CNC Milling

CNC Milling, Digi-Fabrication, DIY


self potrait of DIY LILCNC made with a ballpoint pen attachment

Milling Sample: Hardwood

Milling Sample: Foam

DIY LILCNC is an open source set of plans and instructions to build a DIY fully functional CNC milling machine for the price of $700. Made of laser cut MDF pieces, 3 motors, a dremel, circuit boards, and local parts from McMaster Carr, it is possible for anyone with the resources to build their own DIY LILCNC.

CNC devices are used to fabricate physical objects with a high degree of precision. Some CNC devices, including the DIYLILCNC, feature a gantry-mounted cutting tool (like a router) that can move in two or more directions. The operation of the tool is controlled by a computer, which is tasked with translating a digital design into actual tool movement

Created by Chris Reilly and Taylor Hokanson, two Chicago based artists who also teach at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Plans and instructions for building the DIYLILCNC are distributed freely and intended for wide distribution and modification with few restrictions. The plans are formatted to facilitate easy fabrication, especially for beginners. The DIYLILCNC can be built by an individual, a student group, or a class. Besides being immensely fun, building the DIY LIL CNC is a great way to learn about motion control and CAD/CAM/CAE.

The plans and instructions can be found on their site:

CNC Milling, Digi-Fabrication, IaaC, Open Source [OS]

Ice Jelly

Ice Jelly by Maria Koutsari, Raquel Gallego and Nathaniel Velez

Design: For the milling project the team explored creating a tile shaped by defining a 3D trajectory for the machine to fallow.  By using the milling as an egravement tool the tile was given a surface which both showed fragments of a curvilinear surface and a pattern which can be connected with other similar tiles in order to create a complex and interesting design.  All lines forming the patterns in the tile share a similar border configuration in such a way that every side of the square can be connected with any other side and still keep a continuos profile.  In total, 6 different pattern configurations can be achieved by combining any 4 tiles.





Optimizing Milling Time: During the process of designing the trajectory of the milling machine manufacturing time was taken into consideration.  The shape of the tile was though is such a way that the final shape could be achieved by using a single milling mode (engravement).  All pattern lines where connected in order for the machine to do all cuts using a single trajectory.  Because the softness of the foam being milled, it wasn’t necessary to do a rough cut, reducing even more manufacturing time.  As a result of these optimizations the milling time was short and ideal for mass manufacturing.

Material: For casting, experimentation was done with the process of freezing materials inside the mold.  The mold was made water proof using latex and silicone in such a way that is was possible to fill it with any liquid.  Gelatin and Water were chosen to experiment with this process, taking advantage of the rigidity of ice and the consistency on gelatin. The end result is a transparent colored iced sculpture showing a segments of a curved surface on a curved path.