Ten excellent examples of CNC routing

Best of the Blog 2011 – CNC routing

Overshadowed somewhat in recent years by laser cutting and 3D printing, CNC routing remains a fabrication technology with enormous potential. It can be used with more materials than 3D printing and creates 3D shapes more easily than laser cutting. These ten examples show this technique at its best.

#10 Giant CNC’d Scrabble

What do you do when there is a giant CNC mill just waiting to be used? Giant Scrabble of course. This enormous board game was made by those clever students at MIT.

#9 CNC routing helps surfing become more sustainable

Considering the reputation of surfers as, how do I put this, “natural,” it is somewhat surprising that surfboards are generally made from resins, foam, and fiberglass. I would be hard-pressed to come up with less environmentally-friendly materials. This project is trying to change that with CNC milled fast-growth timber and bamboo.

#8 Brilliant new multi-material desks from Because We Can

These desks show off the potential of digital fabrication for ornamentation admirably. The designs are CNC milled into the surface and then filled with contrasting resin to create the elaborate shapes.

#7 Wonderful onion dome structures — the Zome

These complex structures were designed and fabricated by a software engineer using a ShopBot. They can be assembled without the use of tools as a magnificent temporary structure.

#6 3 Axis CNC router built from Lego!

This CNC mill was made entirely out of LEGOs with the sole exception being the milling bit. I’m not sure if I’m more impressed with how versatile LEGOs have become or by the ingenuity of the maker.

#5 FabFi: community-built wireless network

This project was designed to provide WiFi to small communities in Afghanistan and Kenya using off-the-shelf wireless routers for a total cost of $60 per unit. While the design was originally intended to be made with CNC routing, the locals quickly started making more by hand.

#4 WikiHouse – the open source house

While CNC routing is a wonderful technology to manufacture things a bit too large for laser cutting, it is not often used for objects much larger than a piece of furniture. With this in mind, WikiHouse is a bold project in terms of its physical scale, the practical demands of a house, and the potential scale of implementation.

#3 Pricing guide to DIY CNC mill and router kits

To say that the number of DIY CNC router kits has been increasing is a serious understatement. There is now a kit available for just about any budget or requirements. This guide outlines 18 of them and adds up their total costs.

#2 Automatic CNC tattoo machine

Ok, so this isn’t actually CNC routing, but it is CNC. It’s also very cool. This computer controlled tattoo machine is intended as a comment on how the arbitrary circumstances of a person’s birth affects their religious affiliation. When a volunteer places their arm in the machine, the computer chooses the symbol of a random religion and permanently tattoos it.

#1 Incredible CNC milled columns designed with Processing

This is easily one of the most ambitious CNC milling projects I have ever come across. Each column has 2700 layers of 1mm plastic stacked one on top of the other. It’s also a beautiful application of Processing to a 3D object.

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