STEM use of CNC Machines

Hi All, I work at a small, public library with a Carbide CNC machine. I’m new to CNC machines so I’m wondering what kinds of prints/cuts have others done or found which helps teach STEM skills to students? How does a certain print/cut teach them Math, Engineering, Science (Physics, etc.)? Thank you!

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Great tool for STEM. Plenty of STEM skills involved in designing & developing a strategy to machine given the tools & materials you have, and the capabilities of the machine. Just the design part, if the student starts with an idea and has to figure out how to manufacture it, what processes to use, and not just the machining parts but how to assemble the finished product, what kind of finishes to use, and how to line things up on the machine and choose tools that will result in the parts needed.

I worked with a group called “PACE” that donated software & services to universities installing and configuring our software (Siemens NX / Unigraphics) for students to use in their projects. I would help set up NC machines & make postprocessors for them, and create templates in NX for the students to use.

I think I would start with pictures of finished products that are relatively easy to make, in the time available, but without details, dimensions, etc… & guide them to discovering how to make the finished parts.

I hope you’ll post progress so we can follow along. And you can always count on the forum for help.

Good Luck

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Can you please share examples of what specifically taught students STEM skills?

One approach is to teach the geometry and math underlying designs — using a CAD tool which requires math/programming/geometry will facilitate this:


The usage of the machine is applied engineering/science/physics.

The BlockSCAD folks have published a bit in this space:

(and it’s a tool I use a lot)

That’s a bit broad… What are you trying to teach?

For cut ready projects visit That is a C3D site that you can post projects that are ready to cut. If you have no experience in designing projects it is a great place to get your feet wet using projects that have already been designed. You would have to decide what is appropriate for what you are trying to teach.


What age are the students ? What skills do they bring with them ?

That will determine a starting point.

I am curious about your ‘small, public library’ Does this serve a town of 2500 or less or something much larger ?


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Hi Guy… Very cool site. Thank you!!

We’re about 62,000.

Ages 10 -17.

Thank you.

Will Those sites look helpful. Thank you!

Glad to!

Please let us know what you find out, or what you work up in the way of lessens.

Naturally, if you need any help, feel free to post here, or to write in to and we’ll do our best to assist.

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