsibilities. 


If you have questions about the CNC router, please drop by the Digital Fabrication Lab in the SST (Simpson Strong Tie Lab), second floor, and speak to a technician.

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