All Replies on Amazing CNC work of art.

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Amazing CNC work of art.

by EPJartisan
posted 03-22-2013 11:48 PM

30 replies so far

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2365 days

#1 posted 03-23-2013 12:02 AM

CNC is only a tool. A guy has to design, program etc. No different than using a chisel.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2858 days

#2 posted 03-23-2013 12:09 AM

Art is all about the journey, not the destination! I completely agree with you Eric. BTW the picture looks totally scrambled.

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2386 days

#3 posted 03-23-2013 12:24 AM

Is the mind and hand directing the mouse any less creative than that which wields the chisel? Do hours in the darkroom replaced by minutes at the keyboard diminish the image? Aside from the random (questionably possible) genesis, doesn’t all begin in the mind?

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Druid's profile


1768 posts in 2821 days

#4 posted 03-23-2013 05:21 AM

Hi Eric,
I must agree with you that while CNC can produce “intricately carved” products, it can NOT produce anything that can be considered to be “hand crafted”. Someone near where I live has 2 CNC’s that will handle up to 4’ x 8’ sheets of raw material, and he produces some interesting pieces. BUT . . . hand him a set of carving tools and a block of basswood, and you wouldn’t get anything worth keeping.
Hand crafted means exactly that. The person making the item has honed their skills and used them to creatively produce their item by hand. This is vastly different from someone using a computer to select a group of algorithms which in turn control a machine to make as many identical items as they want.
While CNC is very interesting, and has it’s place in the production of certain products, there is no way that any CNC product can realistically be considered to be “hand crafted”.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18288 posts in 3701 days

#5 posted 03-23-2013 05:24 AM

I think the point is it is not hand made. Just as embossed leather is not hand tooled. It is made by a machine that is that has a die in it. It took great talent to make the die, but that does not make the leather hand tooled. Once the die is made or the program written, mass production easily out paces hand tooled or hand carved. There will always be a diffidence between hand work and identical mass produced specimens. I’m not saying either is necessarily superior, just that there is a vast difference, especially when it comes to volume production.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3184 days

#6 posted 03-23-2013 05:27 AM

Sigh. Once again, a journey without risk isn’t much of a journey. The ability to repeatedly edit and construct your creation without penalty, before pressing the “execute” button, isn’t art, in my opinion. The fascinating aspect to handcarving, for me, is the ability to make a stroke, without mistake, and correct mistakes that might be made. That’s not something CNC programmers have to experience.

-- jay,

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3184 days

#7 posted 03-23-2013 05:37 AM

Amen, James. The hand to eye coordination, the actual carving skill by hand, is what makes hand-carving amazing to me. That’s something I couldn’t do. CNC carving…I could do.

-- jay,

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2274 days

#8 posted 03-23-2013 06:12 AM

I have a CNC and would never represent what I produce with it as hand made. Nor would I expect that someone that uses a dove tail jig with a router to make the claim that it’s hand crafted. Where do you draw the line in this debate? The guy that has only hand tools with no electricity in his shop or the guy that has the most tricked out shop. I really don’t care. We that spend our time making things and sawdust do it for the enjoyment and that’s why we are here.

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2706 days

#9 posted 03-23-2013 06:59 AM

I would agree with your concern about the etymology . It would best be described by me as” intricately designed ”’and carved ,as opposed to ” intricately carved ” if not inferring that it was carved personally by the designer ,or inferring absurdly that there were varying skills that a CNC could accomplish autonomously : ‘simple’ as opposed to ‘Intricate’ , implying degrees of skill where none exist . . If others promote it falsely as ’ hand carved ’ , that would seem blameworthy ….........the process and the object is not ; they are outside of “moral ” considerations , since we are talking about
a piece of furniture , and not Art with ’ intent ’ .

