1st Floor Fabrication Lab

MultiCAM Classic 3 Axis CNC Router

Our MultiCAM Classic CNC (Computer Numerical Control) router is a computer-controlled cutting machine that utilizes a rotating tool to cut, carve, and shape various materials, including plywood, plastic, and foam. The CNC router operates based on a digital design or program, allowing for precise and automated machining processes.


To schedule a consultation for CNC access please email us digitalfabricationstudios@mica.edu 

Design Input:

Users start by creating a digital design using the CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software Rhinoceros 3D. This design defines the shapes, dimensions, and details of the desired cut.

Conversion to G-code:

The digital design is then converted into G-code, which is a set of instructions that the CNC router understands. G-code contains information about toolpaths, cutting speeds, and tool changes. We use the RhinoCAM plugin directly through Rhino 3D.

Material Setup:

Materials must be able to be securely fixed to the CNC router tables integrated vacuum hold down system. This is crucial for accuracy, and to ensure the material remains stable during the cutting process.

Tool Selection:

The appropriate cutting tool is selected based on the material and the type of cut needed. Common tools include straight bits, spiral bits, V-bits, and ball-end mills, each suitable for specific applications.

Homing and Zeroing:

While the machine does home automatically, the MutiCAM is zeroed manually for the positions XY, Z and Z- (max depth).  Zeroing establishes the starting point and ensures the machine is calibrated for accurate cutting.

Execution of G-code:

The CNC router follows the G-code instructions to move the cutting tool along the programmed toolpaths. The tool removes material layer by layer, creating the desired shapes and cuts in the material.

Tool Changes:

For jobs that require multiple cutting profiles or tool types, a manual tool change and re-zeroing is required.

Types of Cuts:


Through-cuts penetrate the entire thickness of the plywood sheet, resulting in complete separation of the material along the cut path. These cuts are common for shaping and contouring.


Pocketing involves cutting out a specific area within the plywood sheet, leaving the surrounding material intact. This is useful for creating recessed areas or pockets.

Engraving and V-Carving:

CNC routers can perform intricate engraving and V-carving, adding decorative details or text to the surface of the plywood. V-bits are often used to achieve fine details and sharp angles.

Dado Cuts and Grooving:

Dado cuts involve creating channels or grooves in the plywood. This is useful for assembling pieces together, such as in joinery or cabinetmaking.

3D Carving:

The CNC router follows the 3D toolpaths, moving the cutting tool along the X, Y, and Z axes to gradually carve out the three-dimensional shape. The tool removes material layer by layer, creating the final form based on the 3D model. The MultiCAM is limited to around 4 inches of carving in the vertical (Z) axes.

CNC routers offer a high level of precision and repeatability, making them ideal for intricate cuts and complex designs in plywood and various other materials. The versatility of these machines makes them valuable tools in industries such as woodworking, furniture manufacturing, signage production, and prototyping.