1. 1Send Us Your CAD Files

    Send Us Your CAD Files

    Files that are well composed for CNC will be quicker to process and therefore cost less. Below are some design considerations when creating CAD. At the bottom of the page there is an example DXF file to download.

    File Format: Our preferred file formats for CNC routing and laser cutting are DXF or DWG, although we can work with EPS, AI, PDF and many other vector file formats. If you don’t have your design in digital form we can create CAD from your sketches as an additional service. For 3D carving projects please send us your file in STEP,  IGES, or a high resolution STL format.

    Closed loop vectors: Vectors in sequence that form the perimeter of a part, or represent a pocket cut to a certain depth should be in a closed loop, rather than a series of open loops.

    Duplicate vectors: Remove duplicate vectors so each feature is only represented by a single line.

    Layers:  Using layers to identity features is very useful. For example, if a part has a series of 6mm pocket cuts, assigning all these features to a layer with a unique colour makes it easier and quicker to work with.

    Internal radii: CNC routing uses rotational cutting tools, and as such internal corners are left with radii matching the cutting tool. Dog bone or t-bone fillets can be used which over-cut corners and allow assembled components to mate.  Here is an article that shows how they can be used. This is a negligible issue with laser cutting as the cutting kerf can be as narrow as  0.2mm.

    Tool size: It is best to design parts that can be machined with the largest tool possible.  Larger tools will generate a better cut edge quality as they deflect less and allow better chip clearance.

    Tolerances for mating parts: Where a particular fit between parts is required, please get in touch. Material thicknesses can vary by large margins which can impact component assemblies.  For example, 18mm birch plywood can be 17.5-18.8mm  from batch to batch.  We can advise on current stock thickness so mating geometry can be adjusted accordingly. Typically there is a 0-0.25mm offset between male and female mating geometry depending on the joint design and fit required.

    Polylines are best: Splines or vectors that have numerous nodes are problematic. This is most noticeable in curved vectors, a spline or faceted curve will have several nodes which are not a true curve.  Splines result in extra time to correct the CAD or mean that cuts are not as smooth as they could be.  Polylines constructed with arcs will typically have 3 nodes for each arc; the start , end and midpoint.  When these are translated into machine code, rather than generating several ‘go to’ commands it instructs the machine with a line of code with the radius and an endpoint and results in smooth movements and cut edges.

    One file for each material: Rather than sending one file per part, please send through all parts that will be cut from the same material in one file.  ie, if 6 parts are to be cut in 5mm clear cast acrylic, and 4 parts are to be cut in 18mm MR MDF, please send 2 files.  The parts can be nested on the material, but we can also nest parts efficiently when we receive them to maximise material utilisation.

    Gap between parts: Certain materials are usually best cut conventionally (anticlockwise), and others are best climb cut (clockwise) when CNC routing. Because of this, parts should not share perimeter vectors, and they should have gaps between them. We can advise on the appropriate gap between parts, as this will be dependent on the material, cutter size and part geometry. For Example, in 18mm stock for medium to large body components we recommend gaps of 11mm. When laser cutting components can be as close as 1mm apart.

    Gap around material perimeter: Sheet materials are often supplied with rough cut edges, and are rarely square. Because of this it is advisable to leave a gap of 10mm around the perimeter of the material. For example, we recommend a maximum component size of 1200x2420mm being cut from 1220x2440mm sheet size.

    Tabs: Holding parts down for CNC routing is performed by vacuum. Small parts can deflect during cutting as they don’t have the surface area to be fully fixed by vacuum. To assist the fixture, we can use small tabs which attach the cut part to the material negative. Typically these tabs can be 2x5mm, and can be removed using a sharp scalpel. We can advise on whether tabs are necessary when reviewing your file, and we can also quote to remove the tabs after machining.

    SketchUp files: The files output by SketchUp can be problematic if they are not created and processed to be CNC compatible. It is possible to create good CAD with SketchUp, and here is a link to an excellent instructable: From SketchUp to CNC Fabrication. The tutorial extends to processing CAD for CamBam CAM software,  this section is not necessary for generating CAD. The first two parts of the tutorial describe creating assemblies of components in SketchUp and outputting usable DXF files.

