Teachers' Corner

Just a quick note to see if there are other teachers’ on the forum. I coach a high school robotics team for FIRST robotics and teach science in NC. What are some of the ways you have used this tool with your students?

Hi Nina. I teach furniture design to college Architecture and Product Design students. While we already have 3 other/larger CNC in the design shop, I bought the X-Carve to modify upside down into a CNC router table. So we can cut mainly joinery details into parts clamped above the bit.

Hi @NinaMorleyDaye. I’m NOT a teacher, but I just wanted to say keep up the good work with FIRST. My eldest was on both the FTC and FRC teams when he was in high school. Such a great opportunity for kids! I hung around the school a bit just so I could see what the kids came up with.

Our First Robotics ream is interested in the capabilities of a 3D carving machine for fabrication of components.
Be interested in how others are using these devices.


Hi, Nina
I am also an FRC coach and we just purchased an X-Carve for our robotics team.
I can’t attest to what we HAVE used it for yet, because we are assembling it next week, but I HOPE the team will have a blast learning more CAD to make useful robot parts/prototypes and some cool marketing materials, especially school-branded and team-branded items. Looking forward to seeing what the capabilities are, both the equipment and my students!

Lisa Ramey
North Star School
Cando, ND
FRC Team 877

What age are your students?

@AllenMassey, FIRST teams start out as early as elementary school with Junior FLL (FIRST Lego League), then on to FLL in middle school, followed by FRC and FTC (think JV and varsity) in high school.

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I think it is great the students have such dedicated teachers willing to spend all this extra time helping the robotics team succeed.

How do you plan to have the students utilize the CNC machine and be successful? I know from my own repeated failures that designing a part, creating a tool path and getting it cut correctly is crazy difficult without lots of experience (or maybe a great teacher standing by their side).

I’m a high school music teacher. I bought the X-Carve for personal use but I’ll probably come up with several projects for my classroom.

With some careful programming you can get your CNC playing music.

My parents and 2 siblings were/are music teachers and I’ve been toying with the idea of a music-to-gcode interpreter. Perhaps using a probe on the resulting cut the music could be played back by the CNC. Just some raw ideas.


I like the raw ideas! Interested to see what some of you have come up with.

I am a Shop Teacher and I am looking into this product for my woodworking course and my Technical Drawing to create prototypes. I have 3-d printers and I am thinking this would be a great addition to my machines to get my students exposed to CNC.

What ages are your students?

High School grades 9-12

The X-Carve should be a great tool for high school students. Their first project can be to build it!

I have not had the pleasure of using a CNC machine yet; still trying to get the money together. I can think of parts from the last two FRC robots that could have been milled on an X-Carve. In 2014 we had two mechanical linkages made from AZEK that threw the large ball over the truss and into the goals that could have been made on the larger X-Carve. Last season students made a bunch of hooks to grab onto the totes that would have been so much easier to make on an X-Carve. They were printing out the CAD drawing, cutting it out with scissors, taping it to wood and then cutting it on a band saw. They made so many of those and it took so long. The X-Carve would have saved SO MUCH time. Hopefully I can get one soon.

School district of Prairie Farm, WI. 6-12 TechEd. We’re setting up a FabLab, and are looking to get 2 X-carves.
Great site!

The 3-D printer we use, Makerbot, is very musical when it travels. What a cool idea!

I haven’t been on the forums in awhile, I see. We got our X-carve put together in December, as we couldn’t find a good time to get together over the summer - most of my students work on family farms or other jobs over the summer months. We have just been dipping our toes in the cool water of CNC milling and finding it is much different than 3D printing. We’ve broken quite a few bits during the learning process but have successfully carved some nicely lettered signs and cut out some simple prototypes in wood and polycarbonate. We are still having issues with the X-Carve not recognizing consistently within Easel, but just got a new driver to try and remedy it.

Here is a post that shows how to build a demonstration “CNC” machine with cardboard, paper clips, an Arduino controller and three small servo motors. For students that know nothing about how a CNC machine works this really provides a great way to safely understand the basic components in a “Hand On” manner.

He also shows how to do it as a manual machine with no Arduino or servo motors (The student gets to be the computer and motors)

Here is his full Youtube site