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CNC wood... and other materials


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Very nice looking, I think pricing will be interesting, and the number of rejected models will be high as a CNC can't do hollow. (be sure to turn it off on all existing models.)
#1 Michael Williams on 2010-06-03 12:48 (Reply)
Like it alot!
Would the pricing be reversed? Priced on material cut from a rectangular bounding box?
#2 Madox (Homepage) on 2010-06-03 13:20 (Reply)

Pricing a good point...
There are various variable that could determen the price. layer height, min inside diameter, bounding box, ect...

Apart from the pricing, what would you like to use this (material, technique) for?

Materials are multiple that can be used. the pic's are from plain wood coming just out of the mill. If you use harder material you can get more / better details.
#2.1 Peter Paul Cornelissen on 2010-06-03 21:10 (Reply)
Helisys Laminated (Paper) [Object Manufacturing] is a free-form fabrication method using a
recyclable material -- or, at least you can use recycled paper as the build material, rather than first-generation wood. And laser-cut paper takes on the appearance of wood when finished.
I don't work for Helisys, but I can see the couple of advantages over CNC in a not-so-sustainable material. Just a suggestion.
#2.1.1 Stewart Dickson (Homepage) on 2010-06-11 15:24 (Reply)
We're waiting for your offer (max. size and pricing). What king of wood is used ? Surface texture seems to be soft ? Is this out from CNC ? How long does it take for this object ?
#3 Philippe Garenc (Homepage) on 2010-06-03 14:31 (Reply)
Nice. I have access to a Roland MDX-15, which is their tiniest model - the size of an inket printer, not even an all-in-one. (The software even loads in Windows as a simple printer driver, which is beautifully apropos.) Which is cool, but the absence of things like a tool changer and a fourth axis have always made it hard for me to utilize effectively. I would certainly expect better results from their higher-end models.
#4 Eric Finley on 2010-06-03 15:45 (Reply)
We used CNC on polystyren for molding for kiln glass casting.
More images on
#5 Philippe Garenc on 2010-06-03 19:24 (Reply)
Hey Peter Paul,

I think this would be an amazing addition. Of course the constraints of cnc milling would be completely different than for 3d printing, but for one thing, larger objects would probably come in scope. And having (sustainably sourced) wood as an option is great.

Important is the final quality; is it good enough to be used as a product out of the box? Will you consider options such as sanding, oiling and lacquering?
#6 Michiel Cornelissen (Homepage) on 2010-06-03 22:17 (Reply)
First of all; it would be very nice to have! In wood and maybe (later) even in aluminium or other metal.

Next, although my CNC experience is limited (only worked once with a 2.5D w/ auto-tool changer) my impression is that setup is much more difficult and time-costly (remember that it goes per product; not per print build) than with layered processes. And this is not just a machine-operation issue; it depends for a large part on the design as well; can the tool reach the part to be cut - without hitting and breaking the part? At what points do you want the affixing-points ("opspannen" in Dutch); how many operations does it take. Unless Roland has awesome automation software (I don't know, would be great) there is a great deal of 'feel' and experience from the machine operator that goes into this. It will be tough to communicate what you can and cannot design and equally hard to bring pricing down to an simple equation like you have with the layered processes (because of the unpredictability due to a part's design). Nevertheless, please don't pay attention to my negativity and just do it! :-D It would be a great addition.

P.S. Any plans for 2D (laser) cutting and taking the fight to Ponoko? :-P.
#7 Peter Hermans on 2010-06-03 22:27 (Reply)
Yes forgot to mention, like Peter I would also love metals such as (polished...) aluminium or even brass...
#8 Michiel Cornelissen on 2010-06-03 22:39 (Reply)
this would be a great addition to your current services. For materials I would like to see wood (multiple types), aluminum (while you are filling my fantasies please offer an anodizing service), and a Corian-like material
#9 Jessica (Homepage) on 2010-06-03 22:54 (Reply)
Also recently saw some material called paperstone. A recycled, natural alternative for Corian or stone I think. Don't know much about it but looked interesting.

Yes, anodizing, absolutely!

Marble would be nice as well :-)

Certainly is nice to dream away for a bit...
#10 Michiel Cornelissen on 2010-06-03 22:58 (Reply)
You can also use FOAM with CNC machines, which is great for prop makers who want a "non thethal" or heavy weapon they may try to replica. I hope if you guys do this that the foam is also considered.. usually its done in multiple foam layers or styrofoam.
#11 Lin on 2010-06-04 01:37 (Reply)
I'd be interested in Delrin and ABS :^)
#12 Marc Tyler on 2010-06-04 15:39 (Reply)
Machinist Wax and butterboard are two tool-friendly materials you might also want to consider. Wax chips are able to melted back together, as well.

Delrin or other machinable composite is another alternative.

#13 John Bear Ross (Homepage) on 2010-06-04 20:52 (Reply)
Sounds really cool, and usefull. Especially if we could combine multiple models. (an order of a certain product would consist of 2 or more models: some CNC, some 3D Prints)

I REALLY think laser cutting would be cool. :-D In fact, it rates higher on my list than Wax printing.
#14 Jake Drews (Homepage) on 2010-06-05 00:07 (Reply)
The Makerbot soft material feeder is amazing also. Why not a silicon or rubber 3d printing ?
#15 Philippe Garenc (Homepage) on 2010-06-05 07:20 (Reply)
I've wanted to do things in wood for ages!
I would definitely do characters and toys, but also a lot of "normal" objects, like designer handles, buttons, candle holders and so on...
One thing that would be important though, is the type and quality of wood we choose from and also being able to tell you which way the wood rings should be.
I love it :-D :D :-D
#16 franck (Homepage) on 2010-06-05 19:58 (Reply)

Really looking forward for all those materials.
Keep on going :-)
#17 P van Nieuwpoort on 2010-06-07 14:10 (Reply)
What also becomes possible with CNC.... and I say also because it's also possible with 3D printing... ;-) is making is making Lithophanes (aka Lightsculptures) I have seen this version in really live and it looks really good. It's made from PVC.
#18 Peter Paul Cornelissen on 2010-06-08 07:20 (Reply)
The larger Roland mills may be fine, but you might also take a look at MiniTech and Modelmaster CNC mills, they're typically more robust and mechanically solid than the smaller Roland machines. I use a 13 year old Modelmaster CNC 1000 mill to cut wax for jewelry prototyping.

The surface resolution is very smooth. You'll have to consider toolpathing strategies when pricing a project. Sometimes a model must be cut from 2, 3, or 4 sides to reach all the detail whereas some designs such as simple rings are cut on a rotary table.
#19 Jesse Kaufman (Homepage) on 2010-06-08 13:24 (Reply)
Making items in wood would be very cool. If for nothing other than the unique texture and east of finish work (painting, sanding, etc) that can be problematic at times with artificial materials.

If the cost is considerably lower for large scale items than print options that would be fantastic.
#20 Randy Hightower on 2010-06-10 20:26 (Reply)
I would LOVE to see some CNC manufacturing techniques!
Polycarbonate and 2011 Aluminum (free machining allow) would be a spectacular choice for speed of machining and quality of the end result.
#21 Paul on 2010-06-12 00:09 (Reply)

CNC that's sound like a great idea especially for bigger pieces.
Wood, foam, styrofoam so many new possibilities....please do it ;-)
#22 julien Lefebrve on 2010-06-14 00:19 (Reply)

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