[APPROVED] New Laguna CNCs for the woodshop!

9/17/22 Update

The IQ 2’x3’ CNC has arrived and is getting set up over the next week. The team working on recertification classes and new curriculum will start developing those using this machine since the workflow and software will be the same.

The big CNC will be available for member use through 9/23/22

Starting 9/24/22 the big CNC will be offline as we move the old one out and do final space preparations to receive the new one. Shipment has been moving quickly and we expect to be receiving the new Laguna Swift CNC before the end of this month! :awesome: :meow_wow: :star_struck:

Updated proposal link to public view!

A group of members who use the CNC at Asmbly regularly have put together a proposal for the woodshop CNCs. We are excited to announce the board has accepted this proposal and is progressing forward with the purchase of two brand new Laguna CNCs. We are really excited to have landed on an awesome set of machines with new features, identical workflows, and larger workspaces. Here are the deets!

Notable new benefits:

  • Larger workspaces
  • Vacuum hold down table
  • 4th axis rotary module
  • Identical interface and workflow between machines
  • Wide range of compatible softwares
  • Extensive online support, forums, and CNC ready project files
  • Manufacturer warranty and tech support

More details and product manuals can be found in the full proposal here.

Donation Drive

Part of what is making this machine acquisition possible is the donation drive organized by the proposal sponsors. This donation drive aims to raise at least $15k towards the purchase of these machines totaling around $32k with Asmbly paying for the remainder. More than $10k has already been raised so we’re well on the way to meeting that goal!

Check out more info about the fundraiser here and if you are interested and able, please consider contributing!

$100+ donors will be honored on a plaque in the lobby for their contributions to the cause. $500+ donors will receive priority on machine training as well as extended booking time limits (from 4.5 hrs to 6.5 hrs) for the first month once the machine is fully setup.

Transition Period

These two new CNC machines will be replacing the CNCs currently in the woodshop hosted by @JoeN (Shark CNC) and @dannym (custom built big CNC) who were notified about these changes last week. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of members like Joe and Danny who have hosted tools at Asmbly. These machines helped us grow from a rag tag facility in the ATXHS days to a budding nonprofit drawing in a wide range of members. As membership continues to grow at Asmbly, so too does machine utilization. The demand of this growth will continue to drive us towards newer industrial-grade equipment that is well supported and suited for heavy use. Our model/goal as we move forward into the future, is to have Asmbly owning core equipment that is central to our operations and to house equipment that can handle the heavy use a community shop brings.

There will be some infrastructure electrical work to prepare for these machines. The estimated delivery date is 4-6 wks, so we’ve got plenty of time to get that done ahead of time in preparation. We will be working to make this transition as smooth as possible with as little machine downtime as feasible for the big CNC. However, the Shark CNC will likely move out sooner rather than later due to the current underutilization (only 1 booking in the last 2 months) to allow for more time to clean and rearrange this area. Inevitably, there will be a several week period where we will not have a big CNC available for use as we transition the old CNC out and get the new CNC setup and calibrated. Once the new CNC is good to go, we’ll start getting currently trained CNC members recertified for machine use.


With the popularity of wood CNC at Asmbly, I imagine there will be a fair amount of questions. I’ll try to see if I can head those off now with some important FAQs, but please ask away if there are other questions I don’t have addressed here!

I have taken the CNC class on the current machine? Will I have to take a new class to use the new machines?

Yes! These machines will have a different workflow and it’s important everyone knows how to use the machines properly.

Do I have to pay for the new class if I already paid for the previous CNC class?

No! As long as you sign up for a free recertification session, you will be able to train for the new machine at no additional cost. Free sessions will run for at least two months. After that time, you will have to pay to retake the course.

How do I qualify for free recertification?

All current members who have attended a CNC course at Asmbly using the Neon platform and have booked CNC time in the last year are eligible for free recertification. We will send targeted emails through Neon to members who meet this criteria and post on Discourse as well once we have a schedule of sessions people can sign up for. Members who receive free recertification should already be familiar with and experienced in using the CNC.

What if I’m not a current member, but I have taken the CNC class in the past?

Rejoin! You must be a current member to take advantage of the free recertification. You can restart your membership at any time by logging in to your Neon member portal here and selecting the “Purchase / Edit Membership” option from the dropdown menu. You must be a current member in order to register for and attend a recertification session.

What is covered in the recertification session?

