CNC Training...

So I'm working on a whole new aesthetic for GB Midi controllers. A big part of that will be wrapped up in being a competent CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinist. I have experience running a CNC laser, but it's very, very straight forward. Running an actual CNC milling machine is a lot more complicated. For that reason, it's also a lot more fun. I've been working at home with this platform: CNC_Mill


The mill itself is one we had collecting dust at work. Its a MAXNC 10:

The stepper motors came from sparkfun:

The controller is an open source controller called GRBL. It's a combination of an Arduino and a GRBL Shield. If you don't know what Arduino is, and you're interested in microcontrollers, google "Arduino":

On my laptop I run some software called openGRBL. It streams the G-code (CNC control codes) from the laptop, over USB to the Arduino. The Arduino then sends the control signals to the GRBL shield, which drives the stepper motors and moves the mill. It's pretty sweet! I've been machining pockets, profiles and holes in all sorts of stuff. I just did some aluminum yesterday and the results were pretty stunning. Photos to follow.

This is all in preparation for the arrival of the Shapeoko 3. Since the controller on the Shapeoko is the same as this rig (Arduino+GRBL Shield), I can work out my entire software chain before I actually have the machine. I hope by the time the machine arrives I'll be totally competent running a CNC mill. If you have any questions or an interest in CNC machining, please shoot me an e-mail: