CNC - Root2CNC

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  • Owner/Loaner: MakerStation
  • Serial Number: N/A
  • Make/Model: Root2 v1
  • Arrival Date: November 2016
  • Usability: {{{usagerestrictions}}}
  • Contact: Bret
  • Where: Classroom area


We have a Root2CNC desktop CNC mill courtesy of work and contributions from Bret Lanius, Dan Odom, Tanju Bayramoglu, and others. The project is being led by Bret.


General Specs

  • 1/8" Spindle max rpm of 12000
  • Material: Wood types, Plastic types
  • Build Dimensions: approximately 10x11 inches
  • Spindle z-axis range:
  • Control software is Estlcam

Uses Grbl Shield with the following Pinout Grbl Pin Diagram v0.9+.png


  • RESTRICTED - must consult with Bret Lanius prior to operation
  • Longer term, the Root2CNC will be access control limited to people that have completed basic training


Discouraged Materials:

  • Plastics of unknown composition
  • Aluminum - requires advanced operational knowledge
  • Steel - not allowed
  • Titanium - not allowed
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Copper - limited to PCB etching, requires advanced operational knowledge

Basic Instructions

Successful Milling is all about Speeds and Feeds

Speeds refers to your spindle speed in rpm.
In a series of experiments performed early on in machining, it was determined that spindle speed is the biggest determiner of tool's life.
Running too fast generates excess heat (there are others ways to generate heat too), which softens the tool and ultimately allows the edge to dull.

Feeds refers to the feedrate, in linear mm per minute.
Feedrate is all about the tradeoff between maximizing the material removal rate. Material removal rate is how fast in cubic units the mill is making chips--the faster the better for most machinists, right up until it creates problems.
The most common problem is tool breakage or chipping when you feed too quickly.

Simply being a noob and playing it safe by "running the machine super slow" is not acceptable. Must take the time to learn about feeds and speeds.
examples of what can happen if machine is run too slowly:

  • If you reduce your spindle speed too much relative to the feedrate, you're forcing the flutes of your cutter to take of too much material. The endmill is being pushed too fast into the cut and the chips get too big. You can easily break a cutter this way.
  • If you reduce your feedrate too much relative to spindle speed, you will soon cause your cutter flutes to start "rubbing" or "burnishing" the workpiece instead of shearing or cutting chips. Many machinists will tell you the fastest way to dull a cutter is just to run it with the spindle reversed and make a pass, but having too slow a feedrate creates a similar effect. Running too slow is just as hard on spindle cutters as running too fast, if not harder.


Milling Soft Woods: Popular softwoods include pine, ...

Milling Hard Woods: Oak, ...


Plexiglass Acrylic: Plexiglass is xxxx, readily available and can be found at local hardware stores and online.

  • Brittle
  • Cast Acrylic is best for routing and has paper covering
  • Extruded Acrylic has plastic covering

Lexan Polycarbonate Lexan is xxx, it can sometimes be found at local hardware stores


Circuit Boards

Circuit Board Milling

Advanced Operational Knowledge

There are some more advanced tasks that not everyone needs to know to print, but needs to know to troubleshoot:


  • Keep loose hair and sleeves away from all moving parts.
  • Dust control
  • Avoid inhaling dusts generated from milling operations


  • Keep loose hair and sleeves away from all moving parts.
  • Do not touch
  • Dust
  • Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Root2CNC is not intended for:
    • (A) Beginners
    • (B) Cutting, milling, engraving metals
    • (C)