CNC Routers for FRC Robotics


Omio X6 will fit on that fine


The stepper motor will hang off the front a couple inches

We are so far delighted with our new X6 - and had no one with prior CNC experience now we have 5 running it after 2 months - and still learning.


Question for everyone that popped up while I’m learning Fusion360 - do any of you have a recommended fly cutter for your routers? Do you ever even use one? I figured there would be times, for example when making a waste board, that I’d need to use a facing operation.

Do you use facing operations?

If so, what cutting tool do you recommend?

Do I really need one?


My router just came with a 3/4" or 7/8" straight router bit with a 6mm shank. Worked fine. For surfacing wasteboard you don’t need to be all that good.
I shy away from explicitly using a flycutter because I already get scared running them at 2k RPM. Running them at 24k by mistake sounds a little too exciting for me. Just 1/2" endmills can be fed incredibly fast and will get the job done.


I think fly cutters make more sense on VMCs cutting metal. When you have a router spinning at 20kRPM, your surface speed is insane. 548 uses a 1"-2" wood router bit on our Velox with a 3HP spindle. We just bought something like this. We have a full 4’ by 4’ wasteboard, so we don’t want to use a tiny tool.


Okay, you guys convinced me on the Omio. The thing that was making me a bit hesitant on it was needing the water tank - I was going to use that space for other space, but I think this is as good as I’m going to be able to do and can work out other things. Since we’re using it in a classroom (and not a robotics classroom, sadly, during the day it’s bio / chem) we have to keep it really clean. Do you have recommendations on a hood? I don’t see one on their site. We’ll need to keep chips under control, but ideally still want to be able to get coolant on the surface too.


RUSH purchased the Orion CNC router from CNC Parts Online, after meeting the router’s designer Kodi at the Detroit Maker Faire.
We are planning to make a detailed post about our experience with CNC Parts Online and the machine after we have more time to play around with it, so look for that after the build season.

We did look at Omnio, ShopSabre, and Velox machines as well. Here are the things we liked about the Orion:

  • The router itself is designed and built in the USA.
    They are actually located in Holly MI, which is great because we were able to visit their company and see the machine before we purchased it. They are also close enough to offer us immediate on site support if we ever need it
  • They offered 24 hour technical support and onsite training.
    Kodi has continued to answer our phone calls and text messages to help us any time of the day, which is nice because our team meets after standard business hours.
  • They gave us a 2 week lead time from receipt of payment
    This gave us a lot of time to work with the machine before the build season starts
  • They offered a 2 year warranty
    The longest we saw out of the other options we looked into
  • They offer discounts up to 20% for FRC sponsorships (including our team) and the cost of local shipping was included in their price
  • We purchased the router already assembled, which is an option they offer as well.
  • The Orion router uses non-contact limit switches to make sure the machine cannot crash into itself, instead of relying only on code and encoder position at the motors
  • The entire machine is built out of 3/8" thick aluminum using tabs and slots which should be better for cutting accuracy as it assembles square to the gantry. It is also very heavy and rigid for cutting at roughly 500lbs
  • The Orion has dual gantry lead screws.
    The ShopSabre 23 only has one
  • The Orion has leading 425oz nema motors, Gecko G540 Driver, and Meanwell PSU.
    They are not chinese motors
  • The Orion comes out of the box with open source software which means we aren’t tied to using a company’s specific CNC software.
    We liked this because we can debug issues online and aren’t tied to going through Orion as the only source of help and having to pay them for their software and updates. We are not familiar with the other companies software to list their advantages over going with the open source route.

We are not sure how the stock Orion router compares to the ShopSabre 23’s router because we upgraded to a 2.2kw air cooled spindle, but the ShopSabre site says the stock ShopSabre 23 comes with a porter cable router not a spindle.

I would suggest giving the Orion router designer Kodi (248-634-9952) a call if you are looking to purchase a CNC router, especially if you are in the Michigan, Ontario, Indiana, Ohio, or Illinois area.
We highly recommend anyone who is interested in purchasing one to shop around and actually talk to the companies on the phone before making a decision.


Glad you guys have had a positive experience with them. Look forward to seeing what you guys make on it this year.

I wasn’t very impressed with my interactions with their team. I got an email forwarded to me from their marketing group then watched this video on their website and thought the company was a complete joke. Talked to Kodi on the phone and had a very good conversation about our needs, space constraints, budget, etc. He seemed really knowledgeable. He said they’d send me a quote. Came back at $9k which included a $1k FRC discount, but I was expecting a discounted FRC price compared to what was listed on the website ($7500 at the time). Seems as though they’ve updated their prices now to $9,985. I completely wrote them off after that and bought an X8.


