What's a CNC system good for?

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 11-26-2013 11:48 PM 1460 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2979 posts in 1221 days

11-26-2013 11:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Apparently for making outlet covers? Pretty dang expensive outlet cover.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

14 replies so far

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1076 posts in 1127 days

#1 posted 11-27-2013 12:33 AM

That does seem like a waste to me. I can think of a lot of other great things to make with one. When I was building a street organ, it called for disks to be used for the cranking mechanism. The disk work good, and are in hundreds of organs, but a friend sent me a couple sets of gears he made on his CNC router. One set of wood and one set out of PVC. Boy, are they nice and work real well. I’d love to be smart and wealthy enough to make a CNC router.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

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2220 posts in 1870 days

#2 posted 11-27-2013 01:06 AM

If I had a CNC router I would make a few of these,glue them together and make a headboard:

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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4145 posts in 1077 days

#3 posted 11-27-2013 01:20 AM

And I complain about the price of a used handplane ….

That makes for some very expensive outlet covers.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

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17577 posts in 3099 days

#4 posted 11-27-2013 01:43 AM

And they will cost 2 or 3x by the time you get a UL label on them ;-))

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

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228 posts in 1672 days

#5 posted 11-27-2013 02:05 AM

I would like to clear up a misconception here. We that have a cnc router do not sit around all day making switch plates. I happened to previously see this posted file and downloaded the files. I do not plan to redo every switch plate in my house, but I always learn something from these projects, the techniques used in creating the tool paths, sequence and cutting strategy. I like many of you learn from viewing projects LJ’s present here with a variety of tools all the way from hand tool projects to those turned on a lathe. If you don’t believe that a cnc router is a woodworking tool that is your opinion and I’m ok with it. But I’m having a lot of fun with mine!

View MrRon's profile


3898 posts in 2667 days

#6 posted 11-27-2013 06:55 PM

CNC routers are the way to go if you are making a lot of the same intricate cuts. They also allow for a level of precision you could never achieve by hand. CNC routers are not for everyone. They are used by commercial woodworkers a lot. They save time and ensure all parts are perfect. I ame building a CNC router for home use. The cost is around $1500. I build model trains and some of the parts that are usually made from cast metals, can easily be done with CNC. At 79, I can’t waste my time making a lot of the same parts by old fashioned methods; besides; Im a technology junkie.

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532 posts in 1347 days

#7 posted 11-27-2013 07:06 PM

MrRon I’m thinking about building a CNC router, if for no other reason than I still have my multi-thousand dollar 3D CAD/CAM software and it would be useful making jigs.

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879 posts in 1459 days

#8 posted 11-27-2013 07:06 PM

MrRon, I’d love to see some pix of your train model parts…

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

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1177 posts in 1533 days

#9 posted 11-27-2013 07:15 PM

CNC’s make anything repetitive faster and cheaper, perfectly accurately, and with far less skill needed by the operator.

By “operator”, I do not mean the person creating or programming the design, but the $8/hr person needed to mount and dismount material, and to hit the “Start” button.

If you’re making one table, CNC is probably silly outside of an engineering exercise. Making 20 cabinets? Now, you’re talking! I have local small shop cabinet makers cutting all the box parts with a 4×8 CNC, with no mistakes, minimal waste, and very little risk of operator injury.

Think about the difference in skill needed between someone who can cut box parts from a cutlist with a table saw, as opposed to someone skidding a sheet into a corner stop every time the machine stops.

View CharlesA's profile


2979 posts in 1221 days

#10 posted 11-27-2013 07:27 PM

I have nothing against cnc rioters, it was just that I got this email on what I could do with one, and the example was an outlet plate. Seemed silly.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2274 days

#11 posted 11-27-2013 07:41 PM

The precision required in making solid body electric guitars and basses is a perfect fit for a CNC. I choose this late in the game not to make that investment. What I have used, with acceptable success, is a Marlin Router Duplicator. Beautifully built machine.

And it’s actually fun to make patterns, set it up and replicate, replicate, replicate.

And if I ever need to grind the rails of my full size railroad track, I know where to buy the machine to do the job!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Mainiac Matt

5958 posts in 1752 days

#12 posted 11-27-2013 07:52 PM

What are CNC routers for?

Silly Wabbit…. they’re for having fun, of course!

It’s the natural extension and outlet for people who design in CAD and solid modeling programs.

If your not in to that…. or want to get into that, it might not be your thang.

After all… to quote my southern freinds…. “it ain’t nuttin’ but a thang” :^)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 1496 days

#13 posted 11-27-2013 10:38 PM

CharlesA, ”the example was an outlet plate. Seemed silly.”

Agreed, when you can just 3d print them!! :)

-- Who is John Galt?

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4527 posts in 1936 days

#14 posted 11-27-2013 11:10 PM

Now if I were going to make covers even though I have a scroll saw, I simply use my bandsaw cut them down the middle cut the voids out then glue them back together, simple and done.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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