Estimates on project times

Im about to pull the trigger on buying the kit, but one last question…

Let’s say in a hypothetical world I’ve become a CNC expert, and I want to do a super simple project of cutting a 12" tall letter A out of 0.5" birch plywood. How long would it take to set up and begin the cut? How long would the cut take?

I realize there are variables that effect the answer, but I’m just looking for a rough estimate.

After the CAD and CAM, to set up and and begin the cut (if you were an expert) would be less than a minute. More likely a few minutes to make sure you’ve got everything in order.

I just made an ‘A’ in estlcam and did it in two passes at 8mm/s and the estimate from EstlCAM was 7 mins. I have found that to be a bit short, so I would guess 10-12mins.

You can follow the Cam basics tutorial and try some stuff out yourself. You’ll figure out quickly what matters w.r.t. speed. Things like getting 2 cuts instead of 3 or avoiding pockets will help a lot more than a few extra mm/s.

The CAD and CAM is where the real time is for me. I easily spend 2x the time in CAD/CAM than I do at the machine.

If you were making 'A’s by the dozen, with the same gcode file, you could easily get that cut down and be making one every 10 minutes.


Here’s a simple thing. I traced this from an image to get the linework in fusion. I’m no expert and that probably took me 15 minutes start to exported dxf. Then another 10 minutes in estlcam getting the cutting setup right. Cut was out of 1/4" hardboard and total cut time was 6 minutes. Two big holes for the eyes, and then a quick engraving pass on the exterior linework.