E3 CNC Frequently Asked Questions
What operating systems can the E3 CNC router use?
The E3 comes with an Arduino based microprocessor using grbl that is connected thru a communications port thru a USB connection. We recommend the Universal Gcode Sender Platform Version which is a Java-based software that will run on Windows, OSX, Linux, and Raspberry Pi.
Can the E3 be run from a laptop? If so what kind of port is needed on the laptop?
Yes, you can use a laptop as long as you have a free USB port. The E3 CNC router uses GRBL firmware on the microcontroller. The microcontroller uses a USB to connect to the computer. Open source software such as UGS - Universal G-code Sender can be used with GRBL to operate the machine. Both GRBL and UGS have good documentation on the internet. The assembly manual can be downloaded and reviewed here.
What bits, or bit sets, on Amazon would you recommend for this?
The E3 CNC router DeWalt spindle comes with a 1/8" and 1/4" collets. Straight, vee and rounded bits will all work. They need to have a 1/4" or 1/8" shaft size. Search Amazon for “1/8" in router bits” or “1/4" router bits” and select the bits for the material you plan to use. Small end mills will also work.
What software will I need to buy to run the E3?
There are several choices of software. Most of them are open source and are free. The one I am currently using is the Universal G-code Sender (UGS). The firmware loaded on the microprocessor is also open source and is named grbl. There is lots of information on the internet about grbl I suggest using the search terms “Using grbl.”
The E3 CNC router, is like most CNC machines, as it uses g-code files. The g-code files are text files that can be computer generated or written by hand. There are several open sourced software packages that generate g-code.
You will need a computer with a free USB. Once you download the software, discussed above, to generate and interpret the g-code, you will be ready to create your projects with the E3 CNC Engraver.
How thick of wood can it cut through?
The E3 CNC router gantry height from the table is 3.3". The maximum height from the bottom of the DeWalt collet from the table is 4.5". Without a tool change, you would be able to cut 1.2" into a 3.3" thick stock or cut all the way thru a 2.25" (or less) thick stock. With tool changes, you would be able to cut thru a 3.3" thick stock.
Calculations for the answer.
4.5" -3.3" = 1.2" bit available to cut
4.5" = 2.25" of bit + 2.25" thick of stock
Can you make signs longer than 17" in multiple steps?
Absolutely. Yes, you would be able to put a couple of small marks (one at X 17, Y 0 and the other at X17, Y13) with a small V-bit before you release the clamps. Then you could reference these marks in the next setup with X back in the zero position.
Another method would be carefully measuring the placement of the workpiece for each setup. This can be aided with jigs or material stops.
The maximum width that will fit in between the sides is roughly 17.5 inches. The front and back are open for shifting the work as much as needed
The maximum width the router can cut is 15.3 inches, but it can cut unlimited lengths using multiple setups.
Does this unit come with the controller and motors?
Yes, the E3 CNC router kit comes with the controller, motors, and power supply. The assembly manual can be downloaded from our website. The appendix at the end of the manual has a complete parts list. You will need a computer with a free USB.
What is your refund/return policy?
The refund/return policy can be found here.
What is the accuracy of the machine?
The accuracy is highly dependent on how hard the bit is pushed thru the material. The theoretical accuracy is 13 microns (0.0004"). However, there are several things that add to error.
- bit deflection
- belt stretch
- micro- stepping
- lead screw error
- frame rigidity
- bit size configuration in the g-code
With all of these, the well maintained E3 CNC router will still be able to hold accuracy within a few thousands of an inch. (0.002" to 0.004"), or 50 to 100 microns.
The best way to hold tolerance is to make light cuts on the final pass. This reduces bit deflection, belt stretch, and frame flexing.
How technical is the assembly process?
The E3 manual can be downloaded and reviewed on the link above. We recommend that you download and review the assembly manual. You can also research grbl (the firmware), Universal Gcode Sender ( the g-code sender software), and F-engrave ( software to make the G-code). All are free and can be reviewed before you buy.
How loud is it?
The E3 CNC router has a DeWalt router. Routers are loud enough that you will want hearing protection. One reference I read online quoted 103 dB.
Is the controller 2-1/2 or 3-axis?
The E3 is a full 3 axis machine.
How are the pieces clamped on the table bed? Does the unit come with hold down clamps?
The spoilboard bed has 1/4"- 20 inserts. The kit comes with 1/4"-20 screws and wing nuts along with 8 clamps for mounting the workpiece. The assembly manual can be downloaded and reviewed on the link above.
What type of material is used to make the frame of the machine?
The E3 CNC router frame is made from 6 mm 5 ply Baltic birch. The spoil-board is 1/2" MDF.
Can this run on Windows 10 and would I need to install a software?
The E3 is a CNC router that uses an Arduino microprocessor to interpret the g-code file. The firmware is called grbl ( is pre-installed on the microprocessor and uses a USB port to receive serial port information (G-code) from software on the computer. I recommend UGS Universal G-code Sender software to send the g-code text file to the controller.
GRBL and UGS use standard g-code text files to operate. Both have good documentation on their websites showing their capabilities.
Yes, you would be able to run with Window 10 as well as many other operating systems.
Check out F-engrave and Scorchworks other products. This software creates the g-code files. This software can take pictures and turn them into g-code