The shop is quiet as you consider your options for the next project that incorporates your mini CNC machine. Chances are you have a CNC router or engraver, maybe a 3D printer or a mill or even a lathe. It could be a completely manual machine or it might incorporate simple CAD/CAM or design/build software. In any case, it is just waiting for you to make up your mind so it can get to work. The question is, what to make? A good desktop milling, lathe, or routing machine can produce a wide variety of results when it comes to DIY projects.
Start at the Beginning
For many DIY CNC machinists, the real question is where their skill level lies. If they can handle both wood and metal projects, then the world opens up to all kinds of possibilities. Here are a few project ideas that even beginners can enjoy and be challenged by:
- Tap Guide – It may seem a little simplistic, but this is a project you can use later on and probably will. A simple block of wood or metal with tap holes drilled into it to help size taps before installing them on the CNC machine.
- Machinist’s Hammer – Here again, is a tool that will make life easier downstream. This hammer isn’t your father’s banger; it’s a precisely engineered device that can be simple or complex in design. Lots of plans are available online, so it’s just a matter of deciding what your materials worksheet will include and then getting going.
- Super Blocks – These are blocks used while machining to support workpieces or to keep bits and taps from drilling into the machine bed itself. Simple yet precise, these blocks are a great way to sharpen milling and drilling skills while creating a useful tool for the future.
Once your skills have advanced a little and you’re ready to try something a little more intricate to challenge your ability, you can try one of these projects that, once again, are both challenging and useful for future work on the CNC machine:
- Toolmaker’s Vice – This is something that every machinist finds useful daily. A toolmaker’s vice holds workpieces securely for extremely tight tolerance work to be performed. If you’ve got a hankering for a nice way to show off your skills and equipment, this is a great way to do it.
- Micrometer Stand – If you’ve got both a CNC lathe and mill in your shop, this is a project that will keep you challenged throughout its design and construction. Not for the faint of heart, this is a cool project that will confirm your graduation to the higher levels of DIY CNC machining.
There are literally no limits to what you can do on a home CNC machine. The internet is chuck full of ideas along with designs, specifications, and applications that will help you achieve your goal and complete your project. Whether you work in wood, metal, plastic, nylon, or any other medium, advances in technology have produced CNC machines that are simpler, more capable, and easier to install at home. The only real limitations are your budget and imagination. Contact Billor to source speciality tools and parts for your CNC machining needs!