ShopBot Basics: Using the Phoenix Forge CNC Router

The CNC router (or ShopBot) is a computer-numerically-controlled router that can cut complex digital designs cleanly and quickly out of large material. Members have used the tool to make custom engravings, unique furniture, wall art, and more. The ShopBot is best suited for members who have intermediate skills in digital fabrication software.

Have a project idea for the ShopBot? Read on to get familiar with the orientation and reservation process.

Getting access

In order to use the ShopBot, members must complete the wood shop orientation, and a hybrid orientation class specifically for the CNC Router.

The ShopBot Hybrid orientation is two-part, 3-hour total orientation. Members who register will receive an invitation to take the 1-hour online portion of the orientation and must complete it prior to the in-person portion. 

**There is currently a waitlist for signing up for ShopBot orientation. Please fill out this form, and you will be contacted when space becomes available. This is a highly anticipated tool, so we appreciate your patience during its initial release.**

Creating your file

Your design must first be created in vector-based or CAD software such as Adobe Illustrator or Fusion 360. Then, you will “toolpath” your design in a CAM program such as V-Carve, instructing the ShopBot how and where it will cut your material.

Note: Our two-part hybrid orientation for the ShopBot will not include comprehensive instruction on drafting applications and is designed for members with prior knowledge of 2D digital fabrication. If you need to build your skills first, we are now offering new Prototyping basics courses, such as Introduction to Adobe Illustrator, and Introduction to Laser Cutting

Review & finalize your design

Once your file is ready to be cut, it must be submitted and reviewed by our wood shop staff to ensure your design is tool pathed correctly to avoid collisions and potential damage to the ShopBot. 

When your design is approved, you will receive instructions via email regarding how to make your reservation. Reservations for the ShopBot must be made by contacting our member services team via phone or email.

ShopBot reservations

Your reservation time slot is allotted only for your approved project file—up to 3 hours—with a built-in buffer for troubleshooting and clean up, so please plan your trip to the Forge accordingly. Larger material can be unloaded directly into the wood shop through the alley on the south side of the makerspace.

As with all our reservations, late arrival beyond 15 minutes is considered a no-show, and your time slot may be forfeited.

Make it!

We’re so excited to see what you create using this powerful and versatile tool! If you have any further questions, reach out to our member services team during operating hours.