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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Everything is evolving at a faster and faster pace and woodworking is no exception. I think we are at a place similar to when the skilsaw was widely adapted by framing carpenters in the early 1950s. It changed the way they worked and allowed them to build houses in record time.

After finishing my latest cnc project I was thinking about how cnc forces me to change the way I approach projects yet allows me to better fulfill my creative visions. Obviously with cnc I can do more precise and consistent cuts than by hand with the added ability of creating multi-level objects easily. Plus, the actual production of a complex project is relatively quick process.

The real change is on the front end. In the past most of my projects were sort of seat-of-the-pants as I figured things out on the fly and made changes as needed or improvised to create what I wanted. I seldom worked from plans.

The cnc changes that. Now everything has to be completely pre-planned down to the selection and movement of every tool. If you are someone who has always worked from detailed plans this may not be much of a change, but for me it means I can no longer work from just my usual quick sketches.

The design and tooling phase of this sign project took far, far longer than the actual production. Cutting time was around 2 hours as opposed to several days working up the design elements and defining the tool paths. Then again, I was actually working up the concept as I created the design elements in V-Carve which may have added to the pre-production time.

So, although I have to change the way I work, the trade-off is well worth it. I can now produce things I never could in the past and I can let my imagination have greater flight. This dimensional sign is a perfect example. It was made out of 1” HDU (15# Precision Board) and is roughly 17” x 20”.
 

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It is a beautiful sign Oliver and I think very illustrative of the detail required to produce something like this. I am curious however. With your apparent fondness for the cnc, do you think you will ever "go back" to the way you used to produce your gems by the seat of your pants?
 

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@Gaffboat This is a perfect illustration of what was discussed in a recent discussion about marketing a successful CNC business. The workmanship and the finishing (color in particular) justify spending a couple hundred bucks for this sign. This is a lesson on what constitutes great commercial work. I love it.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is a beautiful sign Oliver and I think very illustrative of the detail required to produce something like this. I am curious however. With your apparent fondness for the cnc, do you think you will ever "go back" to the way you used to produce your gems by the seat of your pants?
The short answer is Yes I will go back to the way I used to work for many things ... mostly. The cnc is just another tool that works very well for some operations but won't replace my other tools. For example, the gears I have made in the past with the scroll saw will now be done on the cnc because it is more accurate and easier, even when the rest of the project design stays flexible. And, the scroll saw still gives me the ability to work with very small pieces safely and the bandsaw is still my go to tool for ripping and trimming small pieces of thin stock.

The cnc is like when I first purchased a Nikon camera with a close up lens. Suddenly I could take nature photos that I had always visualized but could never achieve with my old fixed lens camera. The cnc gives me the ability to expand my creativity and is another tool in my arsenal.
 

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Ross
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Fantastic sign Oliver.
 

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Wow ... Great job @Gaffboat

I'm starting CNC .. I would like to know where to take a basic course .. I know almost nothing about how my CNC router works .. in fact I have not been able to do my first job yet .. I have a problem, I do not know how to give it Depth or levels to my designs ..
The machine has not worked well yet
Someone who can suggest me something? / Please
 

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Wow ... Great job @Gaffboat

I'm starting CNC .. I would like to know where to take a basic course .. I know almost nothing about how my CNC router works .. in fact I have not been able to do my first job yet .. I have a problem, I do not know how to give it Depth or levels to my designs ..
The machine has not worked well yet
Someone who can suggest me something? / Please
Welcome aboard.

Search YouTube for your machine and tutorials for what ever design software you use. You should get a lot of hits. Hint: It doesn't happen overnight.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Wow ... Great job @Gaffboat

I'm starting CNC .. I would like to know where to take a basic course .. I know almost nothing about how my CNC router works .. in fact I have not been able to do my first job yet .. I have a problem, I do not know how to give it Depth or levels to my designs ..
The machine has not worked well yet
Someone who can suggest me something? / Please
If you are not using Vectric Software check it out. You can download trial versions of their various packages for free and experiment with using all the tools. I used Vectric's V Carve Desktop for this project. They have a lot of easy-to-follow videos on how to set up and create different projects.
 

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Great sign Oliver & I also liked the way you described returning to the "old"method of woodworking when comparing it to your photography.Jamesjj777746
 

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Paul
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Excellent sign, Oliver. I guess it's the shading in the paint that makes the croc look even more 3D... nice.
 

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Mike
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Wow ... Great job @Gaffboat

I'm starting CNC .. I would like to know where to take a basic course .. I know almost nothing about how my CNC router works .. in fact I have not been able to do my first job yet .. I have a problem, I do not know how to give it Depth or levels to my designs ..
The machine has not worked well yet
Someone who can suggest me something? / Please
Check with local woodworking stores to see if there is a CNC user group in your area you could contact or if they know of anyone that has a CNC and might be able to help you get started. Here around Dallas we have a couple of CNC user groups and there are people like me that actually do hands on start up instruction for new CNC owners and one on one software instruction.

Oliver I did not intend to hijack your post. Great sign! The CNC has just added to your talents.
 

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Oliver: Given yur innovative mind and ability to think in 3 dimensions I can only imagine the works that you can turnout with a CNC. I for one defintiely look forward to your posts whether they be from the CNC or your classic time honored approach.
 
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