Subtraction – Week #3 SKILL BUILDER: CNC / Techno Router

This week we had a chance to get more familiar with the CNC machine that we have at the ITP shop. This time I just want to try and get some sort of a graphic result out of this big machine, but still keep a natural and free lines.

I had this idea in my mind to take the graphics that we used to see everywhere in NY, that say “Thank you for shopping” or “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU” ,and make a different function to these typographic phrases that we tend to ignore.


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At first I thought to use it as a laundry box, and planned to have folded walls, so when it’s open it might have a closer shape to a filled bag…:


Eventually I decided to first try out the text and the 1/8″ bit, to see that everything is working well.

I made an illustrator file with the same typography, and then brought it to the CAM software. After I figured that the size of my file is not enough for the bit to cut, I was able to scale it up through CAM, and checked with the size units that it’s not becoming a huge sign. Because I first did the pocket, after each scaling I could see the new process that it will make immediately. Usually I would go back to illustrator to fix it, but this time it felt like I can just solve it inside of Mastercam.

Information to remember: 0.0625 is the max rough step for the 1/8″ bit.

I decided to make the contour with a 1/4″ bit, so it will be quicker and also to save my 1/8″ bit for the delicate work only.


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After I was happy with the animation moch up of the drilling, I went to the CNC, and decided to fix this annoying thing where the big TV screen was not working. Now it’s working.


I’ve set up my 1/8″ bit, and after I tried to spot the straightest area on the bed, and screwed the board, I marked the 0 axis:



I opened the vacuum, and started the job.

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It looks like the bed positioning was effecting the cutting a bit….on part of the cut it left marks, and on the other side, the cuts were smooth. When the machine finished with the inside line, which is the last operation made with the 1/8″ bit, it paused and requested to change the tool. I continued with the 1/4″ bit.



Final result:



I was thinking of painting it using plastic roller, so it will paint only the surface, but not the inside- any recommendations?

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