Having successfully created a clock out of a sheet of perspex, I thought I’d have a go at creating a sign that I could stick on my desk at work. I managed to find some recycled pieces of white melamine MDF and thought it would be an ideal canvas for making a sign.
Using the VCarve software, I created the view I wanted and sent the instructions to my Workbee. Pleasingly the results were excellent and the final sign looked very professional. I then knocked out further signs for my colleagues at work so they didn’t feel left out. When I handed them out, they loved them. I neglected to mention that the wood was recovered from my old shoe rack I salvaged 🙂
As well as the signs for work, I also designed a Virgin Media sign using another piece of Stephen’s worktop (those off-cuts are definitely a gift that keeps on giving for sure!). It now has pride of place beneath my work screen and has received many positive comments.
Next, was a more ambitious project which really did show the power of a CNC machine. Using an off-cut of sapele hardwood and another slab of the oak worktop, I created a crib board that I will be giving to my dad for his birthday next week. The template for this was created by the people at Vectric but I had to adapt the settings in order for it to be produced on my machine. I firstly cut the lid and VCarved his name, but when I came to turning the piece over to cut the reverse I misaligned the timber and when the machine cut out the circle it was not perfect. As it was going to be a gift I started again and the next attempt was much better. I then started the main board. Preparing the slab of worktop took some time as I had to make sure it was absolutely flat to so that it carved correctly. Fortunately, the many machines I’d gathered over the past year made this task fairly easy and I soon had it sized and screwed down on the machine bed. I kicked off the instructions from my laptop and watched in amazement as the crib board slowly started to take shape. It is fascinating to watch the CNC follow the tool-path exactly as instructed and I was in awe when it started to drill the 245 holes, all in the correct place and spaced out exactly as it was shown in the software.
Having had some success with making wooden and acrylic clocks, it was inevitable that I would get a request to make a bespoke one. So when my brother visited a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned he wanted a clock for his ‘shoffice’ with a picture of a fish on it. A quick Google and I soon found an ideal jpg to use and was designing his new timepiece in next to no time at all. Thirty minutes later and he was holding his new pine clock.
He was so impressed he suggested that the clocks would be very popular with his fishing mates and easy to sell online too. I wasn’t so sure until Alan sent me a picture a few days later of the clock that he’d painted and now has pride of place in his home office. He said he’d easily sell more of the same so I got to work making a few more, with different fish designs. I’ll share the results in a later post, once they are fully cut and painted.
I also had a request from our neighbour Nick, who informed me he’d just got engaged to his long time girlfriend and suggested I make him a sign to commemorate the union.
Again, I got to work on the design and soon cut a version of the sign out of MDF. Unfortunately the design was a bit intricate and some of the smaller bits broke as I tried to sand it down. Version 2 and I tried using a piece of sapele but this time the text didn’t carve correctly. Version 3 was better as I used a larger piece of MDF, but I was not pleased with the outcome. I tried painting it but that didn’t improve it either so I’m not going back to hardwood and attempting to make it in oak. Watch this space to see how I get on.
Last week I got a text from Matt’s girlfriend Chloe saying that her mum’s boyfriend’s daughter had just had a baby boy and could I make him a sign to celebrate the birth. I soon found a teddy bear picture to use as a template and knocked up a plaque with his name, date of birth and birth weight. I have just had a text from Chloe saying they loved it. Phew.
So my exploration into CNC machining is turning out to be very fulfilling and even my family are pleased with the results so far.