CNC3018 Pro

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Warning: This page is currently depricated, as the maching is being replaced by the CNC3020 PRO MAX V2 which is more capable. please contact Yichen Zhang (Spacezhang) on Slack if more Information is needed

Currently aiming for the beginning of June 2023 to complete the documentation
Attention.png Warning: Beware of the dangers of CNC machines! Use at your own risk and only if you know what exactly you are doing! Attention.png
Please contact Yichen for detailed explaination and tutorial
CNC 3018 Pro

Release status: experimental [box doku]

CNC 3018 Pro front.jpg
Description Milling/ Engraving Machine
Author(s)  Yichen Zhang (Spacezhang)
Last Version  v0.1 pre alpha test (01.09.2022)

General Introduction

A small but full-featured cnc running GRBL donated to the lab for use, brought to you and maintained by Yichen.

Side View

What is the CNC 3018 Pro?

The CNC 3018 Pro is a generic engraving machine. This machine can be used to cut anything from wax to wood and is very good for getting started and learn how to use a CNC machine and how It works.

Acceptable work piece materials

Engrave/ Cut

  • MDF / HDF
  • Softwood, Hardwood, Plywood
  • Acrylic
  • PCB
  • Very soft Aluminium (no harder than brass or aluminum 6061) (Detail untested)

+ Height Map support

Current Machine Location

CNC3018Pro Location1.jpg
CNC3018Pro Location2.jpg

The CNC engraving machine is is currently stored in a EuroBox on the right side shelf in the machine workshop.

Getting started

Quick Start

Preparing your job

  • Selecting your workpiece and determine its material. Please compair it to the material list to ensure it is a valid material for this machine!
  • Setup the Software needed for generation of Gcode (Instructions for the machine), Details see software guide!
  • Design your toolpath with consideration of avaliable bits and material specific speed and most importantly your workpiece size.
  • Export the toolpath as a .nc file
  • First time: get the software for controlling the Machine Candle [External] by either download from google drive (software section) or directly download it from source
    • google drive download (Windows):
      • Install the CH340SER driver using the executable in the driver
      • GRBL Candle is locaded inside Grblcontrol(Candle_1.1.7) folder.
  • Open Candle and import your .nc file. Your'r now done with your CNC Job preparation!

Machine Preparation

> this can also be done before setting up the machine.
> Requires a laptop (currently only tested on windows platform) to generate and send the Gcode.

  • First get the Eurobox from the shelve and place it on a sturdy Table.
  • Open the lid by pulling back the two white locking lug on the box and pull the machine out by grabbing on the black aluminium extrusion bar.
  • Visually Inspect the machine, make sure that no cable are broken or loose, no parts wobble.
  • Take out the two accessorie boxes on the side of the box and take out the power supply and the USB - mini cable for connection to your Laptop.
  • Place your laptop near the Machine and connect the power and usb cable to the controller on the left side of the machine.
  • Plug the machine and optionally your laptop in.
  • The Machine is now ready to go!

Machine Job Preparation

  • Find and take out the bit for your job in the first side accessorie box.
  • If needed, ajust the position of the spindle for more space.
    • Start the machine by pressing down the white button hidden on the lower left side of the controller board.
    • Connect the Machine via USB to your laptop and select the correct Port in the settings menu of the Candle software.
    • Use the move function on the right side of Candle Software to move the spindle out of the way.
  • Install / change the bit / collet using the two wrenches provided in the accesorie bag.
  • Unless necessary, always use the provided spoil board!
  • Secure your work piece to the spilboard (or aluminium bed) using either the 3d printed clamps provided in the first side accessorie box, machining vice or strong double sided tape.
  • Make Sure that the workpiece is mounted securly by try to move the workpiece by hand using decent force.

And Start your Job!

  • Start the machine by pressing down the white button hidden on the lower left side of the controller board.
  • Connect the Machine via USB to your laptop and select the correct Port in the settings menu of the Candle software.
  • Load your .nc file into the Software
  • Use the move function on the right side of Candle Software to move the Z Axis (Spindle) Up to clear the highest surface of your workpiece.
  • Tipp: Use the continouse move Jogging step selection!
  • Carefully move the spindle to the desired origin of the workpiece (X and Y). Ensure that enough clearance is present (especially for the clamps!)
  • Zero the X and Y in Candle Software
  • Move the Spindle in Z direction till the tip of the cutting bit is about 1 - 2 mm above the workpiece.
  • Change the Jogging step to 0.1 mm in Candle software
  • Take a piece of Post- It from accessoir bag and put it on the workpiece.
  • Carefully lower the Z height step by step while sliding the Post - it back and forth till the tip catches onto the paper.
  • Zero the Z Height and move the Z height up to pull out the Paper.
  • !!! Careful !!! Only start a Job when you are sure that you know exactly what you are doing!
    • !!! If you are not confidence with th GCode or the Machine please execute the GCode in air to see whether it is operation nominal!!!
    • !!! For beginner with self generated GCode please at least execute the GCode in air one time!!!
  • Preferable to get the vaccume ready for later cleanup.
  • When you are ready, press the send button to start your CNC Job! Make sure you are ready to abort the job or power down the machine if it does something abnormal!
    • CAUTION: Don't touch the Spindle or bed of the maching during Operation!

