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The Hub Workshop design guide


These simple guidelines will help you prepare your CAD files .

Your files

Units — exclusively millimetres

Scale — always 1:1

These are our favourite file-types:

  • 3dm — Rhinoceros
  • dxf — Drawing eXchange Format used by AutoCAD, and other software

We can import most formats, so give us a try and we'll let you know if there's a problem. Most importantly your design should be stored as vectors rather than pixels, if that doesn't make sense, just ask us.


The machine thinks in 2D so if you have a design in 3D, we want to see it. However, we won't be able to cut it or give you an accurate quote until it's converted into 2D.

Once you've got all your outlines in 2D, lay out your pieces, let us know how many you need and if the grain direction matters to you:


We use layers to describe each separate operation the machine will carry out.

type of cut, followed by tool property (diameter, radius, angle...) and finally the depth of cut

  • profile-d8-18mm — profile cut using an 8 mm end-mill to 18 mm depth.
  • pocket-b6-12mm — pocket using a 6 mm ball-nose to 12 mm depth.
  • online-v90-5mm — online cut using a 90° chamfer cutter to 5 mm depth.
  • hole-d5-16mm — holes using a 6 mm drill to 16 mm depth.
  • annotations — anything that won't be machined, like quantities, grain direction, notes, etc.

Types of cut

  • profile

The cutter cuts through the whole thickness of the material. The path of the cutter is aligned to run either outside or inside of a closed line to cut-out components and create openings within them.

  • pocket

The cutter clears out an area to a depth as defined by a closed curve.

  • online

​The cutter follows an open or closed curve centred on the line. This type of cut is useful for labelling parts with an engraving cutter, creating grooves and chamfers.

  • hole

Round holes, they can be through or to a depth. Where possible we will use a drill for these as it produces the best results.

Tool properties

Our cutters rotate clockwise and take material away along their cutting edge, as a result they leave behind different shapes in the material. We stock them in several standard sizes, and can obtain more if you need:

Depths of cut

The depth of cut is how far down the tip of the tool goes into the material, in millimetres. It is measured from the top of the material.

If you want to:

  • take 3 mm away from the material, the depth is 3 mm.
  • leave 3 mm thickness, the depth is the thickness of the material minus 3 e.g. 18 - 3 = 15 mm.
  • go through the material, the depth matches the thickness of the material e.g. 18 mm.

Other design considerations

Sizes & Thicknesses

Our machine bed is 2440 × 1220 mm (8' by 4' in old money). We need a small margin, so the maximum size of a single component is 2430 × 1210 mm.

As standard, we cut up to 32 mm thickness material. We will consider thicker materials on a case by case basis.


Arranging components to fit within a sheet of material is called nesting.

We prefer to carry out nesting ourselves, we know our machine and cutters well, and have good algorithms for doing it quickly and efficiently.

Dog-bone fillets & T-bone fillets

We can help you by adding the fillets to your drawing where necessary, let us know if this would be helpful.

Lines, arcs, Bézier curves, NURBS...

We're pretty good at converting other curves into the lines and arcs that our machine works with. Send us your design in its native format and we'll ask you to sign-off any changes we've had to make.

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