Subtractive Fabrication

In subtractive manufacturing 3D objects are made by consecutively cutting material away from a fixed material body until a desired form is achieved. Unwanted materials are removed by cutting, drilling, or milling. Subtractive processes are inherently more wasteful than additive processes. It is possible to create objects with tighter tolerances and better finishes using subtractive […]


The wire electric discharge machine (EDM) makes cuts using a very thin diameter wire (typically 0.15 to 0.20 mm) charged with extremely high voltage. The taught wire moves between two independently articulated spools as it is drawn through the material being cut. EDM Cutters can cut precise interior corners and can cut on a taper.


A water-jet cutter maneuvers a focused high- pressure stream of water to cut a material. Cutting can be done using pure water or water with an abrasive additive material like garnet sand. Garnet sand increases the machines ability to efficiently cut through thicker materials and hard materials such as titanium. Water-jets do not generate heat. […]


Plasma cutters work by sending an electric arc through a gas that passes through a constricted opening. This elevates the temperature of the gas to the point that it enters a fourth state of matter, plasma. This plasma uses this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from a power supply to any conductive material, resulting […]


The laser cutter uses an optically amplified beam of light as a cutting element. That laser can etch, engrave and/or cut non-metallic materials including wood, glass, film, fabric, and plastic. The laser can be focused, and the intensity of light increased or decreased for specific tasks. Cut performance (depth for example) can also be controlled […]


A CNC router is a computer controlled machine that is capable of cutting a variety of materials. It is conceptually similar to the hand-held router. The CNC router machine translates CAD models into ‘G-Code’. This code supplies instructive coordinates to the machine. The router moves across a gantry in the Y-axes and plunges in the […]


A CNC milling machine is a computer controlled machine that is generally used to plane material, drill holes, cut or carve materials. Each of these subtractive tasks do not involve rotating the work piece itself. The Milling machine acts in the X and Y directions while fixed to a moving Z axis arm.


A CNC lathe machine is a computer numerically controlled tool that rotates stock material about an axis of rotation to perform various subtractive operations. These include cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, deformation, facing, and turning. Tools can be applied to the workpiece to create an object with symmetry about that axis.