Post - Job Cleanup

[Comming Sooon]

Basic operation Guide

This CNC machine is running the standard GRBL library and therefore accept standard GCode, USB Serial connection with Baud rate 115200.

Mechanical Operation

  • Change Router bits / collet
CNC3018Pro Change Bit

Take out the two wrenches from the utility bag and use them to loosen the spindle and change the bits in the collet / the collet.

  • Change Spindle

Loosen the M5 Screw that holds the spindle motor in Place. Use a plying tool like the tip of a screwdriver to widen the gap and pull out the Spindle assembly.

Candle Software

Candle is a open source GCode sender (only send commands!). It accept GCode files as input (.nc files)

  • Z Height map

Connect the height probe in the cable tray to the Mainboard from the Machine.
Place and secure the workpiece to the bed of the cnc. Make sure the surface is metallic! The aluminium tape avaliable in lab could be used to create such surface.
Check that the router bit is secured in the spindle and move the head of the bits to a starting position relativ to the workpiece. Zero the machine via Zero XY and Zero Z on the upper right side of the software.
Enter the height map creation menu and set the desired size of probing area. Preloading the toolpath would be helpful as it would be visuallized.
Set the probing height, feed and speeds according to your need and the deviation of the surface height.
Connect one side of the probe to the metallic surface, and the other one to the router bit. You can test the connection with the spindle lifted and manually shorting the two connection while probing.
Click Probe and start probing. This could take a while but it will be worth it.
When Probing is finished, you can either save the heightmap or use the heightmag directly on the next engraving. Exit the height map creator and don't forget to click use heightmap.

Please Inspect the machine in regards of integrity before Use! Please check:
- Is all cable connected correctly and in tact?
- Is the linear rods and drive screw damage free?

[Detail and Tutorial comming soon]

Software Setup & Introduction



Set up the machine -> connect to laptop -> move to origin -> load sample gcode -> start milling
Software for controlling the machine and for PCB Milling:
Software for 2D Routing:
or opencam
Tutorial comming soon, till then please search on youtube or ask for instructions on slack


Wood Engraving / Milling
PCB Engraving
Acrylic Engraving / Milling
Test Gcode

[Detail comming soon]


[Detail comming soon]

Material settings

  • Wood 3.15mm Endmill

Feed speed: 300mm/s
Spindle speed: 10000 (Not actually at this speed, but for controller)
Pass depth: 1.5mm

Machine Inventory

All Bits currently available. Collets are available in 1/2/3/3.5/4/5/6/7/8 mm.

Technichal Documentations


Mechanical Specifications
  • Type: Milling / Engraving machine
  • Machine dimensions: 330 x 400 x 240 mm (13.0″ x 15.7″ x 9.4″)
  • Working area: 300 x 180 x 45 mm (11.8″ x 7.1″ x 1.8″)
  • Frame: Extruded Aluminum
  • Linear system: Lead screw driven with rods and linear bearings
  • Materials: Woods, Plastics, PVCs, soft aluminum (6061), Nylon, Acrylic, PCBs
  • Motion: NEMA 17 Stepper motors
  • Motor: 775 motor, 24 V , ~8,000 RPM
  • Rated current: 1.2A @ 24V.
  • Cooling Fan: Internal
  • Overall Size: 98x42mm, Full Round Type Ø5mm shaft.
  • Collets: ER 11
Routing Bits
  • Currently only 3.175 mm (1/8 Inch) Bits Available
  • V Bits 20 / 40 / 60 degree
  • Multifunctional cutting bits 0.8 – 3.175 mm
  • Single flute upward cutting bits 3.175mm, 2mm
  • 3.175mm Ball end double flute bits
Controll Board
Control board of cnc running GRBL
  • Woodpecker V3.4 Mainboard
  • Running GRBL 1.1f
  • Interface Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS, Linux

[Detail comming soon]

Ongoing upgrades

  • Vaccume chip suction adapter
  • Emergency Stop around front panel
  • New Waste Board
  • Different diamenter ER11 Collets holder

Possible Improvements

  • Install End Stops
  • Drag Knife cutter for vinyl Logo Cutting
  • Better Z – Probe
  • Laser Module for laser cutting / Engraving
  • Chip suction device
  • Second better waste Board
  • Spindle Upgrade for better cutting

[Detail comming soon]

Sample cuts and demonstration projects

Replacement part list

Current GRBL Settings

GRBL 1.1f


Feedback and suggestions

If you have any feedback, request or suggestions in regard to this project and wiki page, please feel free to contach me or simply edit this section of wiki.