Difference between revisions of "Roland MDX-40a"

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##Nate's Experience getting set up
+ download and install driver from here: http://download.rolanddg.jp/en/upgrade/program/25D_WIN8X64_v120.zip
+ download vpanel (should connect to milling machine and you can move each axis)
+ use Fusion360 (or other) roland post processor
  - May have to make a minor modification to the post

Revision as of 21:20, 15 March 2018

This CNC Milling machine is not set up yet. It is being prepared by [El Greco]. Please contact me if you need help.

This Roland CNC is an older model MDX-40 running the firmware and drivers for the newer MDX-40A MDX-40A manual - https://art.columbian.gwu.edu/sites/art.columbian.gwu.edu/files/downloads/RU_MDX-40A_Set_Up.pdf

It is set up with a windows machine that runs it. Files can be loaded via usb or through the (server)

  • There are no known Linux or Mac OS drivers for this machine.

The post is RML - Roland machine language There are several workflows to running this machine. The easiest and most modern is Autodesk fusion 360. It has a post for the Roland family of CNC machines.

4th axis setup is an advanced process that can damage the Machine. Please ask someone knowledgeable before setting up the 4th axis

info on setting up 4th axis.

  • NOTE* - the 6mm pin hits slightly the self centering vice when calibrating. the is perhaps a driver issue, or another calibration that I have yet to discover.


        • from makerspace.uic ****

Roland MDX-40A CNC Mill This is a 4 axis CNC mill capable of doing both indexed and continuous rotation paths. It’s primary intention is for prototyping so it’s designed around cutting foams, plastic, wax, and other softer milling materials.

We have several options for software depending on the type of object being cut. Because of the 4th axis this is a more complicated setup than the Othermill.

In general we will help you generate toolpaths and set the machine up. Bring all source files. We can work with both STL and CAD files.

Emergency Stop (E-Stop):

Large red button on the front of the machine. Do not rely on the “Stop Cutting” button through software controls. Always err on the side of saving a tool.

Materials supported (this list will expand as we work with more materials – contact us with questions):

High Density Urethane foam – 30 lb/ft^3 HDPE (lot of stringing if feeds and speeds are not managed) – Light, fast cuts work best. Not aluminum. The machine certainly could cut aluminum with the right tools and conservative feeds but it’s not designed for it. Software:

Clickmill – basic milling operations without using a CAD model. SRP Player – basic 3-axis and indexed 4-axis milling. Generates safe toolpaths at the expense of time and fine control. DeskProto – advanced CAM software with support for multiaxis milling. Can easily break tools if careless settings are used. Inventor (or Fusion 360) supports 3+1 axis milling. VPanel – main control software for the machine. Pausing during cutting:

Pressing the “View” button on the front of the machine will cause the tool to lift, stop, and will move the model forward. Wait until the movement is complete before opening the cover. From here you can clear chips during a job.

To resume close the cover and hold “View” until the part moves back to the cutting area.

Running a job:

The general steps are as follows:

Generate Gcode and post-process for the Roland MDX40A – General MDX40 postprocessors won’t work without care due to the rotary axis. Pay special attention to speeds and feeds — especially cutting depth. Do not use the full height of the tool without good reason (and milling time is not a good reason) We highly recommend some form of Gcode simulation. Load the correct tool and zero it. Load the material and set the X, Y, and Z origins using either the User Work Offset for DeskProto or the G54 offset for Inventor. Origin selection is CRITICAL. Double and triple check. Use VPlayer to send the code. The mill needs to be watched fairly actively while cutting. Especially during critical parts of cutting.

Save operations for different tools as different files. Be very mindful of how you have chaining setup. Despite what the mill says it MAY NOT PAUSE when it needs a new tool. It depends on your gcode.

Rotary milling:

For indexed milling it is critically important that you move the stock in Y BEFORE ROTATING. In DeskProto this is not done automatically and is done in the advanced settings for a particular operation. It needs to be done on EACH operation and affects how your chaining is set up. If you don’t the stock will just turn in place and will snap a tool.

For full rotary a cylindrical workpiece is assumed in DeskProto. If using square stock simply use the diagonal of the square as the diameter of a cylinder. Your roughing operation will have some air milling but that’s really not a problem.

Cleaning the machine:

Use the shop vac to remove dust from cutting after every job. Make sure to vacuum all areas, taking great care around the tool.

Cutting area and part. Chuck and tailstock. Tailstock rails. Y axis motion area. Excess dust around the spindle – mind the tool. Changing tools:

Wrenches are kept on the left side of the machine. Do not allow the tool to fall – use a towel to catch it if necessary.

The locating cycle for the Z axis needs to be performed after each change. Use the wizard in VPanel.

We have both 1/8″ and 1/4″ shank tools, be sure to use the correct one.

        • thank you makerspace.uic for in depth look at Roland CNC ****

    1. Nate's Experience getting set up

+ download and install driver from here: http://download.rolanddg.jp/en/upgrade/program/25D_WIN8X64_v120.zip + download vpanel (should connect to milling machine and you can move each axis) + use Fusion360 (or other) roland post processor

 - May have to make a minor modification to the post

Roland MDX-40 large.jpg


  • Maximum cuttable material
    • 123mm = 4.84in high
    • 305x305mm = 12x12in wide
    • 4kg = 8.8lb
  • Operating speed
    • XY-axis : 7 to 3000 mm/min. (0.28 to 118 in./m)
    • Z-axis : 7 to 1800 mm/min. (0.28 to 70.8 in./m)
    • 2 mm/min step for 7 to 60 mm/min(0.28 to 2.36 in./m)
    • 60 mm/min step for 60 to 3000 mm/min(2.36 to 118 in./m).
  • Software resolution
    • 0.01 mm/step (0.00039 in./step) (RML-1),
    • 0.001 mm/step (0.000039 in./step) (NC code)
  • Mechanical resolution
    • 0.002 mm/step (0.000078 in./step) (micro-step control)
  • Spindle rotation
    • 4,500 to 15,000 rpm
  • Control command sets
    • RML-1
    • NC code
  • Power consumption
    • Approx. 210 W
  • External dimensions
    • Width x depth x height : 669 x 760 x 554 mm (26.4 x 30 x 21.9 in.)
  • Weight
    • 65 kg



  • 3mm, ZC-23-3 $39.99 (we don’t have it)
  • ⅛" (3.175mm) ZC-23-3175 PNC-2300A $39.99
  • ~15/64" = 3.75/16" (6mm) ZC-23-6 $39.99
  • ¼" (6.35mm) ZC-23-635 $35.99

Mill bits

  • Roughing/Drafting & 2D cutting
    • Flat end mill GMHT14F5 $7.98 5 Flute, 1/4" Diameter, 3/4" LOC, 2-1/2" OAL
    • Flat end mill 1/8" (taken from another CNC)
  • Finishing / Detailing
    • Ball Nose End Mill 1/8" (taken from another CNC)


  • 10mm
  • 17mm

Hex allen keys

  • 2mm



  • Soft woods
  • (maybe?) hard woods
  • Resins


  • Aluminum
  • Steel