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If you’ve never used a CNC machine before, we recommend learning the basics on the X-Carve machine before using the 4×8.

Once you’ve made a simple project with it and learned the basics of CAD/CAM software, speeds and feeds, end mills, and toolpathing, follow the steps outlined below to get access to the 4×8 machine.

To get signed off on the 4×8, attend a 1-on-1 training session with an authorized trainer. When you arrive at the training session, you will need to bring a project with a CAM design already prepared. The CAM file must have been created by you and not a third-party or downloaded file. You should be able to modify the file on site (bring a laptop, or if using VCarve Pro, use one of the computers with VCarve Pro installed. To schedule a 1-on-1 session with a trainer, post a request on the CNC Slack channel or email [email protected] The certification form must be signed by you and the trainer for you to be signed off on the machine.

Manual-only operation

If you are not running a program but operating the CNC manually (e.g. surfacing a board), you do not need a CAM design to get signed off to operate the machine. In this case, you will only be allowed to operate the machine manually until you get signed off to operate the machine with a CAM design.

Safety Guidelines

  1. Stay clear of the moving gantry to avoid being struck.
  2. Wear hearing protection when the machine is in the process of cutting material. There are ear muffs and ear plugs in the CNC room.
  3. Always wear eye protection when the machine is cutting material. The router bit may throw chips and debris at high velocity.
  4. Double check your toolpaths to make sure the spindle does not crash into an object (e.g. a clamp), causing damage to the machine.

Machine specifications

  • 1300 x 2500 x 200mm = 51.1811” x 98.4252” x 7.87402
Make and model Sequoyatec 1325
Controller Centroid Acorn
Work envelope 4' x 8' x 0.66’ (1300 x 2500 x 200mm)
Spindle power 3KW, water-cooled
Spindle speed 0-24000rpm
Transmission Rack and pinion for X and Y, ball screw for Z
Repeatability ±0.002“ (0.05mm)
Weight 1100kg

Note: Several upgrades have been made to the machine since we purchased it, including but not limited to:

  • The DSP controller was replaced with a Centroid Acorn.
  • A vacuum table and pump was installed.
  • A dust collection system was installed.

Tips for creating a toolpath file

Fusion 360

VCarve Pro

Operating the machine



  1. If the E-stop button has been pressed, release the E-stop button by twisting the large E-stop button counter-clockwise until it pops up.
  2. Turn the power switch to the “on” position.
  3. Turn on the PC (if it is not already on) by pressing the power button on the computer.
  4. Log on to the PC using your TCMaker domain login. If you do not have a TCMaker domain login, one can be requested by emailing [email protected] You need to be added to CNC group in Active Directory (after you've been trained) to use this login on the Sequoyatec computer.
  5. Run the CNC12 software (cncm.exe) using the shortcut on your desktop. It should automatically connect to the controller electronics.
    1. If you don't have this shortcut, create a new one by right-clicking the desktop and choosing New > Shortcut, then typing in the following as the location: C:/cncm/cncm.exe
  6. Reset the control by pressing the large red “Press to Clear”.
    1. A green “Reset Cleared” message should appear in the command log.
  7. Home the machine by pressing “Reset Home”

Spindle Coolant Flow Indicator

The spindle is water cooled. To protect the spindle from overheating, coolant must be flowing while the spindle is in operation. To ensure coolant is flowing, check the flow indicator attached to the spindle. Do not start cutting material if coolant is not flowing.

Control Interface

The following is an overview of the control interface upon startup.

The buttons on the control interface can be controlled with the with keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen.

Current Position

The X,Y,Z coordinates of the cutting bit in relation to your work zero position. The work zero position should have been defined in CAM and must be set in CNC12 before running you program. If work zero is not set in CNC12, the controller will not know where your stock material is located, and a crash may occur.

Current Position (Machine coordinates)

The X,Y,Z coordinates of the spindle in relation to the Home Position of the machine. These coordinates do not depend on the location of your stock material and can only be reset by homing the machine (Reset Home).

Spindle Control Panel

Spindle Control allows you to manually set the spindle speed. Normally, you do not need to use this panel because the program should control the spindle automatically.

Jog Panel

The Jog Panel is used to manually move the spindle. There are several circumstances in which you may need to jog the spindle:

  1. When setting the Work Zero position
  2. When doing a manual cut
  3. When moving the spindle or gantry out of the way to gain access to the some area of the table.

