A CNC is not a laser cutter

On August 12, 2012, in Blog, by Vlad Cazan

After getting my CNC machine set up and running I was finally making my own cuts. It wasn’t long before I discovered one huge difference between CNC machines and laser cutters. The cut diameter of a laser cutter is virtually 0 so when desiging files, making lines exactly where you want to cut is logical. When moving to CNC this does not work any more. The difference is that the CNC is using a tool bit to cut out the material. This tool bit creates an offset and whenever I design a 10cm X10cm square it always ends up being 1.5mm short on all sides because the drill is 3mm in diameter.

This really confused me for about a week until I posted a forum post on cnczone. From the replies I quickly discovered that there was way better cam software then what I was using. One of the programs that was constantly being talked about was Cut2D. I downloaded this program and in a few minutes of playing around with tool settings and using the amazing preview function of the program I finally figured out how to create objects to scale and at the right dimensions.


After I was comfortable with the software I was finally able to cut some useful pieces for my projects.


I also ordered some carbon fiber and tried to cut it with the bit I had used to cut wood and to my surprise it worked extremely well.

I also just shipped out my first order to Ottawa and am in talks with various hobby shops to be a supplier for these custom on off cuts.




3 Responses to “A CNC is not a laser cutter”

  1. Rick Shousha says:

    Hi Vlad,

    You have an interesting website and I like where you are headed with your work. It may connect nicely with my goal of helping people turn digital models into physical work. Let’s keep in touch.

    How’s your Solidworks?

    Best Regards,

    Rick Shousha

  2. Ramiro says:

    Hi friend,
    I’m Ramiro from Argentina. I ordered an 3020 CNC machine.
    Do you have some plans for starting to practice with this?

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