View Porchfish's profile


824 posts in 2558 days

#10 posted 03-23-2013 11:46 AM

Hello moment, grateful for the erudite insight, and madts , I could not agree with you less ! Druid, I could not agree with you more ! And E.P. , you didn’t go far enough down the “scale” in your assessment ! thanks for the post !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2386 days

#11 posted 03-23-2013 12:25 PM

There’s an awful lot of shlock paraded as handcrafted that ain’t worth enough BLO to set it on fire. Whether the thing is hacked out with a stone axe or a CNC rig, it’s the mind that created the design that distinguishes the work.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View oldnovice's profile


6898 posts in 3393 days

#12 posted 03-23-2013 01:21 PM

I have to agree with Clint, it came out of the mindand the CNC was just another tool!

Without the mind, a tool is worthless and tools spring to life when the mind thinks about their use!

Based on the consensus on this forum I can never produce any art because I cannot cut/carve/plane/chisel by hand because of RA, rheumatic arthritis, and I my only recourse is power tools.

Cross cutting a 2”x4” is next to impossible, trueing an edge with a good sharp hand plane …forget that too, use a router for more than a few minutes … painful therefore I object to those who say I cannot produce art and there are probably other in the same situation.

Saying that some one cannot produce art by whatever means is narrow minded!

Eric, you must a grudge against CNC tools because all these anti CNC forums are either started by you or you are very opinionated in those forums. A CNC is just another tool!

Comicsniper, there is much more planning involved in a CNC project than just throwing a slab of wood on the tool and pushing start! A different perspective, appreciation for wood characteristics, and skills set is required for using a CNC machine than those when using hand tools!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3151 days

#13 posted 03-23-2013 06:04 PM

I feel sorry for your arthritis, oldnovice, but don’t be getting nasty here, this is a discussion not a personal attack, so don’t personally attack here.

This argument has been going on long before LumberJocks was imagined. Art is a culture to itself, and just because you do not like this argument does not mean you get to attack anyone personally. “What is art” has been going on since before you were born and will continue long after we have all perished. So please.. personally you need to get over it.

My intense point is the obfuscation of art from craft… the line that MUST be drawn else we plunge into the psychopathic interpretation that nothing has meaning…. I AM NOT a post modernist and I do believe that art is open to interpretation.. as a legitimate Profession.. art and the art world has been defined long ago and will NOT be altered by anyone on this site, just because “you want to make art too…” and so “I will call what ever I want art”... I’m so sorry… BUT NO!

My beef with this has never wavered.. it is the selling of CNC crap for hand made prices… it is the promotion that CNC is as good as … or is marketed as handcraft. and it is the idea that CNC is as good as art made my hand.. IT IS NOT! READ AGAIN.. above I stated that the piece is art.. and in other posts that CNC is valid tool, one which you only assume I have a grudge against …. just bugs me it is being touted as handcrafted!!!

Using a tool does not instantly make what you made art… using your mind to come up with an idea does not make it art. It is the blend of the two.. the mind sees.. the hand creates.. and it is the pushing of limits to make something that was not here before…. THAT is art.. the rest is craft.. computer skill, and imagination.. BUT NOT mind to hand.. not handcrafted.. it is NOT art unless it pushes the boundaries of craft. The piece above is art!

BUT NO the mind alone does not create the art… and oldnovice.. if I want to post 100 times about this topic.. I will, but I have only posted 2 .. this post and 1 project I HANDMADE.. but admit I do not think is art…and the rest you need to look around yourself.. so go bite someone else with your misunderstandings and misgivings, you are very opinionated yourself.. MR Pot… and who isn’t on this site.. good lord! LOL

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2386 days

#14 posted 03-23-2013 09:21 PM

EPJ, your comments are silly.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4843 posts in 2434 days

#15 posted 03-23-2013 09:35 PM

Having read this post I need a drink, and a good cigar. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View lumberdog's profile


245 posts in 3293 days

#16 posted 03-23-2013 09:59 PM

Carving is done with the hand, heart and mind, carving with cnc is done with the mind only so what is the purpose ?

-- Lumberdog.. Morley, Michigan

View Jeff's profile


439 posts in 3220 days

#17 posted 03-23-2013 10:15 PM

I think, like most things, it’s in the eye of the beholder. It’s the buyers responsibility to understand what it is and the seller’s to honestly inform them. Most of what I make is done with power tools. Does that make it any less artistic than someone who might use only hand tools?

