The Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software is intuitive and easy to use. Simply import your design file, choose your tooling from the dropdown menu, and you’ll immediately see a preview of your design. With features like real-time milling feedback, SVG integration, and automated material probing routines, making aluminum parts is fast and easy.
Note: Our goal is for the Bantam Tools software to grow with our community and each month we will be releasing monthly updates. We will publish video walkthroughs and release notes on our blog and on our YouTube channel.
Every Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine comes with a powerful base package of our Bantam Tools software that is packed with all the features you need to get started. With the base package, you’ll have access to features such as SVG support, as well as material and plan placement probing routines.
We also offer a robust subscription package for the Bantam Tools software. As a software subscriber, you’ll have access to bonus features like advanced probing routines, PCB milling support, color-coded SVG handling, and more. You’ll also gain exclusive access to the new software features we’ll be releasing on a regular basis, priority tech support, and curated Bantam Tools projects. To see if the subscription package is right for you, take advantage of the free trial that comes with your Desktop CNC Milling Machine purchase.
The base version of the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software supports the following file formats:
- G-code (.gcode)
- TAP (.tap, another extension for G-code files)
- NC (.nc, Mastercam numerical control)
- SVG (.svg, scalable vector graphics)
- BTP and BTM (.btp and .btm, Bantam Tools project file types)
The subscription version of the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software supports the following file formats
- G-code (.gcode)
- TAP (.tap, another extension for G-code files)
- NC (.nc, Mastercam numerical control)
- SVG (.svg, scalable vector graphics)
- BRD (.brd, PCB file generated by Autodesk EAGLE)
- GTL (.gtl, Gerber top layer PCB file)
- GBR (.gbr, Gerber PCB file)
- CMP (.cmp, default format for exporting from EAGLE, contains top, pads, and vias layers)
- BTM (.btm, Bantam Tools project file)
The Bantam Tools software is designed to make setting up your job fast and easy. On the right-hand side of the screen is a visual preview of your job that the Bantam Tools software generates as you set up and configure your file.
The software is laid out using a tab structure on the left-hand side. The tabs are:
- Initial Setup
- Material Setup
- Plan Setup
- Summary Run Job
Each job will move through the tabs top to bottom with a primary focus on the Initial Setup, Material Setup, Plan Setup, and Summary Run Job tabs.
Let’s take a closer look at each tab to give you a better understanding of how to navigate and use the Bantam Tools software.
Upon launching the Bantam Tools software, you’ll be brought to the Home tab. This is where you’ll find featured Bantam Tools projects and community news, and you’ll be able to review the tab structure you’ll use when setting up your job.
Initial Setup Tab
Use this tab to import your design file(s), as well as select and install your tooling. By clicking the three dots in the upper, right-hand corner of the file’s dropdown menu, you can refresh or reload the file if you’ve updated it, hide/unhide your file from visualization, and/or remove the file altogether.
Once you’ve loaded your file, the Milling Tool dropdown will become visible. Select the tool(s) you’d like to use. Selecting your tools will generate a preview of the plan that you’re milling on the right side of your screen. If the tool is different than what is currently in the machine, you’ll be prompted to change the tool and locate it by doing an automated tool touch-off.
When working with G-code files, the tool you select in the dropdown should match the diameter of the tool you used in your CAM program, in order to ensure an accurate preview in the software. Speeds and feeds for this tool will be taken directly from the G-code file and not the internal tool library in the software. When selecting a tool for an SVG file, the CAM will be generated internally in the Bantam Tools software, and speeds and feeds will be taken directly from the internal Custom Tool Library.
Pro Tip: We recommend installing your 1/4” probing pin first to help probe the location of your stock and/or plan placement, and then installing the end mills your plan calls for later on in your job setup.
Note: Read the full Installing & Locating a Tool support guide for more details.
Material Setup Tab
This is the setup tab where you’ll enter the dimensions of your material, locate your stock, or locate the L-bracket using one of the automated probing routines.
