This paper describes magnetron reactive ion etching (RIE) characteristics of polycrystalline (poly) 3C-SiC thin films grown on thermally oxidized Si substrates by atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD). The best vertical structures were obtained by the addition of 40 % O2, 16 % Ar, and 44 % CHF3 reactive gas at 40 mTorr of chamber pressure. Stable etching was achieved at 70 W and the poly 3C-SiC was undamaged. These results show that in a magnetron RIE system, it is possible to etch SiC with lower power than that of the commercial RIE system. Therefore, poly 3C-SiC etched by magnetron RIE has the potential to be applied to micro/nano electro mechanical systems (M/NEMS).