Another CNC Newbie - First Projects

Well started with my training wheels on in the Community Challenge #20 doing toolpath art and finally started making chips in wood. Here are my first 2 projects and yes mistakes we’re made but overall really pleased with the results for a first go.

  1. My daughter asked me to make something for her friends birthday and we came up with this.

  1. Second project was to finish my mother in-laws late Mother’s Day present… A squirrel sized picnic table, super jealous as I don’t even have a cedar picnic table for myself.


The first pic of that squirrel picnic table had me all confused for a second.
Based on those, I hereby declare that you can’t call yourself a newbie anymore, sorry! :slight_smile:


Mistakes? So who’s counting?! :smiley:

Well done! So I’m inspired to put one of those on my breakfast table for condiments. +1


Was it the quote for the squirrels or there was a full size picnic table in the house of a giant. As for newbie status I think I got design down it’s more about feed, speed and chipload. I thought at the end I had better parameters but when I look in the dust deputy bucket it leaves me believe that flutes 2 and 3 cut dust chips off of a dust spec made by flute 1. Still really fine stuff so either I can still push the machine harder, I need to lower RPM or cedar is closer to MDF for chips/dust then what I thought.

I’m not counting but just paying really close attention to them and analyse what went wrong, why, what can I change to avoid this again about things like my feeds, work holding, vcarve with one word bolder then the second line, etc… Glad you like the project and my neighbor mentioned that it reminded them of a condiments tray when they where younger.

or rather increase the feedrate, which has the same effect (larger chips) but has the advantage of minimizing cutting forces too.

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I was kind of waiting for more comments before I made this observation, but I’m quickly running out of time here.

This is something to learn and use to your advantage. The eye-catching feature of your project is not the material or color.

What catches one’s attention on first viewing is the scaling of the parts. Now, most likely (but only you would know and do tell), you’ve just used the materials and sizes that you could with your available tools.

The fact is that the various parts of your table are not scaled in proportion to the overall size of the table. The thicknesses of the parts are dominant and eye-catching. If you would have proportionately scaled them to the real world table, they would have been thin and unremarkable. (Cartoonists use this technique, too.) The whole project would have just looked engineered or normal.


Well i do have a reputation of going oversized with materials on certain projects, like where most people would use 4"x4" post i use 6"x6". That said in this case it was more based on the materials which was cedar fence planks at about 17mm thick. Now i imagined squirrels dueling it out for food and the occasional raccoon trying to climb up there so beefier parts was needed so i surfaced the planks down to 15mm as they’ve been drying out in my garage and had a bit of cupping going on. So the effect your pointing out was not on purpose.

Edit: however i see what you’ve observed now that you point it out.

They are awesome!

Especially the picnic table.

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REALLY LIKE THE SQUIRREL PICNIC TABLE!!! The Lara Plaque is not bad either. I am sure Lara appreciated it. However, that squirrel table is going to have me back in the planning stages again.

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That squirrel table is the mutts’

Be careful you don’t get sucked in and go full Mark Rober though


LOL, I remember seeing this video a while back but fear not, i don’t think we’ll take it this far. Besides what happens when the experiment ends… I’d fear for McSquizzy and his squirrel army would declare war in my backyard.


Awesome first projects! Do you have any prior experience? If those are your “first” projects"- you will be impressive in ability and results quite soon!

@JoeCorrado no prior experience with any CNC machine and these are my first projects cutting/carving anything. I have used game editors/modeling software in the past so those skills translated fairly well to the CAD software.

Astute observations as usual Tex. Now I understand why the picnic table struck a chord.

Will keep this in mind. And, of course, well done @Caffein8ted :laughing:


Yep, he’s right there, that’s what gives it the Wile E. Coyote look, perhaps an Acme shipping crate next?

You sound just like an engineer. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing! :slight_smile:

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I’m another noob, and I love those projects. The table took me by surprise, as it did most. But I definitely love the name plate. My daughter is a Vet and I’d love to do that for her sometime. Where did you get the paw design? I like that one better than most SVGs I’ve found.

@stevenallison I found the shape online while Google’ing for examples but ended up reworking it myself to make sure my 1/8" bit could fit in between each area within the paw. Here’s the .c2d file so the paw is in the file.

Name Plate with Paw.c2d (659.0 KB)

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