The exact details have not been established yet, but basic machine use and workflow will definitely be covered as well as how to use the vacuum table. Since 4th axis is a brand new feature that we have not yet offered classes on, it is highly unlikely this will be covered in the recertification sessions.

What is NOT covered in the recertification session?

As mentioned, 4th axis is unlikely to be covered. The session also won’t cover modeling software. We will be focusing primarily on how to use these machines and interface differences from the current machines we’ve had in the space. It is meant to migrate existing CNC users to a new machine, not teach non-CNC users how to use a CNC.

When can I sign up for a recertification class?

We won’t have the class schedule posted until after the machine has arrived, and has been set up and calibrated. There will be a post on Discourse when the sessions are available to all CNC members (donors who contribute $500+ will get priority scheduling, see fundraiser here for details). We will also send targeted emails through Neon to active members who have previously taken a CNC course.

The period for free recertification classes has ended. Can I still get recertified for free?

Unfortunately, no. We have to draw a line somewhere on this free offering as it is not financially tenable for us to eternally offer a free transition course. We will offer free sessions long enough to give plenty of opportunity to all eligible members (estimated to take around 2 months).

Will there be any more CNC classes in the meantime?

We are no longer training for the current CNC machine since it is on its way out. We are hoping to start up some relevant design software classes in the meantime to get members trained up on how to prepare their project files in common softwares like VCarve and Fusion360. If you’re interested in teaching a design software class, please email classes@asmbly.org to connect!

What software will I be able to use on these new machines?

One of the great things about these machines is the long list of compatible softwares. Some of these include VCarve, Aspire, Mozaik (cabinet making software), Cabinet Vision, Rhino, EnRoute, Fusion360, and more.

When can we expect the new machines to be fully online for member use?

The transaction is in process pending bank clearance at which point they say we can expect delivery in 4-6 wks. We expect it may take at least 1 week to get the large CNC fully set up and calibrated. We hope to have both machines up and running by mid to late October.

How can I help prepare for the new machines?

We have electrical and probably also dust collector prep work to do for the machines. We may also have additional prep work for the desktop CNC to get that area arranged nicely and ensure we have a good surface ready for the machine to sit on. You can reach out to leadership@asmbly.org to connect with the right teams to help with these items.

You didn’t answer my question…

Sorry about that! Turns out I’m not a mind reader after all :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :crystal_ball: Please post your question here so we can get you an answer!

Now, who’s excited?? :awesome:

If you managed to read this whole post, first off thank you, this post took a good while to write :sweat_smile: Secondly, let me know you read all the way through by starting your reply with an emoji that best represents your feelings about these new machines!


@HannaKessler trying to move your post back over here and close the other one so discussion stays centralized in one thread. Let’s see if this works…

Your permissions for Discourse hadn’t gotten updated yet since you became a full fledged member so that’s why it wasn’t allowing it previously. I updated you so you should be all good now.

This specific section of the forum is restricted for members only when it comes to replying to or creating new topics.

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Ah ok great! :yum:

@HannaKessler good highlights here on vacuum table and spoilboard considerations! I think we’ve been long overdue for better enforcement around spoilboard spoiling around here and we’ll need to make sure we have some very clear guidance, workflows, and consequences/fines around this and be sure it is heavily stressed in both the recertification as well as all new classes. I’m still CNC ignorant (it’s on my list of crafts to learn along with welding!), so others more familiar should chime in, but I believe we would have spoilboard on top of the vacuum table that has holes of some sort (not sure if a specific pattern has been established), so that even if a member heavily overshot their cut, they still wouldn’t come close to the vacuum table surface (unless they were just grossly negligent). More knowledgeable folks, please help me out if I’ve got this wrong – @Jon @jamesfreeman @cfstaley @CLeininger @mazsalimi @JennChilds @MMcATX

So the metal vacuum table absolutely cannot be touched obviously otherwise that’s permanent damage to the machine. However, any surface imperfections in the wooden surface over the metal table still cause issues. The “vacuum board” in this discussion is that first layer of LDF which has been sealed to the metal table and has each vacuum region isolated from each other for maximum suction. The “spoil board” is an additional board placed on top of that surface onto which the work can be placed and secured. At DMS, any damage whatsoever to the vacuum board is a $100 fine and 30 day ban from the CNC.


This has always been what concerns me about going for a vacuum table. It is superior in many aspects, biggest advantage is a plywood sheet is held down like it’s glued all the way across.

