Category Archives: CNC

6040 Progress

Just pushed some big updates to Github, where I’m tracking the process of getting a Chinese 6040 mill up and running. Check it out and participate if you’re interested.

Signal Culture vs. Unauthorized Repairs #004

Signal Culture residency begins


One of the great things about the Signal Culture residency is that they understand tool making as a creative practice. I brought along my 6040, an aluminum mill that I bought from China via eBay. Though I did not fabricate this mill myself (like we did with DIYLILCNC), the 6040 came with no instructions, so I’m applying all my DIY know-how to getting it up and running. I’ll use both this blog and github to document the process.

CNC guitar body

I’m hoping to do my first complex flip-cut on the Laguna soon.  I got a guitar body model from Router Bob, and I’m thinking about using butcher block as the stock.  This looks like a good source for parts.  More soon…

RhinoCAM file prep notes for Laguna Puma

These are working notes – stay tuned for a more complete tutorial.


  1. Set the digital model in negative Z territory.  This means you’ll be zeroing the relative position of the machine Z to the top of your stock to be cut.
  2. Load the tool library instead of defining tools from scratch.
  3. When you’re ready to post, make sure that the Laguna post-processor is selected.
  4. The .nc file must be renamed to .prg.  Don’t bother trying to do this while posting, as RhinoCAM will just add .prg after .nc.  Instead, rename the file by right clicking it from the finder.  Keep the file name small and descriptive.
  5. Transfer this file to an empty USB drive.

Laguna Puma

  1. Plug the USB drive into the Laguna controller.
  2. Navigate to the TBA screen and press access USB .  Press up and down to find your file, then press copy .
  3. Remove the USB drive and press access CF card .  Navigate to your file.
  4. Load the first tool you’ll use in the cut.  If you’re turning on the machine for the first time of the day, there should be no tool in the spindle.  You should see 0 listed under the current tool in the Run screen.
  5. Enter the MIDI command  TXM06  (where X is the number of the tool you want) and pres execute .
  6. Jog this tool to the stock surface and  teach tool length  and set tool data .  Repeat steps two and three for every tool you plan to use.
  7. Jog any tool to the spot you want set as the X/Y origin.
  8. Navigate to the Coordinate screen.  Press  reset relative  then teach zpos .
  9. Navigate to the Run screen.  You should see all zeros on the position display.

First cuts on the Laguna CNC

The Laguna at Columbia College is up and running with a cutting envelope is 48″ x 96″ x 8″.  It has also got an 8-piece tool changer.  If you are a fellow machinist, you haven’t lived until you see a multistage path cut with no rezeroing!