The next step in testing the CNC machine is to try cutting a hole. For this I needed thinner wood than the scrap pine I’ve been using. Home Depot sells small boards of oak and poplar so I picked up a piece of poplar. It’s 1/4″ thick.

I also needed to raise the sacrificial platform so the tip of the end mill can reach the bottom of the wood. To do that I just cut some more 16″ x 9″ pieces of 1/4″ MDF and stacked them (see the post on fixtures for more information and pictures on what I am talking about).

I used CamBam to draw a 0.5″ x 0.5″ square and then created a profile on the inside using my 1.45mm (0.0571″) end mill. CamBam showed me that I would have slightly rounded corners, but that’s ok. I decided to cut the profile in passes, increasing the depth by 0.05″ each time. This results in five passes to get to the bottom of the wood. Tedious, but better than stressing the end mill and Dremel.

EMC2 Square Hole

I was afraid that the tip of the end mill might bind in the sticky double-sided carpet tape so I held on to the poplar with one hand and kept my finger on the power button with the other hand just in case. I was also afraid that the cube being cut might fly out as it came free.

It turned out pretty good. No sticky residue on the end mill and no gouging of the sacrifical platform. The cube in the center held in place during cutting and while I lifted the poplar. It came out when I removed the carpet tape.

Square Hole

The cut is nice and clean with no burrs. I guess the carpet tape is a good method to continue using.