CNC Milling

A CNC router is a large and powerful router precisely controlled via computer software. It can cut and mill various hard materials such as wood, composites, aluminium, plastics, and foams.

Some commonly referred to terms to keep in mind are:




A cylindrical formed blade of specific design and diameter that is attached to the operating head of router, and the primary tool for cutting material.


The original form of a material, prior to cutting.


The fabricated end result form.


The specified instruction of the path the CNC router is programmed to follow and the bit to be used; specific to each job. Translated into a GCode format when relayed to the router machine.


A CNC Router uses a rotating bit to subtractively remove material from stock in order to shape a part by moving the router through the material in three axis or directions [X, Y and Z, or left, right, up and down]. While the shear power of the router allows for the 2 axis cutting of heavy and large scale materials, moving the router in all three directions simultaneously allows the creation of three dimensional and curved parts such as site topography and curvilinear forms.

The CNC Router requires specific instructions to control the machine in the form of a toolpath.

To fabricate a part, the machine will require control geometry to specify a machining operation. Below is a list of the operations available, the following pages describe more detail about their use.

To fabricate your part you will need to have a conceptual understanding of the different operations and their respective suitability.

Please familiarise yourself with these operations prior to designing as the machine limitations can be a design constraint.




Cutouts, engraving, ‘2D’ work.


Topography, surfaces, ‘3D’ work.


360° Rotational Milling, 3D geometry.

NOTE: Control geometry must be clean and well-modelled. Please refer to the pages titled Controlling Geometry - Do’s & Don’ts for information and useful commands. Again, read these prior to designing as poorly constructed lines and surfaces will not be able to be milled.

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