CNC & Machining

The FAD is equipped with a small set of subtractive manufacturing tooling to manufacture a wide variety of custom components. Unlike the FAD's 3D printing capabilities which are limited to thermoplastics and UV-curable resins, the FAD's machining capabilities can be used on a wide variety of materials, ranging from soft woods & plastics to significantly harder materials such as stainless steel or Titanium.

We are always exploring the posibility of incorporating new capabilities. If you identify unmet needs that would benefit the UCSF community please let us know.


Computer-numertical-controlled (CNC) machining ultilizes scripts or programs to control the subtractive manufacturing tooling. With the personal computer revolution, the capabilities and availability of CNC machine tools have become more readily available. Unlike manual or "plain" tools which require a significant amount of skill, and experience from the operator to achieve accurate parts, CNC machining is semi-automated, thus lowering the barrier-to-entry for beginner operators.

The FAD is equipped with a benchtop CNC mill, and a freestanding CNC mill, and a laser cutter. The following list summarizes the CNC mills' capabilities. If unsure whether the FAD has the capabilities for your project, please contact us for a consultation.


Tormach PCNC 1100

Bantam Tools Othermill V2 ULS V3.50 Laser Cutter
Working Volume
[X, Y, Z]
18 x 9.5 x 16.25 in

140 x 114 x 40.6 mm (5.5 x 4.5 x 1.6 in) [Spillboard removed]

140 x 114 x 34.3 mm (5.5 x 4.5 x 1.35 in) [Spillboard installed]

24 x 12 in

Cutting depth dependent on material

Compatible Materials Plastics, Resins, Soft Metals, Hard Metals Plastics, Resins, Soft Metals (up to Aluminum)

Woods, Plastics, Resins

[Engraving only]

No Plywood, PVC, Vulcanized Rubber

Machine Status No issues reported No issues reported No issues reported

Supporting Machinery and Hand Tools

The FAD has a variety of machinery and hand tools to assist with prototype manufacturing. Supporting machinery includes band and miter saws to pre-size the stock.