This page lists common questions that people ask about our CNC routers.
Purchase and Delivery
Please email us to make a purchase. Machines can be picked up from the workshop in Langport or delivered locally by arrangement.
Q. What does CNC stand for?
A. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, an automated method for controlling motion of multi axis machines.
Q. What does CAM stand for?
A. Computer Aided Manufacturing which covers a multitude of tools that use computers to improve manufacturing quality, speed, process or productivity.
Q. Why are the machines named 4015, 4015PRO and 6045PRO?
A. There is a convention in the world of CNC routers and mills to list the X and Y work area in centimeters, e.g. a 6040 machine will have a work area of 600x400mm. On Minimillr CNC machines, the ‘PRO’ suffix signifies the use of linear rails for added precision.
Q. What CAM software works with Minimillr machines?
A. Any software that can product gcode can be used with Minimillrs. You can even use a text editor to write your own gcode or use one of the many free CAM software packages available.
Q What is the difference between CAD, CAM and Machine Control software?
A. The difference gets blurred as some pieces of software offer more than one function. However, CAD is used for 2D or 3D design. CAM software is used for converting the design data from CAD into tool paths and instructins so something that can be manufactured. A Machine Controller takes the gcode output from CAM and sends the machining instructions to the CNC router as motion commands.
Q. Do Minimillr machines need a driver?
A. Yes. The driver should install automatically on post 2022 machines that use a genuine Arduino as a controller. For early machines using the CH340 chip, the driver can be downloaded here. The driver converts USB ports to serial port so it can communicate with the Arduino controller. The controller runs open source motion control firmware called GRBL. You also need an additional driver if you want to use Easel as a CNC conroller. You can find out more about the Easel driver here.
Q. What is GRBL?
A. GRBL (pronounced ‘garble’ or ‘girble’ or even ‘gerble’!?) is GRBL is firmware for Arduino boards that controls stepper motors and spindles/lasers. GRBL uses gcode as input and outputs motor signals to the Arduino
Q. Can I change the GRBL settings for my machine?
A. Yes, you can do this using $ commands, but be careful as the GRBL settings have been tested as the guaranteed reliable settings. You can try increasing maximum velocities and accelerations but be aware it may cause motion problems.
Q. Can you V-carve with Minimillr machines?
A. Yes. You need suitable CAM software that can produce the correct tool paths. There is a demo video here of V carving with too paths generated in F-Engrave.
Q. What is a good feed rate to use?
A. The best feed rate depends on the hardness of the material, the diameter of the bit, the depth of cut per pass and the quality of finish required. In general the more work the cutter is doing the slower you should go. However, the best approach is to test a few different feed rated starting conservatively and increasing speed/depth of cut to make sure the results are good. A good starting point for softwoods is 500mm/min and 2mm cut per pass with a 4mm diameter cutter. You can be more aggressive with the cut once you are sure you are not overloading the motors.
Q. How can I hold down workpieces during machining?
A. For flat sheets, double sided carpet tape works well, available here in the UK. This carpet tape is reinforced with glass fibres which makes it easy to remove, unlike regular paper double sided tape.
Q. What is the milling area of the 6045PRO router?
A. The 6045 has a work volume of 600mm in X, 450mm in Y and 75mm in Z. X is left to right, Y is front to back, and Z is up and down.
Q. What is the maximum height of material that can fit under the gantry?
A. The 6045 has a maximum material thickness of 80mm
Q. What is the largest workpiece that can be machined?
A. The machining area is 600x450x75mm but larger stock can fit on the router bed. The maximum dimensions for stock that will fit under the gantry are as follows: Maximum height (Z) is 80mm. Max length (X) is unlimited. Maximum width (Y) for stock within the bed area is 550mm. If the stock overhangs the end, the max width is 390mm due to possible interference with the control enclosure.
Q. What is the footprint of the 6045 PRO machine?
A. The 6045 has a footprint of approximately 880x680mm.
Q. What is the footprint of the 4015 PRO machine?
A. The 6045 has a footprint of approximately 640x350mm.
Q. What is the largest workpiece that can be machined?
A. The machining area is 400x150x80mm but larger stock can fit on the router bed. The maximum dimensions for stock that will fit under the gantry are as follows: Maximum height (Z) is 80mm. Max length (X) is unlimited. Maximum width (Y) for stock within the bed area is 250mm. If the stock is overhanging the end, 500mm will sit on the bed.
Keep in mind that work holding is important, so allow for mounting a vice on the bed. The bed on the 4015PRO has T slots. 4xT nuts and M6 bolts are provided to get started but depending on the workpiece additional work holding or vices will be required.
For wooden signs and similar, double sided carpet tape works well as long as the wood is flat.
Q. What is the difference between the 4015 and the 4015PRO?
A. The 4015PRO has precision linear rails rather than round rods for extra precision and rigidity. The PRO models also have thicker 5mm gantry plates.
Q. Is the 4015 still available?
A. No, the 4015 has been replaced by the newer 4015PRO.