Facebook: Commonwealth Creations
How long have you owned a CNC machine?
Is your current CNC machine a router, a mill or something else?
What was your first CNC machine?
What is your current CNC machine?
Do you treat your CNC work as a business or a hobby?
How did you get started?
My CNC work started because of a scroll saw. I was cutting out the shape of Kentucky for a few friends and thought it would be a good idea to post about it on my personal Facebook page (pre Commonwealth Creations). The post included a still image of the cutout and a time lapse of me cutting it out. The next thing I knew the video was shared like crazy and it had over 6,700 views. I ended up having over 200 KY shapes to cut out. Then people started asking me to cut out other items, such as holiday decorations and monograms. I had made a template for the KY shape, but it was quite the task to cut custom items. I ended up buying an inexpensive projector and traced the art that I made on my computer onto my cutting medium. Talk about time consuming! I eventually got tired of the tedious tracing and hunching over the scroll saw so I started researching alternatives to the scroll saw. That's when I stumbled upon Carbide 3D’s Shapeoko XXL. I was very nervous to spend ~$2,000, but I was eventually convinced to take the plunge because Carbide 3D was offering a special on their Shapeoko CNCs during Black Friday. It was a scary time! I had just spent all this money and didn't know a single thing about CNCs or anything related to them. Like most people would do, I turned to YouTube. Having owned the machine for almost two years now, I'd say most of what I learned has been from trial and error. Fortunately for me, the machine paid for itself in less than 6 months!
What is your favorite type of project or item to make using your CNC machine?
I enjoy making things that I design or create on my own. For example, I created a jig on my CNC to help with cut-ting grooves on the end of cutting boards.
What is your favorite type of material to machine?
I don't really have a favorite material to machine. Cherry wood has been nice to me.
What is your favorite style of end mill, the one you just can’t live without?
The bit that I use the most is a 1/4" flat end mill.
What type of project(s) are you working on currently?
I'm currently working on the finger groove jig that I created, a growth chart ruler, and cutting boards in the shape of a popular bourbon maker.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Your initial investment of the CNC machine is just that, an initial investment. You'll soon learn that you need/want other things such as dust collection, a dust shoe, quality end mills, proper clamps, etc. Those things aren't cheap, but once you have them you will appreciate them.
Watch videos on YouTube or Instagram. You'll learn a lot from them and it can help you avoid mistakes that others have made and posted about.
Properly clamp down your material; it can be dangerous, in many ways, if you don't.
Don't leave your CNC machine running unattended.
When assembling/setting up your CNC, make sure it is level, flat, and square. Don't rush the assembly just so you can start cutting.
What has been your biggest CNC related challenge?
My biggest CNC related challenge is understanding speeds and feeds for cutting bits. It can be confusing because of numerous variables. Once you figure out what works best, write it down!
How many hours a week would you estimate you run your machine?
What was your most epic fail or biggest mistake made on your machine or a project involving it?
Not clamping down my project material adequately has been my biggest mistake. The material slipped causing the machine to cut in the wrong location, which ruined the project.
Any plans or goals for the future concerning your work or equipment?
Nothing crazy, just making sure that the machine is well kept, the belts are tight, mostly dust free and the machine and waste bed are level.
Here are a few examples of the great projects from Commonwealth Creations.
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