CNC Router – Operating Procedures

The following guide documents normal operating procedures for starting the router, loading material, cutting parts, and shutting down the system. Use of the IDeATe CNC Router is restricted to approved users; this guide is not a substitute for training and certification.

Cold Start

The router is shut down daily, but not routinely started up, so the first user of the day will need to perform the following startup procedure.

  1. AIR: find the red air valve on the wall behind the equipment and turn it ON.
  2. PRESSURE: check that all three air pressure gauges are within marked operating ranges: 1) on the wall rear the main valve, 2) on the spindle for the bearings, 3) on the spindle for the compensation cylinder.
  3. OIL: check all three oil reservoirs on the machine.
  4. KEYS: obtain the machine keys from Lending
  5. CONTROLLER ENABLE: On the physical CNC console,
    1. release the red E-stop button using the key
    2. press green button at top
    3. turn master power switch on
    4. turn global enable switch on.
  6. WINCNC: If the WinCNC application is not already running on the controller, start it.
  7. HOMING:
    1. Make sure the machine is clear for full motion of the gantry.
    2. On the WinCNC display, select HOME to run the homing procedure.
    3. The router will slowly move to the limit switches on Z, Y, and X.
  8. Continue to Warm Start directions.

Warm Start

If the router has been idle more than an hour, then the warmup procedure must be performed.  The spindle has ceramic bearings that must be run for several minutes through a prescribed warmup sequence prior to use.

  1. Make sure the machine is clear for gantry motion.
  2. Make sure that the T1 tool nest (leftmost) has the correct tool.
  3. On the WinCNC display, select WARMUP.
  4. The machine will rehome, pick up T1, and then spend several minutes running the spindle at increasingly faster speeds.  The operator may leave during this phase of the process if needed.
  5. The machine will return T1 to the nest when done.


  1. Files should be prepared ahead of time using one of the approved post-processors and CAM system.  Please note: CNC G-Code files are NOT compatible between machines, and so users may not use files previously prepared for other machines.  Our post-processors have been set up with safety in mind for our specific hardware, so users may not use other G-code systems without express prior approval.
  2. FIXTURING: Place your material on the bed and ensure it will hold properly by turning on the vacuum table via the WinCNC display.  If your material does not hold, you may use double-sided tape (provided) or brace your material using other scrap material pieces.  Note: screwing your material to the spoilboard or worktable is prohibited.
  3. TOOLING: Users should normally prepare their CAM jobs using the standard set of tools as described on the Materials and File Preparation page.  If different tools or specific drill bits are required, they should now be loaded into the tool changer nests.
  4. PREVIEW: after loading your G-code file into WinCNC, use PREVIEW to show the toolpaths in the preview pane.  Make sure they are visually correct with respect to the current origin.
  5. SIMULATION: Simulate your file using the SIMULATE function.  Please note that the estimated cutting times can be significantly off.  If any errors are shown, you must fix problems and regenerate your file.  Please note that this checks file syntax only, and makes no guarantees about part correctness, machine motion limits, or safety.
  6. DUST COLLECTION: turn the dust collector ON before beginning your run.  This is manually activated using the green button on the panel near the collector on the rear wall.
  7. GO: you may now begin the cutting operation by pressing START or Enter.
  8. PAUSE: the gray PAUSE button will pause CNC movement without stopping the vacuum or spindle.
  9. STOP: the large red ABORT button will stop the current job and shut off the spindle (but not the vacuum table). Please note that the default post-processor ends each job by storing the current tool and turning off the vacuum bed; you may wish to interrupt this behavior to avoid releasing the stock.
  10. EMERGENCIES: the red E-stop on the panel or the fluorescent safety cable around the perimeter of the machine will trigger an emergency stop.
  11. CLEANUP: all scraps, dust and debris should be removed after the conclusion of cutting operations.


In general, users should fully shut the machine down after a session unless the schedule clearly shows subsequent use on the same day.

  1. Run the sweep procedure to vacuum dust from the bed:
    1. Put away any tool in the spindle using a T0 command.
    2. Make sure the bed is clear of large scraps.
    3. Turn on the dust collector and open only the gate for the dust boot.
    4. On the WinCNC display, run the SWEEP operation.
    5. The machine will spend several minutes systematically vacuuming the bed.
    6. Turn off the dust collector when complete.
  2. Turn off the global enable switch.
  3. Turn off the master power switch.
  4. Close the red main air supply valve.
  5. Return the e-stop key to Lending.


    1. After an emergency stop, the vacuum control box may need to be reset.  Find the gray electrical box mounted behind the tool changer, then locate and press the blue R button.