CNC - Computer Numerical Control - is a manufacturing process that employs computerised controls and machine tools. It follows a coded programme instruction and functions without a manual operator there to control the machine. CNC routers are responsible for huge shifts in the way that we sculpt, design jewellery and make signs, for example, whether in wood, plastic or stone. It’s a fascinating and cutting edge way to create and one that is responsible for some incredibly cool projects. These are our favourite 5 CNC projects at Scott Fleary.
- Keep your head above water with a paddle board. CNC routers can be used to create beautiful and practical things, including a paddleboard. From a single sheet of marine-grade 1/4 plywood you can create a stunning paddleboard on a Maslow 4’ x 8’ CNC router, planked with cedar. To make sure that the paddleboard is completely waterproof it is finished with epoxy. Many happy days out on the water can follow on from this super cool project.
- Keep moving forward with a kinetic structure. Moving artwork not only looks unique but also provides a focal point of any space and can be created with a CNC router. A 20” wide design can be brought to life with just a hobby level router and will look fascinating on the wall, providing several hours of movement on a single winding. Wood isn’t the ideal material to use for a project like this, as it’s not great for accurate meshing. The kinetic structure is a project for focusing more on aesthetics than engineering.
- Lose track of time making a skeleton clock. This type of clock is a timepiece with a difference, delivering not just a reliable clock face but also fascinatingly intricate design. Wood is a great material with which to create a CNC router cut clock - such as cherry, walnut, birchwood and plywood - and can be combined for appealing aesthetic impact with a metal such as brass. Keeping track of time has never been so sexy...
- A simple wooden puzzle. CNC projects often tempt people to create weird and wondeful designs but some of the most effective are really straightforward. A simple wooden puzzle in the design of an elephant can be a great toy or decoration for a childs room. It’s easy to adapt a puzzle design that was created for a scroll saw for a small CNC router, using a .25-inch bit for the outside and a .125-inch bit to separate the pieces. A puzzle can be created to stand up on its own using wood, such as pine, that is at least an inch thick - or use a thinner wood for a flat puzzle.
- Go Hawaiian with a Ukulele. Stringed musical instruments are a great project for CNC routers because they enable a level of control and accuracy that is hard to beat, even when instruments are handmade. As if CNC routers weren’t amazing another they can bring us music, a ukulele can be created with a CNC router, including all the curves, joints and inlays.
These are just some of the coolest creative construction CNC router projects around right now.