    Example DXF file downloadcnc routing example file

     

     

  2. 2Select a Material

    Select a Material

    Let us know your material choice and thickness. The common materials we cut are on our materials page. If you are unsure of the best material for your design or want to talk through material properties and suitability, please contact us.

  3. 3Pricing

    Pricing

    We are usually able to provide you a quote within one business day, but this can be extended for large and complex projects. The cost will be based on the CAD and toolpath time, material usage and cutting time required. Cutting simple large shapes in  1220x2440mm sheet of material could cost as little as £36+VAT.

    There are many variables that will increase cutting time and therefore cost: longer cutting paths, greater material hardness, increased material depth and a high level of component complexity. Discounts will be applied for larger batches of components where the CAD, toolpath and setup time is distributed over a greater number of units.

    We buy large quantities of materials and we pass on discounts to you. Your itemised quote will show your material and machining costs and where applicable your CAD, post processing and delivery costs. If you wish to provide us your stock, we can also price your project to cut only. Please contact us and we will price up your project.

  4. 4CNC Machining

    CNC Machining

    This is where your project becomes a physical reality. We’ll either be laser cutting your parts with our precision laser cutter, or CNC routing your parts using the finest cutting tools available to achieve excellent surface finish and tight tolerances.

  5. 5Finishing

    Finishing

    Your project may be a cut only, or it may be to deliver assembled finished products. We have fully equipped joinery workshops, so we can sand, assemble and finish your components.  We offer in house oil finishing for timber parts and limited spray paint finishing. For larger volume and specialist spray paint finishing, we outsource to two excellent spray paint finishing companies.  We are also able to send MDF components to be powder coated after being machined.

  6. 6Delivery

    Delivery

    Parts can either be collected from our workshops, or we can deliver nationally. Please let us know if you would like your parts delivered and we can give you an accurate price when we are appraising your designs.  We use three methods of delivery, and the best option will be determined by the consignment volume and delivery location:

    Interlink: Next business day service is £18+VAT per 20kg for packaging and delivery.

    Eezehaul pallet freight: Next business day quarter pallets start at £45+VAT, half pallets start at £55+VAT and full pallets start at £65+VAT

    Man & van delivery: £2+VAT per mile (min £30+VAT) based on google maps distance from our workshops.

  • Send Us Your CAD Files

    Send Us Your CAD Files

    Files that are well composed for CNC will be quicker to process and therefore cost less. Below are some design considerations when creating CAD. At the bottom of the page there is an example DXF file to download.

    File Format: Our preferred file formats for CNC routing and laser cutting are DXF or DWG, although we can work with EPS, AI, PDF and many other vector file formats. If you don’t have your design in digital form we can create CAD from your sketches as an additional service. For 3D carving projects please send us your file in STEP,  IGES, or a high resolution STL format.

    Closed loop vectors: Vectors in sequence that form the perimeter of a part, or represent a pocket cut to a certain depth should be in a closed loop, rather than a series of open loops.

    Duplicate vectors: Remove duplicate vectors so each feature is only represented by a single line.

    Layers:  Using layers to identity features is very useful. For example, if a part has a series of 6mm pocket cuts, assigning all these features to a layer with a unique colour makes it easier and quicker to work with.

    Internal radii: CNC routing uses rotational cutting tools, and as such internal corners are left with radii matching the cutting tool. Dog bone or t-bone fillets can be used which over-cut corners and allow assembled components to mate.  Here is an article that shows how they can be used. This is a negligible issue with laser cutting as the cutting kerf can be as narrow as  0.2mm.

    Tool size: It is best to design parts that can be machined with the largest tool possible.  Larger tools will generate a better cut edge quality as they deflect less and allow better chip clearance.

    Tolerances for mating parts: Where a particular fit between parts is required, please get in touch. Material thicknesses can vary by large margins which can impact component assemblies.  For example, 18mm birch plywood can be 17.5-18.8mm  from batch to batch.  We can advise on current stock thickness so mating geometry can be adjusted accordingly. Typically there is a 0-0.25mm offset between male and female mating geometry depending on the joint design and fit required.

    Polylines are best: Splines or vectors that have numerous nodes are problematic. This is most noticeable in curved vectors, a spline or faceted curve will have several nodes which are not a true curve.  Splines result in extra time to correct the CAD or mean that cuts are not as smooth as they could be.  Polylines constructed with arcs will typically have 3 nodes for each arc; the start , end and midpoint.  When these are translated into machine code, rather than generating several ‘go to’ commands it instructs the machine with a line of code with the radius and an endpoint and results in smooth movements and cut edges.

