Mini CNC Machine - Isel CPM 2018

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  • This machine should not be operated without induction.
  • This machine should not be left unattended during operation.

Isel CPM 2018 - Desktop CNC Milling Machine

The CPM2018 is a computer controlled milling machine with three linear axes.


Movement areas X/Y/Z [mm]

Clamping table [mm]

The machine is suitable for milling, boring, cutting, engraving, proportioning, metering, positioning, and many similar applications.

Allowed Materials:

Suitable tooling materials are:

  • Wood
  • PVC
  • Glass (scouring only)
  • Plastics
  • Printed circuit materials
  • Aluminium
  • Brass

Any other materials, please ask @cnctechs for approval before milling!

Condition Notes

Donated to the space not working, control system replaced with LinuxCNC / Mesa setup - Q1 2020.

Induction and Training

Mini CNC Induction Waiting List

Description of task

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a subtractive manufacturing technology. This means that parts are created by removing material from a solid block (called the stock, blank or the workpiece) using a variety of cutting tools.


A CNC machine removes material from a solid block using a variety of cutting tools to produce a part based on a CAD model.

CAD / CAM experience is helpful, but we will give some basics of how to mill a 2.5D design using VCarve - additional tutorials are available online for more advanced techniques.

Induction will cover:

  • Risk assessment and safety
  • A brief introduction to milling
  • Coordinate systems, work holding devices, tools and types of cutting
  • Basic use of VCarve Pro to generate tool paths
  • A brief introduction to LinuxCNC
  • Overview of our Isel CPM2018
  • Loading your GCode onto the PC
  • Homing the machine
  • Securing the stock to the CNC bed
  • Fitting the collet and cutting tool to the spindle
  • Touch off the axes on the stock
  • Running your GCode
  • Cleaning up



Risk Assessment

Isel Desktop CNC Risk Assessment

Video Induction

Video Induction

Before Use

(A laminated cheatsheet coving the process is provided for convenience, but feel free to grab the cnc checklist here (51.5 KB) .

  • Power on Isel CNC machine from power socket switch
  • Power on PC using front power button on the PC case
  • Login to Linux with username: cnc password: cnc
  • Start LinuxCNC from desktop shortcut ‘CPM2018’
  • Touch your keyfob in to the tool control box on the right rear corner of the machine to begin your CNC session
  • Release the Emergency-Off switch on the front panel of the machine by turning clockwise
  • Power on the machine with the green POWER button next to the Emergency-Off switch
  • Copy your GCode onto the PC from a USB stick
  • Home all the axes
  • Insert cutting tool and appropriate collet for the desired operation and snug down
  • Run your program with no stock well above the bed to make sure movements look correct
  • Firmly mount your stock to the mill bed using appropriate work holding devices
  • Touch off the tool in the corner or middle on all 3 axes on your stock, depending on where you set the XY datum position in your design software.
  • Turn vacuum on

During Use

  • Run your GCode program while paying close attention to machine movements, speed and chip buildup
  • For multiple-bit operations, do not turn the machine off, just wait for the cycle to conclude on your current cut, and then:
    • Change bits
    • Load the new gcode file
    • Touch off the Z axis only
    • Press the start button
  • For emergency situations, you find an Emergency-Off switch on the front-panel of the machine.
    It interrupts the power supply to the axes and spindle motors.
    However, the software - machine communication remains possible for fault tracing
  • Opening the COVER while machine is in motion will abort the program and stop all movement. Even pressing the COVER button will cause movement to cease.

After Use

  • Turn vacuum off
  • Press in the Emergency-Off switch to disable the machine
  • Close LinuxCNC application
  • Safely shutdown the PC
  • Remove cutting tool and collet and place back in their appropriate locations
  • **Clean the machine carefully and remove chips and dust deposits with a vacuum **, the axes can be moved by hand when the machine is powered off to get underneath the axes. To protect the viewing windows from scratching, use the provided cloth.
  • Power off the Isel CNC from the power socket switch
  • Ensure the cover to the machine is left closed
  • Touch your keyfob in to the tool control box on the right rear corner of the machine to end your CNC session


  • “Joint (1,2,3) on limit switch error”: safely manually move the axis off the limit switch. The cutter cannot be all the way up/down/left/right.
  • “Confirm Automatic Update” “This version of LinuxCNC separates the concepts of Axes and Joints…”: Make sure to launch LinuxCNC from the desktop icon, then open your gcode file from within LinuxCNC.
Maintenance (@cnctechs only)

Maintenance - To be done only by @cnctechs

WIP Maintenance Checklist

Open the hood before switching off the machine using the mains switch, as once the power is off the door can no longer be opened.

Switch off the mains switch before any cleaning and any maintenance. Also, pull the power plug in order to prevent an inadvertent starting.

Clean the machine regularly with a broom or vacuum cleaner of all chips (no compressed air). That protects the mechanics against early wear.

  • With frequent machining operations and very fine chips (dusts), you should regularly remove the cover plate of the Y-axis below the T-slot plate and remove possibly penetrated chips and/or dusts.

  • The sealing lips include a Teflon component and require no special maintenance.

  • Clean the perspex windows with a non-abrasive fluid cleaner.

  • The shaft guides and drive shafts are provided with a long-term lubrication ex works. Depending on the load, you should grease the shaft guides and drive shafts approx. all 500- 1000 operating hours. Use usual rolling bearing grease for that purpose.

See Isel manual below for detailed instructions.

VCarve Pro

Follow this link to download and install the Vcarve software.

You will now need to create a new file. File menu > New

You will need to manually add a machine profile:

Machine menu > Machine Configuration

Name: Isel CPM-2018
Manufacturer: Isel
Model: CPM-2018
Controller: LinuxCNC
Width: 200mm
Height: 175

Add a post processor: LinuxCNC Arc (mm)(*.ngc)

Fill in the job setup details. Most importantly change the dimensions to mm and check Job Size matches your material size. Then click OK.

At this stage you can import your artwork as an svg. Inkscape is open source and will save as an svg.

File menu > Import > Import Vectors

Open the Toolpaths tab on the right hand side.

I find it helpful to pin it so it stays open


Choose an operation (the second one, pocket will do for setup)


Then click Select in the tools section


You now need to import the Tool Library for the tools we have in the makerspace: 2022_05_11_hardwood_metric.vtdb (152 KB)

Select the tools you want to use from the Hardwood Metric tools list.

Click Calculate

Click Preview All Toolpaths

This is as much as you can do on your own machine with the Makerspace licence. You will now need to transfer your project to the Laptop to the left of the CNC and open it there.

From this machine check all your settings, and then click on Save Toolpath


You are now ready to transfer your files to the cutting machine.

Autodesk Fusion 360 Machine Profile

Unzip this file: (3.6 KB)

It contains two files: the CNC machine itself, as well as the tool library.

In Manufacture mode, click on Settings, and import the machine, the and import the tool library into the tool library :slight_smile: .

Then, when postprocessing the file, make sure to select LinuxCNC (EMC2), not the Isel, because our controller is LinuxCNC.


LinuxCNC Axis Interface

Isel CPM 2018 Original Manual (3.0 MB)
MS 135 HT-2 Stepper Motors (122.2 KB)
UFM 500 Milling Motor / Collets (171.1 KB)
Mesa 7i76e Stepper controller / Daughtercard (441.3 KB)
DM542T Stepper Drivers (687.0 KB)
CPM2018.tar.gz (24.2 KB)