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.
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.
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.