View ChuckV's profile


3124 posts in 3552 days

#18 posted 03-23-2013 11:04 PM

Cast your mind back to 1859 and Charles Baudelaire, On Photography:
…it is nonetheless obvious that this industry, by invading the territories of art, has become art’s most mor­tal enemy…

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2706 days

#19 posted 03-23-2013 11:53 PM

The more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes.. Only the brute is good at coupling, and copulation is the lyricism of the masses. To copulate is to enter into another–and the artist never emerges from himself.” ~ Baudelaire

I am giving up on the Arts , I have seen the light !! ~ Moment

View oldnovice's profile


6898 posts in 3393 days

#20 posted 03-24-2013 06:32 AM

Eric, my previous post was not intended as a personal attack, perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully.

My youngest son, who is a certifies CNC machinist, does as it is his profession keeps touting the benefits of a CNC to aid in my hobby, but most of the time I muddle along until I cannot continue.

I see that your “beef” is touting CNC work as hand made and that is a legitimate objection with which I wholeheartedly concur.

But art,and beauty, are in the eye of the beholder and if the beholder doesn’t care whether it was hand made or CNC generated how can we argue with that?

Your numerous posts about this topic are understandable and perhaps I was being a little too defensive because CNC is close to home.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3151 days

#21 posted 03-24-2013 07:47 PM

well played Clint.. LOL
I apologize oldnovice. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2829 days

#22 posted 03-24-2013 08:47 PM


-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4195 days

#23 posted 03-24-2013 09:14 PM

I think we aught to give this a rest. If you enjoy using CNC machines – use them. If not, don’t. Just my opinion.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View oldnovice's profile


6898 posts in 3393 days

#24 posted 03-25-2013 02:47 AM

Eric, no apology required as we are allowed to our own opinions … at least until the government say no!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3151 days

#25 posted 03-25-2013 05:55 PM

ChuckV ~ that was an amazing article. thank you so much and gives great food for thought. Reminds me of what one professor of mine in college said: that [all artists have great responsibility in the education of the “great unwashed” masses, and our impact should not be taken for granted, nor abused.].

Moment ~ that is why so many artists go crazy or no longer fit within societal norms. I hate to say it, but I am headed that way myself.. I need a real social outlet, besides digital friendships. Besides… since you posted that quote.. it is way too late for you to give up now.

Okay.. some more silly comments.

I am very biased.. when I cut wood with my hands I feel part of this world. That is my issue I guess, I want to feel like i have connection.. I want my work to have meaning and represent myself… my thoughts, my skills, my education. My goal in woodworking is to make something I see in my mind and i will use CNC, routers, hand tools, and assistants to get there… but my greatest pleasure will always be hand carving a stick and making a person cry with happiness, knowing that I shaped that wood.. I reground and sharpened my tools, my energy, sweat, knowledge and most of the time… blood, into my work. It is my joy… I only want to make sure that all of this has some value… so I can follow my bliss and live a good life, providing for myself. I have run several marathons, sacrifices and pain to get to this amazing place I am today. so yeah I guess I have a little beef against CNC… it make me scared me that i have to work harder to always surpass the perfection of non-human production. Has anyone seen the progress in 3D printing… get ready for a world wide shake up of manufacturing… printing guns, houses, boats, furniture…. CNC… is nothing compared to what is coming next.

So, just as photography changed the purpose of painting.. CNC computers will change the purpose of my woodworking and sculptures. I am no luddite… I shall embrace and endure and still love my profession. Already woodwork has led me to painting and sculpting… which has lead me to modern casting methodologies and chemistry. “The inability to change is death” I shall now digress from the CNC vs Art issue. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View oldnovice's profile


6898 posts in 3393 days

#26 posted 03-25-2013 07:50 PM

Eric, I think we are approaching the same wavelength with the changes in the wind.

