One of the most popular new woodworking innovations is the benchtop CNC. CNC technology has revolutionized the cabinetmaking industry over the past decade, and now affordable benchtop CNC machines are entering the marketplace at a price point where small shop professionals and hobbyists can take advantage of this technology to perform detailed carving. The possibilities are mind-blowing, and virtually endless in terms of what can be accomplished with a benchtop CNC. They can be used to embellish a traditional woodworking project, such adding a carved family crest to an heirloom furniture project, or to create standalone carved projects such as plaques or monuments.
Operating a CNC requires a level of knowledge of wood properties, and a good understanding of woodworking equipment in general, but once you have mastery of the CNC machine, the process of creating a project is equivalent to designing on the computer and rendering the result on wood using the benchtop CNC. Small shop woodworkers are increasingly mastering this technology and discovering the efficiency and quality benefits that a benchtop CNC can add to any production process.
Benchtop CNC machines come with software tools that enable the user to create graphic and textual art that will then be carved by robotically controlled routers. The software will provide a 3D representation of how the final project will look, and allow you to make modifications before actually running the job.
Once you like what you see on the screen, you run the job on the benchtop CNC, which is roughly equivalent to printing on paper using a desktop printer. The robotic arm springs into action, controlling the router across an X,Y,Z axis, and removing material until your image has appeared.
Watch wwgoa.com for additional videos focused on explaining and demystifying CNC technology as WWGOA continues our CNC journey.