Community challenge #18: Unusual stock (closed)

Hi everyone,

It’s time for another community challenge.
The theme is: Unusual stock.

It does not matter what you make, as long as you are using surprising stock material.
You could mill some odd-shaped stock, soap, vegetables, limestone, concrete…anything out of the ordinary (but nothing unsafe, obviously…)

Rules for this 18th challenge:

  • submit your entry in this thread:
  • you can post multiple entries if you want.
  • the project must made on a Shapeoko or Nomad.
  • you must include pics of the finished piece
  • you must include the design file
  • tell us about your mistakes, tips and tricks, etc…
  • [no need to post to CutRocket for this one]
  • handicap system: -1 point for each time you won in the past.


  • Deadline is set to March 7th 2021, midnight PST

  • there will then be 7 days for voting.

    • voting will be open to legit community members only, and the jury reserves the right to remove votes from “outsiders”, and will also break any tie.
  • First place: BitRunner + BitZero v2 + Workholding Essentials


  • Second place: BitRunner + BitZero v2

  • Jury’s prize: BitZero v2 OR Workholding Essentials, your choice


Cool swag too:


Let’s see what you come up with !


Okay, usually I’m able to make a follow-on post here which is (I’d like to think) meaningful and helpful, but for this, I’ve got about nothing.

There are some unusual materials listed at:

and I’d like to suggest that folks think outside of the box in terms of spindle — there are some pretty cool alternatives such as diamond drag engraving bits, actually mounting a rotary engraving tool (higher RPM, and wanting some sort of vertical adjustment, or perhaps a drag knife?


Rats…I was considering how surprising a chunk of C-4 would be…Ah well…


I will suggest that someone carve some ice. A week or two ago I may have been able to try it, but in Ohio were back to our daily 30-40° temperature swings.


My time travel machine is down for maintenance. Can we get the end date pushed out farther than 14 days ago.


Ok then, edited to March 7th :upside_down_face:


Are you going to carve a gopher?

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Maybe this will help?

You may have to check the box to receive notification as to when it is back in stock.

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Ooooh…Caddyshack references!!! Nice!

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And Back to the Future!

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First project to sort of test the waters, as it were. I’ve wanted to do stone/marble something for a while. I know soap stone exists, and a few people have done that, but it’s soft…and also already been done.
So we have a family friend who had a dog pass not too long ago, and figured this would be a pretty neat/unique thing to give them. I went to Lowes and grabbed this marble tile piece for like $4, got a dog bone shape online, and did some fancy looking text for the dog’s name.

Here’s what I started with:

Using these tools (That I apparently got from amazon like 3 years ago

At first I was doing the vcarve on the text. Also was going to vacuum the dust:

Vacuum dust worked okay, but the bit was cutting terribly. Eventually I swapped over to the using a pipette to drop water in.

Things got SUPER MESSY

Still though, concept worked (mostly) and I got some decent brownie points from the wife which is always important. I’m going to take the machine apart and clean it (it needed it anyways), and then make a wasteboard thingie that I can submerge a part in for the next project. Main lesson learned here was water makes things go way smoother. Was running at ~30% aluminium speeds without water and the machine didn’t like it too much. With water it was comfortable at ~140% speed and didn’t sound awful. Neat thing with the water was that I could feed water infront of or behind the cut and the water would run towards the bit.


Marble! Great way to kickstart the challenge.
It seems like flooding/underwater milling is definitely the way to go for milling hard stone.
Last year we had a cool thread about milling concrete, the discussion starts around here. And surprisingly (for me), with diamond grit tools and lots of water, it does work. Which you have just proven again :+1:


Hi all,

it’s probably due to the fact that I’m German, but after producing wood chips when using the shapeoko for almost a year - that go to waste - this challenge opened my eyes: Potato chips are the better alternative.

Get a 6mm slice of a local potato.

Engrave the Carbide logo with a 3mm end mill at a feedrate of 500mm/m and 14k RPM.

After rinsing thoroughly, put the chips in garlic-rosmary oil and fry for about a minute.

Apply salt and pepper.

Guten Appetit!
potato.c2d (2.9 MB)


That potato chip entry made my day :+1:
Also, thank you for proving that blue tape is the universal workholding strategy!


Potato feeds and speeds, food safe oil, workholding - this post has it all!


Hahahaha! I had been joking about doing this a few months ago. I’m glad you actually did it.


Oh hey. Not sure if anyone is looking for inspiration, but bantam tools podcast had someone on from project called Materiom. Might be something usable on their space.
podcast episode: The Edge Podcast — The Edge Podcast, Liz Corbin: Expanding Our Materials Library

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Might as well just stop right now and send me the prizes. My stock? Air. I cut air all the time on my XXL. Not only that, I can cut the most complex shapes, even the bottom and overhangs without damaging the surface. You don’t need photos. Just hold out your hand and look at what you’re holding. Air. If you don’t like my air project, how about my stock being wasteboard? I’m always cutting into it by accident. It has the scars of many projects where Z was set wrong or even forgotten to be set after a bit change.

If nothing else, these two deserve recognition because of how universal they are. Any design or GCode file can be used and they will work on any machine using any software.


It’s probably a little too vague for this competition. For specifics, I specialize in cutting air guitar and air drums.

On second thought…You know, you could always actually submit an air cut but play music through the steppers…

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