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An introduction on how to use the noisy machine in the corner of G10

Induction Required

This equipment requires an induction prior to use. For your own safety and to avoid damage to the equipment do not attempt to use it until you have been inducted.

How do CNC machines work?

The following videos give a much better explanation than this author can.

What is it?

  • A modified ICP 4030 CNC mill
  • A computer-controlled, spinning cutter
  • It can move in three directions:
    • Linearly in X, Y, Z
    • A fourth, rotary dimension (A) is planned
  • It can cut many things:
    • Tested:
      • Aluminium, carefully
      • Steel - a small experiment has been carried out, more attempts needed
      • Wood, quite easily
    • Not tested, yet:
      • Plastics
      • Carbon composites
      • Titanium?! - approach with extreme trepidation
      • Human Fingers

Machine Overview

What do all the buttons do?

  • Power buttons
    • Box on the side of the machine
    • Controls power to the entire machine - including the computer
    • Hit the off button if a catastrophe is happening
  • Cover
    • Hold the button to unlock the door
    • This only works when the machine has power
    • There is an intention to interlock this to the spindle motor, but this hasn't happened yet
  • Other buttons
    • They do nothing
    • Ideally, they will do something one day, but this is a low priority, so may not happen

How do I use it without dying?

  • Don't cut your finger off
    • Don't touch the spinny bit
    • Don't open the cover when it is spinning
    • The spindle power is interlocked to the door. However, interlocks can fail!
  • The mist cooler creates an oily fog
    • Don't breath this in
    • External extraction is planned
    • An interim solution has been to use the portable sawdust extractor to catch the cloud from the top of the machine. The filters/dust inside seem to work well at removing the (very small volume of) oil from the air
  • Dust clouds can be flammable
    • Especially true if cutting wood
    • The portable dust extractor can remove the dust cloud from the top of the machine. A better attachment is needed (want to be amazing and help the space? create this attachment!)
  • Metal chips can scratch your eyes
    • They will likely get stuck to the door and then fall on you when you open it. Watch out for this!

How do I make something with it?

  • Have you watched the videos linked further up the page?
    • watch them
  • design your part in CAD software
  • use CAM (computer-aided manufacture) software to create the g code (.nc file)
  • transfer this to the CNC mill computer
  • on the desktop, press “run bCNC”
  • Connect to the machine through COM 4 (probably)
  • press home
  • zero each axis on the workpiece
    • you did set the origin to a sensible point didn't you?
  • press play
  • you will have made a mistake in your setup, accept this
    • grumble to yourself and others
    • try again

What is the build volume?

  • 400x300x140mm (XYZ)
  • The table is larger: 600x375mm

Am I allowed to/how do I/would it work if I?

  • Yes, probably, or possibly no
  • the machine is extremely versatile, so all eventualities can't be covered on a Wiki page
  • don't be afraid to experiment, but be sensible when you do
  • someone on youTube has probably done it. take a look

Oh no, I've broken the CNC mill!

  • This may happen at some point
  • Clearly, you're smart enough to make the machine move. Therefore, attempt to repair it.
  • Put a post on the google group
  • Put a label on the machine

Induction Process

  • Design the thing that you want to mill
    • Use Fusion 360 as it is easy to transfer designs from this into machine code
  • Ask for an induction on the google group
    • The induction will be tailored around the part you are creating


  • Alex R
  • Felix H
  • Mark P

Useful Information for Maintainers

Spindle / Spindle Mount / Inverter / Cooling Pump:

Manufacturers Website

ICP 4030 CNC Manual

We appear to have these Stepper Drivers:

DM556T Stepper Driver Manual

This is the operating manual: ICP4030 Operating Manual

And this 5 Axis breakout Board:

5 Axis Breakout Board

Supporting Files

There is also an Arduino Nano controller with GRBL firmware in the cabinet:

Stepper motor information:

  • Holding torque: 1.13nm
  • Voltage per phase: 4.2a
  • Step angle: 1.8° (200 steps per revolution)
  • Angle error: ± 5
  • Connection lines: 8

steps_per_mm = (steps_per_revolution*microsteps)/mm_per_rev

  • equipment/cnc_mill.1587849439
  • Last modified: 10 months ago
  • by alexrowe