Cycle Start

Cycle Start begins the execution of the currently loaded GCode commands. The GCode commands to be executed may be

  1. The GCode program you loaded
  2. A single GCode command entered into the MDI interface
  3. The GCode program created by Intercon via the CAM control panel

Cycle Stop

Cycle Stop stop the execution of the GCode commands being executed.

Reset Home

When you home the machine (“Reset Home” button), it finds its home position by gradually jogging towards the limit switches until each homing switch is triggered.

  1. Home the machine by pressing the “Reset Home” button.
  2. You must reset home every time you start up the machine (after you have clicked “Reset”). You must also reset home if you crash the machine (because it will have lost its home position).
  3. The homing routine is slow, so if the spindle is far from the origin, it may save time to jog the spindle close to home position (the corner closest to the control cabinet) before starting the homing sequence.


Keyboard jogging is highly recommended because it seems more reliable and less likely to cause a crash due to buggy control execution.

To enable keyboard jogging and display the keyboard jogging shortcuts, press Alt-J. The following window appears:

You can close the cheat sheet while leaving keyboard jogging active by closing the window. Keyboard jogging remains active as long as Keyboard Jogging Active is displayed.

Bit Installation

The spindle uses a collet to hold the bit securely while cutting. The collet diameter must match the shank diameter of the bit exactly.

TODO: Insert photo of bit and collet.

Set of collets

The Sequoyatec comes with the following collet sizes:

  • 1/8”
  • 1/4“
  • 3/8”
  • 1/2“
  • Various metric sizes
  • and more (check the collet holder for available sizes)

Make sure you are using the correct size collet for your shank or the bit will come lose while cutting, destroying the bit and the collet.

Follow these steps to install the bit:

Make sure the collet, collet nut, and shank of the bit are clean and free of any dust or damage. If there is dust wedged between the mating surfaces when you tighten the collet nut, the bit may come loose during operation, **destroying the collet and bit**. The collet and bit can be cleaned with compressed air, isopropyl alcohol, and/or tool cleaning solution.

Snap the collet into the collet nut at an angle. You should feel the collet snap into place.

Lightly thread the collet nut with the collet onto the spindle. Do not tighten the nut until the bit is in the collet, or the shank of the bit won't fit into the tightened collet.

Insert the bit into the collet.

While holding the bit, tighten the collet nut by hand until the bit is held by the collet and does not fall out. Do not let the bit drop. Carbide is brittle and will chip when dropped.

Finish tightening the collet with the two spindle wrenches. Make sure you use enough torque to prevent the bit from coming loose while cutting.

Minimum Insertion

Make sure to insert the bit all the way up to the minimum insertion line. Having the bit stick out too much can damage the bit and the collet. If there is no minimum insertion line, insert the shank of the bit as far into the collet as possible.

TODO: Insert photo of minimum insertion line

Setting Zero (aka work zero, datum, origin)

The zero position of your stock material was defined when you created your CAM program. Now, the corresponding zero needs to be set on the physical machine in order to tell the controller the location of your stock.

Setting X,Y Zero

  1. Jog the bit to the X,Y zero position (as you defined in the CAM)
  2. Click “Set All Zero” in CNC12 to the current position to (0,0,0). Alternatively, click “Set Axis Zero” to set each axis one by one. Note: “Set All Zero” causes all axis coordinates to be set to zero, including Z. However, Z zero should be set in a separate step (see “Setting the Z Zero”). The reason for this is that it is sometimes difficult to accurately set X,Y, and Z zero simultaneously, especially if the stock is in the way of the bit
  3. When the bit is in the X,Y zero position, the X,Y coordinates in “Current Position” should be 0,0, as shown below:

Setting Z Zero

Setting Z zero can be done using the touch probe, or it can be done manually.

Setting Z Zero with the touch probe

Before setting Z Zero with the touch probe, check to make sure that the controller detects contact between the bit and the touch probe.

Press Alt-I on the keyboard to display inputs.

Touch and release the touch probe from the bit several times. Verify that Input 7 (touch-probe input) is toggling. This verifies that the touch probe is correctly sensing contact with the bit.

Press Alt-I again to exit out of the Input Display.