First, enter your material size. Choose either a standard size or a custom size. To ensure accuracy, we recommend measuring your material using digital calipers. Many crashes happen because the material is a different size than what is entered.
Above: Choose from standard sizes for your material size.
Above: Alternatively you can measure your stock and manually enter the X, Y, and Z dimensions.
This dropdown menu indicates if either the L-bracket or the low-profile PCB bracket is installed. If you select “Relocate”, this process tells the machine to probe the installed bracket to ensure location. Meanwhile, if you select “Remove”, this tells the machine that you've removed a bracket. When working with the L-bracket and PCB bracket, you’ll need to install them in the front position.
Note: Locating the L-bracket is an optional step when working with nonconductive materials. Because you can probe conductive materials for accurate placement, and even manually zero out material and plan locations, the bracket is an optional approach. However, it’s not meant to be used in addition to the other probing routines.
Material Placement Dropdown Menu
In the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software, users set both the material placement and the plan placement. Doing so allows for an accurate preview of the job. You can set or adjust the material location manually by entering an offset from the front, left edge of the machine bed to the material placement numerical entry fields. However, the software is equipped with probing routines to automate this process.
Our Automatic Stock Location routine allows you to quickly and easily locate the position of your stock in the machine.
The routine will report back the X and Y location of the front left corner, as well as the height of your stock. Because this operation uses conductive probing, make sure your conductive stock is making direct contact with the T-slot bed or spoilboard.
If you’re working with nonconductive materials, you’ll want to use the L-Bracket Location (as mentioned in the note above) or Manual Stock Location probing routines to specify your material’s location on the T-slot bed.
You can also enter or adjust the material location manually in the text fields under Manual Placement. Note that the X and Y values are automatically updated when using one of the material probing routines. If you’re using fixturing such as double-sided tape, enter the thickness of the tape in the Z field under Manual Placement.
Note: For more information about using the various material location probing routines, see our Material & Plan Placement Probing Routines support guide.
Plan Setup Tab
Once you’ve set up and fixtured your stock, head to the Plan Setup tab. This is where you’ll set up the parameters for the material and toolpath, and ensure the toolpath is inside the material parameters.
Machine Work Offsets
In the Bantam Tools Software, users set both the position of the stock in the machine and the position of their file relative to the stock. With these two locations identified, the software is able to create an accurate preview of the job.
Let’s review how these positions relate to one another:
- The machine bed origin position is the front left corner of the bed.
- The material position is relative to this machine bed origin.
- The plan position is relative to the top left corner of the material.
Be sure to keep this in mind when you program your CAM.
Plan Placement Dropdown Menu
Now let’s dive into setting up your plan placement in the Bantam Tools software. Plan placement routines allow you to align your plan to a point other than the default location of the top left corner of your stock. In other words, if you’ve set your work offset for a plan other than the top, front, left corner, you’ll need to use one of our plan placement routines in addition to the material probing routine to properly align your plan.
The plan placement probing routines allow for precise alignment of a plan in relation to your material in the machine. Note that these routines won’t update the material location in the software preview. If your material has moved since you ran one of the material probing routines, we recommend running a material probing routine first.
Here’s a list of the plan placement probing routines:
- Single-Axis Plan Probing: Locate conductive material using single-axis probing.
- Manual Plan Location: Manually set plan on nonconductive material.
- Rectangular Outer Corner: Probe an outer corner of a rectangular feature.
- Boss Centerpoint: Locate the centerpoint of a protruding cylinder.
- Bore Centerpoint: Locate the centerpoint of a recessed cylinder.
Again, check out our Material & Plan Placement Probing Routines support guide for more detailed information about using these routines.
Tip: When configuring your toolpaths in a program like Fusion 360, it’s best to align your work coordinate system (WCS) for your first operation to the top, left stock box point. This will mimic the same location as the material probing routine, and your material and plan can be located and aligned in one step.
In addition to these plan placement probing routines, you also have the option to manually input X, Y, and Z offset values in the Plan Offset dropdown menu in your design file. Next to these values, you'll notice an "Apply to All" button.