We just ran our first cuts in aluminum on our Shopbot PRSalpha today, and I’m extremely satisfied with how it turned out. After thinking about our feeds and speeds, we had success on the first cut. We were getting excellent chips and our dimensions were pretty accurate. The only problem we had was when we tried to do conventional vs adaptive machining. as soon as we switched to adaptive, everything worked out fine.


You can make a hood from t-slot extrusions and clear plastic or soft clear plastic strips, or make one custom from wood and clear plastic. I don’t think you’ll be able to find anything better than that, sadly.


I believe since you’ve talked to them they’ve also increased their FRC discount.
They are a small company marketing to several different industries including FRC teams and are looking to grow.


Dang. I guess we’ll just have to have a student hover by it with the shopvac. Hahaha.


Shop vac nearby will help but not catch all the chips - from our experience.

We are working toward making an enclosure for it - we also look for it to reduce the noise level a bit.


Okay, I just noticed with the Omio they suggest the water for the pump be kept at < 35. Is there a recommended chiller for this setup? Keeping in mind that we have very limited space available.


Thats probably 35 degrees Celsius, since the machines are from China. i have my distilled water/rust inhibitor with pump in a Home Depot homer bucket (with lid on top).


Oh duh, I’m dumb. Hahaha. I’ve never used a rust inhibitor, I’m glad you mentioned that, that’s really smart. Do you just make a mix with water?


A dust collector will be far superior to a shop vac for controlling… well… dust. And chips.

This dust collectorhas served me well for 3+ years for managing chips and dust on my router and woodworking equipment. It even keeps up with the added load of an air blast on my router.

We cobbed together a collector end around the spindle using a dust collector flanged plate, polycarbonate, hot glue, and duck tape. You can see it in the upper-right corner of this image:

We’ve since added a duck tape skirt around it to improve efficiency. Pretty? No. Frangible? Yes. Easy, cheap, and effective? You betcha.


Our team is also purchasing a Omio X8. We’re placing the order “very soon” (according to school administration), and I had a couple of questions to make sure everything goes smoothly.

  1. I’ve heard that since it’s coming from China, and it has to pass through customs, CBP or someone contacts the purchaser to get them to pay duty or tax. Is this accurate? If so, can someone who ordered already give an estimate for how much the tax/duty was?
  2. How long (approximately) did it take to ship for others who ordered the same router? Since we’re ordering late, I wanted to know if we could count on having it in time to train students for any amount of time before the season.

I’m a complete newbie with CNC routers, so I was also wondering about a couple of technical details:

  • How do teams mount the machinist vises onto the router bed for holding the box tubing? I see that the router bed has slots – do the vises just slide into those?
  • How do teams attach the MDF or whatever material they use for spoiler board?

I’m sure I’ll have more questions when the router comes in – as of now, I’m trying to watch videos on how to do CAM with Fusion 360 and some basic Mach3 tutorials. If there are any other resources for someone new to this stuff, it would be very helpful if anyone could point me to them.


Like many other teams, we created a vise holder that gets bolted down into the T-Slot table to hold our vises. See the following photo:

As for the MDF sac board, we just bolt it down into our T-Slot table:

As for Fusion 360/HSMWorks and Mach 3 Tutorials, I have a couple (albiet somewhat poorly filmed) videos on how to get started (I reccomend skipping to these two 2-parter videos):

Cutting Sheet Metal

Cutting with vises

Anand (Asid61) also has some good videos.


Over the summer, 5987 purchased a router from CNCRouterParts. Overall, the ordering, shipping, assembly, and learning process has gone relatively smoothly. We are now starting to get the hang of making parts with it, and I’m hoping it will help us streamline and professionalize our manufacturing process this upcoming season.

One thing we are struggling with a bit is tying down sheet metal parts. We have an MDF wasteboard, and our current process for sheet parts is:

  1. Drill holes in the corners of the sheet & screw down into the wasteboard
  2. CNC drill the holes in the parts
  3. Pause the program and put screws in most/all of the holes
  4. Continue the program and run the rest of the cuts
  5. Unscrew all of the parts from the wasteboard & remove

This is working pretty well for us now, but as we’re scaling up production it’s causing some problems. Our machine is 4x4’ and we’d like to be able to run 50+ brackets at a time. The problem is that means we would need to screw and then unscrew 150+ screws at a time, which is a big time sink. We tried using double-sided tape and tabbing as an alternative to the screws from part 3, but it didn’t hold the parts very well. Can anyone suggest a better way to secure a lot of sheet parts without a billion screws?


Oh, also, recommendations on bits for aluminum and wood? The x6 comes with a 6mm and 3mm collet, so I’m looking at some decent ones for when we’re actually up and running, and some cheap ones for when we inevitably fudge up a few of our first cuts. XD