Art and CNC

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CNC Routers & Art

            When most people think about projects that can be done on a CNC router they think about heavy duty woodworking. But these machines are not just limited to hobbyists who enjoy projects that are big and industrial. They can also be used by individuals who want a different and more unique way of creating art. There are scores of artistically inclined projects that can be done with a CNC router and this article will name a few that can get you started on be a CNC router artisan.

            One kind of project to start yourself off with is something that is viewed purely as a work of art. Sculptures are a common project for CNC router enthusiasts. The precision that your CNC router is capable of will allow you to make a sculpture by machine in a fraction of the time it takes to make it by hand. Depending on the quality of your CNC router there may be only so much that your machine is capable of. Higher end machines with the right hardware and software are certainly capable of carving a sculpture in its entirety but less costly equipment may only be capable of making the rough version of your project, requiring you to finish the rest by hand. Some hobbyists may prefer to make only a rough sculpture and get the fine details in their by hand anyway and you may also want to paint your work or do other tasks that your CNC router is not built for.

            Aside from a singular, one piece sculpture you can also choose to make something from multiple pieces and build a model. This could be something simplistic like cutting pieces shaped like bones that fit together into an animal skeleton or making very fine, detailed parts that can be assembled into a model airplane. If you have a large CNC router you could make the models of planes or other vehicles quite large or you could build something very big like a dollhouse. Whether you are keeping or selling the items you craft will likely influence what you decide to make and how you decide to make it but either way your options will still be very open.

            Another multi-piece item that could be made for personal or profitable use would be a puzzle. This could be a commonplace 2D puzzle or a more complex 3D puzzle. 2D puzzles are fairly straightforward; just take a 2D shape with an image on it and divide it up into jigsaw pieces. 3D puzzles are more complex overall but how complex they are can vary. A simpler 3D puzzle could be a cube that has a different picture on each side while a more complex puzzle could take the shape of a famous building. If you want to stick with a simpler 2D project an engraving is an excellent starter project for any beginning hobbyist. You could make signs or other items with simple sayings like names or phrases or you could even take custom orders if you want to get a little personal business going.

            If Art and CNC projects like these sound too simple and you want a challenge you could try your hand at making your own furniture. This project obviously requires a larger CNC router so make sure to take all the measurements you need before you do anything else. The cost of material is normally high in furniture making but recent innovations have seen the development of furniture that is made from cardboard. See the website chairigami.com for examples of this type of furniture. There are many websites with open source designs and details on projects like this and the others mentioned in this article that can be found with the quick use of any search engine.

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Art and CNC
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Art and CNC
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