Wavy American Flag

What is a CNC?

I get this question all the time so naturally, I have to blog about it.

A CNC is by definition, a computer numerical control (CNC) router is a computer-controlled cutting machine which typically mounts a hand-held router as a spindle which is used for cutting various materials, such as wood, composites, metals, plastics, glass, and foams. CNC routers can perform the tasks of many carpentry shop machines such as the panel saw, the spindle molder, and the boring machine (attributed to wikipedia).

CNC’s have been around for decades and are (in this application) just miniature versions of what you see in the big plants making furniture, cars, oil rig parts. It is, at the base level, a machine that takes code produced by software and cuts it out of your stock material.

Onefinity CNC
Onefinity Journeyman X-50 milling a jig to hold cabinet rails.

I personally use the the Onefinity Journeyman X-50 as it is a very sturdy machine with few moving parts AND it comes with an acceptable price range. I do a lot of hard wood signs, flags and cabinet detail with mine.

Wavy American Flag
This is a picture of a 3D American flag file rendered for milling on a CNC machine.

So what CAN you mill (cut)? Ultimately your standard hobbyist CNC can handle everything from scoring paper to milling aluminum in a 2D to 3D environment. I say 2D to 3D because your average CNC, can’t actually do a 3D mill. Meaning, the bottom of your stock will remain flat. Their is ways around that! But it either takes REAL talent or a special attachment to your CNC that takes you from 3 axis cutting to 4.

The image of this wavy 3D American flag is a perfect example of what a hobbyist CNC machine can do. Think about this for a second. I am a woodworker by trade, can I make that? Yes! How long would conventional tools take me to do this? Days, maybe even weeks. My CNC can cut this with a roughing pass and a detail pass in 6 hours.

(link to file by Pro3DArt below)

And! Your unique item is repeatable. So you can make your item over and over again.

With the CNC and some rather significant understandings of software (some softwares like Easel are not that bad) you can make literally whatever you can think of. So as a side hustle or just for hobby fun sake, the CNC is an amazing platform to build your ideas. I personally love mine!

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I hope this explains a little more about what a CNC is and how it can be used. If you want to know more, you are in the right spot! This is my hobby and I love blogging about it. Check out more (should be some links below) or go to ronin-work.com


Link to 3D Flag File: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1057542434/usa-flag-and-map-pack-cnc-files-for-wood?click_key=7591052c4c28b407989c7369efc763eb93f78585%3A1057542434&click_sum=76a7ded7&ref=shop_home_recs_1&crt=1

Image if a CNC machine cutting a wooden project.

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