Setting Z Zero can be done before or after starting your program. Whenever there is a tool change in your program, including when you first run a program, the controller will prompt you to complete the Z zero touch-off sequence. You can skip the Z zero touch-off sequence in-program if you have already set Z zero out-of-program. In any case, follow the sequence below to touch off the bit to the Z plane.

  1. Jog the bit to a location above the point that you will use to set Z zero. In the image, the Z zero plane was defined in CAM as the top of the spoilboard. If Z zero was defined as the top of the stock, then the stock would need to be mounted first, with the touch probe resting atop the stock.
  2. Set the touch probe directly under the end mill.
    1. Note: the touch probe is connected to ground through wiring inside the machine, so no ground clip is needed.
  3. If performing Z zero out-of-program, run the M55 macro by pressing “M55” or by entering in “M55” into the MDI console.
  4. Follow the prompts that come up on the screen.

Setting Z zero without the touch probe

  1. Jog the bit down toward the Z-zero plane at a convenient location.
  2. Slide a piece of paper underneath the bit to indicate when the bit has reached the Z zero plane.
  3. When the bit is located at the Z-zero plane, click “Set Axis Zero” in CNC12 and follow the prompt to set Z to be zero at the current location of the bit.
TODO: Add images

Fixed Zero Positions

If you prefer not to set the X,Y Zero positions manually, there is a fixed X,Y zero position that is located at the bottom- left-hand corner of the plenum (see image). To use this fixed zero position, simply place your stock so that its X,Y zero position is at the fixed X,Y zero position and run the M57 macro command by pressing “M57” or entering “M57” into the MDI command prompt. The controller knows where this position is because it is a fixed position in relation to the machine home position (discovered when the machine is homed by pressing “Reset Home”).

TODO: Change photo for fixed zero position


Securing your material with clamps

There are a couple of sets of steel clamps you can use to secure your stock to the spoilboard. A minimum of 2 clamps are required to hold down a single piece of stock. Note that steel is a hard material, so you should always check your toolpaths to ensure the clamps are not struck by the bit, spindle, or dust shoe. When in doubt, it is safer to use double-sided tape.

Here is an example of steel clamps being used to secure a sheet of plywood onto the spoilboard:

Here is a close-up of a single clamp being tightened with a thumb screw:

Using the Vacuum Table

The Sequoyatec has been fitted with a vacuum table and vacuum pump which enable users to hold material down using vacuum suction. Vacuum hold-down has a few advantages:

  • The setup time is faster than any other method.
  • There are no clamps potentially in the way of the bit.
  • The vacuum applies relatively even downforce across the entire area of the stock, minimizing warpage present in the stock.
  • Sometimes parts can be through-cut without using tabs, assuming there is sufficient holding force.

Vacuum hold-down works well with flat material that has a large surface area (e.g. sheet goods). It does not work well with uneven surfaces (e.g. rough-sawn slabs) or small surfaces (e.g. < 1 square foot).

The vacuum is distributed underneath the spoilboard by a network of PVC pipes and a grid pattern called the “plenum”.

The vacuum is pulled through the MDF spoilboard. To use it, simply place material on top of the spoilboard, open the appropriate zones, cover any exposed MDF in the open zones, and turn on the vacuum pump. The strength of the hold-down can be tested by pushing on the material to test how much force is required for it to move.

TODO: Insert image of electrical panel vacuum pump on off
TODO: Insert image of part being held by vacuum table
TODO: Insert image of covering up exposed area of vacuum table 

If you use the vacuum table, please read Spoilboard Maintenance section in Maintenance

Information about the design of the vacuum table can be found here: Vacuum Table Design

Alternative methods of holding down material

There are myriad ways to hold down stock. Not all methods can be covered here. Some popular methods include using double-sided tape, using painters tape and CA glue, and using a separate spoilboard that the stock is screwed down onto.

Running a GCode file

A GCode file is the file output by the CAM software (e.g. Fusion 360 or VCarve Pro) using the appropriate post-processor. The GCode file is the file that is run by the controller to execute the toolpaths you designed. A GCode file is a plain text file and can have any of the following extensions:

  • .nc
  • .cnc
  • .gcode

However, no particular extension is required for the machine to read and understand the file.

To load the program, click Load from the CNC12 menu, and open your GCode file.

A graph will be displayed showing a trace of the program tool path. Verify that the tool path is correct.

After you load a tool, CNC12 will prompt you to begin the procedure of setting Z zero. If you have already set Z zero, you can skip this step by entering 0 (“Continue without resetting Z0”).