If you're working with multiple files that you need to keep aligned you can quickly apply the same X, Y, and Z offsets you've specified forone file to all other files you've imported into the Bantam Tools software.
If you’re working with SVG files in the Bantam Tools software, you’ll also have two additional options in the Plan Placement tab when you load these kinds of files.
- Rotate: Change the value in this field to turn the SVG file to a different angle. The SVG file will rotate counterclockwise with respect to the center of the SVG.
- Scale: Change the value in this field to enlarge or shrink the SVG file relative to the material. If the file is larger than the material, the software will automatically shrink the SVG files to fit within the size of your material.
Note: To learn more about SVG workflows, see our Classic & Advanced SVG Workflows support guide.
Summary | Run Job Tab
This tab gives you a summary of all the information you’ve entered for the job you’re about to machine. Once you’ve reviewed your setup, click Mill Single File or Mill All. Milling Single File will tell the machine to mill the selected file. Mill All will tell the machine to mill all files you’ve imported into the software. If your files require different end mills and you’ve selected Mill All, the Bantam Tools software will pause and prompt you to swap out your tool(s).
The Settings tab is where you can customize your display units and tooling, check for software updates, and launch the Debug Console to send direct G-code commands to your CNC machine.
- Display Units: Select the units you prefer working in (inches or millimeters). If working in inches, you can input dimensions with up to 3 digits of precision. If working in millimeters, you can input dimensions with up to 2 digits of precision.
- Custom Tool Library: Use the Tool Library to customize the feeds and speeds for an existing tool in the Bantam Tools software, add a new tool, or remove a tool.
- Check for Updates: Checks for any updates to the Bantam Tools Desktop Software. If there is an update, you’ll be directed to download the newest version.
- Debug Console: Allows you to send G-code commands directly to the Desktop CNC Milling Machine. Should you run into an issue with the machine or software, you can also save a log from the console to share with our support team.
Last, but certainly not least, the Jog tab opens to the Jog menu allows you to move the machine bed and spindle to a desired location. You can also home the machine, return the spindle to its Origin position, and move the bed to the loading position by clicking the corresponding buttons.
There are two modes: Jog and Step. To move the spindle by incremental steps, toggle to Step mode and select the increment (0.100”, 0.01”, 0.001”) by clicking one of the radio buttons. If you want to drive the spindle around a larger distance, toggle to Jog mode, then click and hold one of the axis buttons. The machine will stop on release of the mouse.
One of the great things about the Bantam Tools software is that it has real-time visualization. This built-in feature updates your plan as go through each tab and set up your job for the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine. On the right-hand side of the software wizard, there are three tools that allow you to save the jobs you create, preview your plan with or without your toolpaths visualized, and toggle between a top, front or orthographic view.
- Save File: Saves your project locally in the Bantam Tools software as a .btp file that you can open later and/or share with other Bantam Tools users. Note: If you have a .btm file you wish to load, you can do so.
- Plan View: Choose how you’d like to view your plan in the Bantam Tools software: Preview and Toolpaths together, just Preview, or just Toolpaths.
- Stock View: Toggle your view of your stock in the Bantam Tools software. Choose from Front, Top, and 3D view.
We also have a number of hotkeys you can use in the Bantam Tools software. All hotkeys are enabled in the software, unless stated otherwise. One important thing to note is that on Mac OS X, all “Ctrl” (control) shortcuts shown here use the “Cmd” (command) key.
- Ctrl-U : Toggle Units (between inches and millimeters)
- Ctrl-G : Toggle Debug Console
- Ctrl-K : Clear Debug Console
- Ctrl-T : Launch Custom Tool Library
- Ctrl-1 : Camera Front View
- Ctrl-2 : Camera Top View
- Ctrl-3 : Camera Perspective View
- Ctrl-4 : Show Toolpaths and Result Preview
- Ctrl-5 : Show Result Preview Only
- Ctrl-6 : Show Toolpaths Only
- Ctrl-9 : Toggle Higher-Res Visualization