    One file for each material: Rather than sending one file per part, please send through all parts that will be cut from the same material in one file.  ie, if 6 parts are to be cut in 5mm clear cast acrylic, and 4 parts are to be cut in 18mm MR MDF, please send 2 files.  The parts can be nested on the material, but we can also nest parts efficiently when we receive them to maximise material utilisation.

    Gap between parts: Certain materials are usually best cut conventionally (anticlockwise), and others are best climb cut (clockwise) when CNC routing. Because of this, parts should not share perimeter vectors, and they should have gaps between them. We can advise on the appropriate gap between parts, as this will be dependent on the material, cutter size and part geometry. For Example, in 18mm stock for medium to large body components we recommend gaps of 11mm. When laser cutting components can be as close as 1mm apart.

    Gap around material perimeter: Sheet materials are often supplied with rough cut edges, and are rarely square. Because of this it is advisable to leave a gap of 10mm around the perimeter of the material. For example, we recommend a maximum component size of 1200x2420mm being cut from 1220x2440mm sheet size.

    Tabs: Holding parts down for CNC routing is performed by vacuum. Small parts can deflect during cutting as they don’t have the surface area to be fully fixed by vacuum. To assist the fixture, we can use small tabs which attach the cut part to the material negative. Typically these tabs can be 2x5mm, and can be removed using a sharp scalpel. We can advise on whether tabs are necessary when reviewing your file, and we can also quote to remove the tabs after machining.

    SketchUp files: The files output by SketchUp can be problematic if they are not created and processed to be CNC compatible. It is possible to create good CAD with SketchUp, and here is a link to an excellent instructable: From SketchUp to CNC Fabrication. The tutorial extends to processing CAD for CamBam CAM software,  this section is not necessary for generating CAD. The first two parts of the tutorial describe creating assemblies of components in SketchUp and outputting usable DXF files.

    Example DXF file downloadcnc routing example file

     

     

  • Select a Material

    Select a Material

    Let us know your material choice and thickness. The common materials we cut are on our materials page. If you are unsure of the best material for your design or want to talk through material properties and suitability, please contact us.

  • Pricing

    Pricing

    We are usually able to provide you a quote within one business day, but this can be extended for large and complex projects. The cost will be based on the CAD and toolpath time, material usage and cutting time required. Cutting simple large shapes in  1220x2440mm sheet of material could cost as little as £36+VAT.

    There are many variables that will increase cutting time and therefore cost: longer cutting paths, greater material hardness, increased material depth and a high level of component complexity. Discounts will be applied for larger batches of components where the CAD, toolpath and setup time is distributed over a greater number of units.

    We buy large quantities of materials and we pass on discounts to you. Your itemised quote will show your material and machining costs and where applicable your CAD, post processing and delivery costs. If you wish to provide us your stock, we can also price your project to cut only. Please contact us and we will price up your project.

  • CNC Machining

    CNC Machining

    This is where your project becomes a physical reality. We’ll either be laser cutting your parts with our precision laser cutter, or CNC routing your parts using the finest cutting tools available to achieve excellent surface finish and tight tolerances.

  • Finishing

    Finishing

    Your project may be a cut only, or it may be to deliver assembled finished products. We have fully equipped joinery workshops, so we can sand, assemble and finish your components.  We offer in house oil finishing for timber parts and limited spray paint finishing. For larger volume and specialist spray paint finishing, we outsource to two excellent spray paint finishing companies.  We are also able to send MDF components to be powder coated after being machined.

  • Delivery

    Delivery

    Parts can either be collected from our workshops, or we can deliver nationally. Please let us know if you would like your parts delivered and we can give you an accurate price when we are appraising your designs.  We use three methods of delivery, and the best option will be determined by the consignment volume and delivery location:

    Interlink: Next business day service is £18+VAT per 20kg for packaging and delivery.

    Eezehaul pallet freight: Next business day quarter pallets start at £45+VAT, half pallets start at £55+VAT and full pallets start at £65+VAT

    Man & van delivery: £2+VAT per mile (min £30+VAT) based on google maps distance from our workshops.