At the last Maker Fare I attended there were an outrageous number of 3D printers using different technologies/media and just a month or so ago a new material has been made available consisting mainly of wood that takes stain/dye just like solid wood. With 3D printers objects can now be created that cannot be machined as a single piece. With available technology an item can be scanned and replicated with amazing ease and precision.

And more recently, a 3D pen that allows freehand 3D art work/objects in the space above your workbench/desk/drafting board/etc.!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2706 days

#27 posted 03-25-2013 10:28 PM

@ Eric

I was just making fun of Baudelaire’s comment : ) . I have spoken with quite a few artists in

my lifetime and all share different views on the meaning of art . One thing we all have in common is compulsion to create , and that is hard to step away from ( and who wants to ? ) I feel that we are way past Post-Modernism . I would best describe the current phase as
Pseudo-Modernism . Post modernism deals with such things as’ disappearance’ or ‘substitution’ of the
the ‘self’ etc.. I never agreed with it’s aspect of spoofing all metaphysical points . Yet , it is
hard to escape It’s tenant about substituting the ‘Virtual ’ for the ’ Real ’ , isn’t it ? We are inside of it now . I would say that the www is an art form unto itself . We are all on a journey though the it’s labyrinth, searching for our identity , searching for our ’ cultural products ” in a medium that has
never occurred before . It’s wonderful . Yet for some there is a real disconnect with this virtual, false ( pseudo ) aspect to it .
I don’t presume to understand why folks spend countless hours and billions of dollars playing virtual
games that only benefit their creators and suppliers . ....and many other things about virtuosity . Everyone speaks of how much they have learned along the way, yet I am very
aware of the things I must unlearn as time passes ,to be happy . I have come to a great appreciation of the beauty of decline , impermanence , and imperfection . As I ponder my own mortality , it’s comforting . My dad was always imparting his country ‘wisdom ’ to me . He was apt to say ” Son ,
believe none of what you hear and half of what you see ” . Although he was speaking of
‘gossip ’ , I wonder what he would think of all this ? Well , I have droned on long enough .
I am going to take off my shoes ,climb a tree ,and learn how to play the flute . Happiness
to All ,and to you Eric, when and where you find it .

View DS's profile


2926 posts in 2446 days

#28 posted 04-05-2013 10:19 PM

I was pondering this “CNC/ART” issue the other day and wondered if the arguments for/against would hold up in an extreme case.

Let’s say, for example, that technology continues to progress to something like the replicators on Start Trek. A simple voice command, and the item you want is produced effortlessly in a matter of moments.

Even in this extreme example, which a CNC router is light-years apart from, someone, somewhere had to prototype the object being replicated. Natural objects would obe easy, I suppose. Same goes for a glass of Earl Grey tea. But, what of an extremely intricate and complex object?

The “art”, as it were, would be in the creation of the idea, or the prototype. The cost to replicate such things would be reduced to the raw atoms and/or energy needed for the object itself, with some stipend for a share of the development of the program, or prototype and to offset the overhead cost of the machine doing the replication.

If this were the case, wouldn’t you develop the object without cutting corners? Wouldn’t you spare no expense to create and develop the perfect item? One might even spend years to develop the perfect program which could then be readily replicated in moments at the mere cost of raw materials.

At some level, there is a skill and/or art in the creative process to develop the program/prototype.

I suspect that the replicated objects could be admired as a representation of the artistic process that enabled its creation.

Lost, would be the repetitive process of fabrication, which some might claim, in historical perspective, is the art in and of itself.

I don’t mean to stir the pot, so to speak. Just wanted to share some thoughts I had the other day.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View evalyn's profile


5 posts in 1902 days

#29 posted 04-06-2013 08:46 AM

This is very nice and amazing I have never seen this before..


View ScaleShipWright's profile


253 posts in 1911 days

#30 posted 04-06-2013 10:47 AM

This image is not distorted…the designer took an image of an existing cabinet.. modified the picture.. then printed it into 3D via CNC machine.

Maybe the picture just got accidentally corrupted before sending it to the CNC… ;-)

-- God exists... But relax, He's not you!

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