1414 & 1424 W. Winton Avenue, Hayward, CA 94545

510-783-3156 | service@nealscnc.com

Request an Estimate

Got a project you'd like to have CNC cut?  Request an estimate from us via email.  If you have any drawings, even a sketch, send that along.  We are happy to work from your CAD drawing, or we can draw it for you from your sketches or descriptions.  If you aren't sure, give us a call for specific advice on your project.  See our blog post for an overview of how CNC cutting works.

Submission Guidelines

Send us an email at service@nealscnc.com, giving as much as possible of the following information:

  • drawing of your parts - see below for a discussion of file formats
  • one or two dimensions so we can verify the drawing scale
  • material type and thickness, such as 1/8" aluminum, or 3/4" Baltic birch plywood
  • quantity of parts needed - if you have many distinct parts, consider using part numbers and noting the quantity of each
  • brief description of the project, if needed for context
  • the timeframe you're working in - especially if you have a hard deadline

File Formats

For a successful cut, we need a vector drawing in AutoCAD file format, DWG or DXF, with all curves drawn as polylines rather than splines. But don't worry, if you can't produce that, or aren't sure what it all means, we have a lot of tricks available to convert your drawing to this format. 

We do definitely need a vector drawing, from a program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, rather than a raster image such as a JPG or PNG. (A really good explanation of raster vs vector can be found here.) We'll be able to convert almost any vector format you have, such as AI, EPS, or SVG. PDF files can have both vector and raster images in them, so some will work and some won't. Due to limitations of the CNC machine code, please be sure that any curves are polyline curves, created from arc segments, rather than spline or Bezier curves. We may be able to convert splines, but we cannot guarantee the same level of accuracy on drawings we convert.

2d partial depth cuts

For parts with blind holes, pockets, dadoes, or other features that don't go all the way through the material, indicate the depth to cut to using layers, color coding, or text and arrows. For your reference, we've created a few sample files that are ideal for us.  Here's a download link for a DXF with cut information in the layers, and one for a PDF with color coding.

If you aren't sure your file is scaled to the correct size of your part, include dimension information so we can verify the size. A labeled line or square in the same scale as your parts is sufficient for dimensioning.

If you're working in Rhino, we wrote a blog post on how to export DXFs in the best format for CNC cutting.

If you only have a raster image of cut shapes, we may be able to convert it if the image is clean and high contrast.  Send it along and we'll let you know if it's suitable.  In this case, we will definitely need to do hand work to tidy it up. Even the clearest raster images will require some love after conversion.

3d models

If you're working with a 3D model, we can accept certain 3D file types as well. But if what you need cut is flat, most 3D programs will allow you to export a drawing on an arbitrary plane. AutoCAD's DXF format is very commonly used for this kind of export and it's ideal for us.

We can accept 3d files in STEP, IGES, and OBJ formats, as well as 3DM files up to version 5 (if you are working in the latest version of Rhino, please backsave, or just save as STEP).  If your work is a construction made up of flat parts, we ask that you do the 2d export for each part prior to sending the drawings.  Our cut simulator, with which we produce estimates, requires the flat parts. 

Unfortunately we cannot open Solidworks files; please export your Solidworks models to one of the above interchange formats.

STLs and other mesh surface file types are not well suited to export of 2d cutting information. Sketchup and most 3d sculpting software such as Zbrush or Meshmixer are in this category and we sadly can't accept them for 2d cuts.

3d cuts

For 3D contour cuts such as friezes, medallions, and other sculptural projects, we can accept the above types plus STL, in some limited cases.  Please call us to discuss the specifics of your job. Note that finished pieces thicker than about 3" will likely need to be cut in multiple parts and assembled after cutting.

Still unsure?

If you don't yet have a clear idea of how to inquire, or all you have is a photograph, send that anyway. We will at least get a sense of what you need and be able to ask intelligent questions. Our draftsperson can work with you to create the CAD drawings needed for your project.


Contact Us


Our office

Neal’s CNC

1414 & 1424 W. Winton Avenue
Hayward, CA 94545



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