A CNC router or a CNC mill can carve complex shapes into various materials. In addition to the apparent applications of commercial prototyping, CNC mills can be crucial for precise woodworking projects in your garage or at-home workshop. Here are 12 functional and cute projects you can make using a CNC router.
CNC machining involves computer-aided design (CAD) programs to generate the cutting path for milling or routing. Making paperweights is one of the most fulfilling and amazing jobs for a CNC machine. These are usually from glass or other materials like aluminum or gold.
The process involves designing your paperweight using Easel CNC Software and importing that file into a laser engraver or CNC router. Then, you’ll need to cut away material using the CNC machine until you have a smooth surface on top where the weight will sit. Once you’re through, all you need is some sandpaper and sealant before adding an inscription to finish it!
2. Holiday Ornaments
These ornaments are the perfect project if you want to add holiday cheer to your home or office. All you need is a template, wood, paint, and glue! First, print out templates onto cardstock paper. Cut around the outside of the shape using scissors. Use a needle to poke holes where indicated on the design; this will help guide you as you cut it out with your CNC machine.
Trace your pattern’s edge onto wood using pencils, and then use your router to cut it out. Once you cut your ornament, use an adhesive such as hot glue to attach a string to the top of the decoration. Finally, use acrylic paint and a fine brush to decorate! It’s that easy!
3. A Wall Decoration
Making wall decorations is perfect for beginners because they are small, simple, and easy to work on. Even if you’ve never used a CNC router, the software guidelines will take you through every step. All you need is some scrap wood, acrylic paint (or paint of your choice), a black permanent marker or ink pen, sandpaper or steel wool, and contact paper.
Your CNC machine will design, cut, sand, and finish these pieces as needed, so all you have to do is assemble them! The project aims to create your unique sticker collage with different shapes, colors, and textures. Once complete, it can peel it off without any adhesive residue.
4. Chess Board with Pieces
Making a chessboard with pieces is an easy project with a CNC router. The CNC router will cut pieces from maple or poplar then you glue them all together. To make holes, place the piece on the router bed and make an engraving. And don’t forget to put felt on the bottom side of the board so it won’t scratch the table. With suitable CNC software for the task, you can create your designs quickly and prototype them before committing them to hardwoods. The templates can help you mass-produce the chess pieces with precision cuts.
5. Toy Cars
Toy cars are one of the most popular items to make on your CNC router. You can create many different versions with just a few pieces of wood. Choose from the RC car, hot rod, police car, or other vehicle design. Then cut out the shapes for wheels, axles, and body pieces with your CNC router. Drill holes into the wheel sections for axle placement.
The result will be a functional toy. However, ensure the toy size is age appropriate because it may pose a choking hazard for young kids under three years old. Cutting too small of an opening can cause the toy to break off in the child’s throat if they swallow it.
6. Custom Coasters
CNC machining your coasters can also be an effective way to promote your company or brand. If you create the right design, you could have people walking around with your logo on their coffee tables. A simple way to make custom coasters is by using pre-made templates and tracing the design onto the coaster material of your choice.
Then mill the shape into the wood using a CNC router until it’s cut out. Afterward, sand it down for a smooth finish, paint it if desired, and voila! You’ve got your own customized set of drink coasters for home use or as favors for guests at your next event. The possibilities are endless!
7. Wine Rack
That is a project for wine lovers who want to display their wine collection interestingly. Using a CNC router and design application, you can make your personalized wine rack with the desired shape and size. Cutting the shape from wood will take some time, but if you have the patience and skill to use a CNC machine, it will be worth it!
Reliable CNC software will help you to bring the 3D design of your wine rack into the real world. Depending on your skill level, this project could take anywhere from hours to days to complete. If you’re not too confident about completing this project alone, hiring someone with experience using a CNC router would be more practical.
8. Dog Bowl Stand
The dog bowl stand is functional, cute, and fun to build using a CNC machine. After setting the size, shape, and depth of the holes for the bowls, this project takes about five minutes to carve out MDF using your CNC router. After cutting and joining pieces, it’s just a matter of sanding and painting to finish it off. It’s an easy DIY project that makes mealtime easier for both pet and owner!
9. Wooden Letters
Wooden letters are a unique and functional project you can make with a CNC router. Whether you’re looking to send them to a friend or loved ones, hang them on your wall, or make a sign for your shop, these would be perfect! Create the design using CAD software and transfer it to the machine using CAM software. Then engrave the lettering into wood using G-code programming and sand to smooth the edges. Now they’re ready to go! You could also use different materials like metal, paper, or plastic to make other custom signs and designs.
10. DIY Jewelry Holder
If you love to wear jewelry, this is the project for you! It’s a perfect project you can make with a CNC router. The CNC machine, with the control of reliable CNC software, will help create a customized jewelry holder with compartments that are great for storing your necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and other small items in an organized fashion. All you need to make this project are some plywood or MDF board, some screws, nuts to connect the pieces of wood, paint if desired, and a few hinges.
11. Pencil Holder Organizers
If you are looking for a cute project to make with your newly acquired CNC router, then this is another perfect one. The machining process involves converting your 2D drawings into 3D milling patterns. Then a computer controls the CNC machine as it mills out one layer at a time from materials such as wood, plastics, rubber, etc. With CAD CAM software, users can quickly and accurately control cutting speeds, feeds, and depths. These pencil holders are very functional in keeping your desk from looking cluttered. You can also use any material, which means you have many options to choose from.
12. Magnetic Storage Boxes
If you want a project that will give you a lot of use from your new CNC router, this is the project for you. The CNC machine will cut out all the pieces from one sheet of plywood after designing it on your computer. The best part? You can create it with any shape or pattern you want! You can assemble them to form a durable storage box with magnetic closure. Then get some magnets and mount them on both sides of the box. These boxes are perfect for storing screws, nuts, washers, and other small items around the house or in the garage.
A modern consumer wants something that is both functional and cute, no matter the size. A CNC router will help you create a wide range of items with speed and precision, all with a customized design to suit your needs. However, good CNC software will give you more control over how your project comes out, and there are many options for what kind of material you can use for your designs.