But the MDF table is not a spoilboard anymore, and any cutting at all into the MDF is a prob that is both an immediate problem that could make it unusable, and not simple to fix. Well-trained, experienced, professional users can keep it going.

This is a difficulty fitting with a makerspace looking to attract a wide range of new users. Cutting the spoilboard is an easy mistake for anyone to make, and the problem is a different order of magnitude on a vac table. It can create long downtimes.

It’s not the same approachability as the simpler, forgiving non-vac spoilboard. That approachability of the more forgiving non-vac CNC is something is something I would hate to lose.

I’m with Danny on the vacuum table issue. So far I have only used the CNC for cutting larger pieces of aluminum plate than I could do in the machine shop. This requires a lubricant and can’t use the dust collector so I place a temporary spoilboard on top of the permanent one. It may be possible to do that with a vacuum table but it sounds risky. Please don’t create a workflow that doesn’t include metal.

The MDF is 100% still a spoilboard. It sits on top of the vacuum table that is built into the machine. The advantage of this is the spoilboard is now a much easier item to replace. Some people use 2 separate sheets, to extended the MDF life.

Hanna, thats a really interesting right up you linked. I especially like the torque wrench setup.

As with any new machine, there will be learning curves and new procedures to develop. As we bring this machine online, we welcome people to participate in the process.


Also, if the vacuum table becomes an issue then all we need to do is switch from the more porous LDF (low-density fiberboard) to MDF and revert to traditional hold-down techniques.


@Hoosier the new machine will have all the same capabilities as the previous one and more. You will be able to cut all the same materials on the new one that you could have cut on the old one.

Any new machine/machine feature will come with some amount of learning/adjusting. There’s a reason we require classes for almost every shop area and machine in the space, and why we’re recertifying all CNC users for the new machine. :blush:

This is absolutely what you do and is super nice and easy. That’s the main benefit of the vacuum, across the surface area of a spoilboard the hold down is as good or better than the nylon nails used currently. You can always add a spoilboard on top of the vacuum. You can see in my picture in the thread I actually have 2 layers on top of the vacuum, a spoilboard with my jig clamped onto it, and the jig holding the workpiece itself. In fact you pretty much should always use added layers of spoilboard unless you are 100% certain you’ll get nowhere close to the vacuum board, such as when surfacing a thick slab. If you are cutting through, you need a spoilboard between your work and the vacuum board


Just bought a Plotting CNC ISO20 Attachment for our new New Laguna CNC.


I always find these funny, especially when people use them on 3D printers to “print” pictures.

I have used a “pen” for our current CNC to draft a drawing on vellum so that I could lay it on an existing 90’ IKEA cabinet side panel and verify my CAD design matched it. See Big CNC as a Plotter

I have also seen that some people have drawn bending/fold lines on their sheet metal designs so they could use a brake to bend/fold them into a 3D item This marker will change the way you work with sheet metal.

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I’m really looking forward to the vacuum table. I’ve had issues strongly securing small or odd shaped parts, to the point that I had looked into making a small vacuum holder of my own. This should be a great help.

I assume the vacuum table doubles as the dust collector, so David’s concern about liquid lubricants needs consideration. David, have you tried air cooling? With aluminum, that’s usually sufficient.

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The vacuum table isnt meant to be a dust collector. We will still run an overhead system.

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Only dust collected is what can be sucked through ~1 inch of LDF. So… not much haha

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Vacuum pumps do use quite a bit of power- according to datasheets, I get 244 amps of additional panel capacity for the 5x10 alone (including all the associated loads of that machine).

Our panels are pretty heavily loaded right now, and that is a very large amount. In most real-world use the load is a fraction of the nameplate, but I can’t guess how much.

Do we have a path forward where we can power this? It’s not a matter of how many breaker slots are open- the total panel capacity would be the limiting factor

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@dannym, @Jon has already done a power assessment on requirements vs what we can handle and while a good deal of power is needed it is well within our total panel capacity.

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Yeah, Danny, what datasheets are you looking at? The Laguna manual calls for a 60A 3ø circuit for the vacuum table (which is consistent with two 10hp motors of conventional efficiency) and a 40A 240V circuit for the CNC itself (which seems reasonable for a 3hp spindle motor and a bunch of miscellany). It’s non-trivial for sure, but not crazy for our services.