Turn on the dust collection as explained in Activating the dust collection system After Z zero is set, when you click Cycle Start, the program will begin. Note: At this point, be prepared to shut down the program (Cycle Stop) in case you made a mistake in CAM or in setup that would result in a crash.

Consider doing an air cut prior to actually cutting material. To perform an air cut, set Z zero to be above your actual Z zero, so the bit will hover above the stock without actually cutting anything. When you have verified the program with the air cut, restart the program with the correct Z zero.

TODO: Shrink images to just code

Using the dust collector

The following video demonstrates how to put the dust shoe on the spindle after installing a bit and setting Z zero. It also demonstrates how the quick-change handle can be pulled off of the dust shoe, which is useful for vacuuming up dust from the table.

The dust collector can be turned on with the remote control shown.

The dust collection port has a quick-change handle that can be removed and used to vacuum up dust.

Shutting down the machine

  1. Return the machine to the home position using the G28 command as a courtesy to the next person who uses the machine.
  2. Exit the CNC12 software.
  3. Log off the PC.
  4. Turn off the controller electronics by turning the key lock to the “off” position.
  5. Vacuum any debris off the machine.
  6. Turn off the dust collector using the remote.
  7. Sweep up debris from the floor, if necessary.
  8. Don't forget to log your time on the timesheet!

Coolant mister

Coolant is most useful for cutting aluminum because aluminum tends to adhere to the bit without some sort of lubricant. Do not get coolant on the plain MDF spoil board. In order to use the coolant mister, you must put a protective barrier between the MDF spoil board and your part. Another piece of MDF works. The exterior-grade MDF T-slot panels are also a good option.

TODO: Insert image of coolant mister 
 Todo: Insert image of protective barrier

Known Issues

Ethernet connection error

 TODO: Add screenshot of ethernet connection issue 

There is no known solution to this error except to restart the controller and/or computer and hope the error goes away.

Jogging continues even after releasing jog button

Sometimes when pressing one of the jog buttons (e.g. +x, -x, +y, -y, +z, -z), the machine will continue to jog even after you've released the jog button, causing the spindle to crash.

The uncontrolled jogging can be stopped abruptly by pressing any of the other jog buttons. Therefore, it is safer to have quick access to the other jog buttons in case of uncontrolled jogging. For this reason, it is better to use keyboard jogging because you can place a finger on more than one jog button at a time.

Limit triggered when attempting to Home

 TODO: Add screenshot of limit switch triggered error 

When attempting to Home the machine (by pressing “Reset Home”), sometimes there an error occurs in which a limit switch has been triggered. This can be fixed by moving the spindle away from the Home position prior to homing. Simply reset the control, jog the spindle slightly away from the Home position, and then run the homing routine.


Spoilboard maintenance

Because the effectiveness of the vacuum pump relies on a flat and relatively smooth spoilboard in order to minimize leakage, it is important for all members to do their part to ensure the spoilboard is flat and free of gouges.

On occasion, a user might want to cut all the way through their stock material, in which case the bit might end up cutting into the spoilboard. If this is the case, make sure not to cut any deeper than 0.02” into the spoilboard.


If you do find yourself cutting all the way through the stock material and into the spoilboard frequently, please volunteer to occasionally resurface the spoilboard after it gets marked up. There is a 2“ surfacing bit available to users for resurfacing the spoilboard. ONLY USE THIS BIT FOR MDF and NOTHING ELSE.


If you do end up gouging the spoilboard (it happens to the best of us), the spoilboard can be repaired with Durham Rock Hard Water Putty.

Check the video from Dallas Makerspace to learn how to repair a spoilboard:

MultiCam Spoilboard Repair

Rail and ball screw lubrication

Lubrication of the linear rails (aka ways) and the single Z-axis ballscrew is important to ensure longevity of these components. The machine should never be operated with dry bearings. These components are all connected to a single-shot lubrication system. This means that all of the bearings can be lubricated with a single press of the lubricator lever. This lever should be pressed after every several hours of use.

TODO: Insert photo of lubricator


Centroid Control Manual

Retrofit documentation

The retrofit was documented and submitted on the Centroid CNC forum:

Controller cabinet documentation

CAM Software

Vacuum Table

documentation/cnc_routers/sequoyatec1325.txt · Last modified: 2022/09/28 18:35 by