While the CNC router is fully assembled, I just need to sort out some servo calibration and move along from there. That said, just because I don’t have the machine in production-mode just yet doesn’t mean I can’t start planning product lines to help establish myself as a small hobby/business shop! When you go to youtube and browse all the different possibilities for CNC routers, you almost invariably find the same stuff: Signs, Wooden Machine Parts, Engravings for decorative furniture or wall-hangings. That’s about it, and covers a great deal of what the machine can do, product wise. It’s really only limited to your imagination.
Sometimes you’ll see people engraving parts for furniture, like engraved medallions of shelf-supports, parts of bed headboards, that sort of thing, and occasionally they will fabricate tools like slingshots or wooden gears for mechanical clocks. Right now, though, I need a guaranteed market to get some quick cash and do some shop renovations before winter REALLY sets-in. We already ordered some wood, but I’d like to order MORE to make sure we have enough until the snow is down and we can harvest our own using snowmobile, sleigh and chainsaws; but that’s another story.
I’ve decided that making ornamental signs would probably be a great way to accommodate local interest and demand, while providing a service that is both useful and peaceful. The diversity of this machine is nearly endless, since I just need graph a prepared image from a rendering site like CoolText, and find the ideal font and perimeter shape I like. I can then drop in my image software, do the image modification to make it easier for the machine to create, and let it do the work. A little paint and you’ve got a great sign in virtually ANY font! Here are some examples for your viewing pleasure.
The images I’ve thrown together are random, but with the right wood, some stain or paint, and a few good coats of sealant, you’ve got an amazing sign for internal or external appreciation. Personally, I would LOVE to get a solar-powered light shining on the wooden plaque on the corner of my home, showing the physical address, the occupants’ surname, etc. I think it’s a great way to warmly introduce yourself and help those foreigners who don’t appreciate that people in outport communities RARELY ever have house numbers! ARRG!
The nature of signage, however, can go well beyond residential labeling. Internal decoration and wall decoration. I think they are super-cute and often do a great deal to help add a little personality and class a home. My machine can handle 12″ (~300mm) by 14″ (~350mm) at the moment, but when I get my upgrade it can handle up to a full sheet of plywood, at 4′ by 8′ (~1200mm x 2400mm) and can do entire batches of signs at this size. The computer doesn’t care if the sign is letter orientation, portrait, upside down or backwards. I can even add pictures and decals, but that requires a little more work on my part and has even more endless potential. Basically, it’ll print what I tell it to, and the possibilities are endless.