CNC Machining

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CNC Machining at Narwhal Labs

Our CNC Routers and Equipment

'Narwhal Labs is equipped with an AvidCNC PRO2448 CNC router with a 2.2kW (3HP) spindle, a NEMA34 electronics package, proximity sensors, a corner finding touch plate, mach 4 control software, and a complement of tools and tooling courtesy of AvidCNC and Bits&Bits.

AvidCNC Cycle Start Checklist

  1. Locate the emergency stop
  2. Home all axis on the machine
  3. Confirm material dimensions
  4. Preview toolpaths/Run simulations
  5. Secure workholding
  6. Check router bit installation
  7. Verify work coordinate system (WCS)
  8. Review Mach 4 & G-code
  9. Test the spindle
  10. Re-install dust shoe

CNC Router Etiquette

  • CNC routers can be very loud and make unpleasant sounds. Check with others in the room before running
  • Please work with staff if you need to do long (1+hr) operations on a CNC.
  • CNC routers, even with dust collection, can throw dust and chips. Please be considerate of others that may be near by or that may be doing epoxy or finish work that is negatively affected by dust
  • Use ample workholding and tabs in your programs. Flying parts can be dangerous to you and those around you
  • Please inform staff of any broken tools/tooling or machine faults so we can keep things running for all members.


Our CNC router operates on Mach 4 control software.

We also have a license of vCarve pro that is located and running on our main laptop for the CNC router. You can use the free trial version of vCarve Pro on your personal computer or a Narwhal Labs loaner laptop to do all design and CAM work, then use the CNC laptop on-site here to export your G-code. The free trial enables all features except G-code export and has no time restrictions.

While Narwhal Labs does not endorse any specific design software package, our staff has some experience with Autodesk Fusion 360. It is a full-featured CAD and CAM package that is free for personal and education use.

Software Link
vCarve Pro
AutoDesk Fusion 360

Feeds and Speeds

Feeds and speeds refers to the feed rate, spindle speed, and plunge depth of your CNC program for a specific bit. These get calculated into a "chipload" or "feed per tooth". Try and aim for a feed per tooth or chipload of around .005.
Main article:CNC Router Feeds and Speeds