CNC – small projects with my computer aided router

Engraved wedding sign – perfect as a unique gift or a beautiful keepsake for your own wedding.

As my business has picked up I started looking into CNC routers (computer numerical control) to aid in some of the finer engraving and intricate cuts.  After a lot of deliberation (read discussions with my wife) I went with the Shapeoko XXL kit coupled with Carbide Create and Carbide Control software.  At ~$1800 with a 33″x33″ cutting area it had the most bang for your buck; anything larger would have jacked the price up by several thousand.

Not my machine…also not pictured, lots of sawdust.

Set-up was a breeze…just kidding.  It took a bit of trial and error to set everything up CORRECTLY and finally get it running.  Learning the software was a little easier and I was able to use it on a batch of engraved swimming awards for the Perk Valley HS men’s team.  My old HS coach had just finished the season as men’s runner up at the PIAA District 1 AA districts; quite the culmination after building up his team over several years.

Batch of 14 Engraved Awards

I’ve been working on a lot of different types of projects with the CNC and really getting the feel for what this machine is capable of.  After my friend’s cat passed away I created a design for a wooden urn for his pet’s remains.  The CNC was able to cut the entire box from one piece of hardwood.  I designed a second program to engrave the name ‘Dude’ and a cat outline into the lid.  Dude was quite a cat and I know this will be a treasured way to honor him.


Sadly, a family friend had to put down his sweet dog Max after over 12 years together.  This dog had been with them through all their ups and downs and was a wonderful buddy.  I utilized a piece of oak that they had given to me for another project and designed a name sign for Max, the collie.  He spent a lot of this past winter happily laying outside (all that fur is a good insulator) and hopefully this name plaque will mark his spot outdoors.


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