Community challenge #9: Sign/Plaque (closed)

aaaaaaaaaaaaand another… Aparently my wife thought the laser engraved sign didnt look very good… so after a wave of “here look at this from pinterest and Etsy” for inspiration… I decide to do some 3d reliefs on a sign. This one was fun… lots of learning on my part. It has a engine piston, two spark plugs (you can actually see the threads on them!) a wrench and a screw driver…

I carved this into 3/4 baltic birch from Home Depot… and after seeing the voids and crap under the top surface I now know why everyone says to get ply from a lumber yard if you want better quality.

Tool 1 was a 1/4 4 flute end mill - used to rough the 3d and pocket in.
Tool 2 was Yonico 37310-SC 1/32 tapered ball nose used for the fine detail 3d work
Tool 3 V-Bit (60 deg 0.5") for engraving the Text and Ford oval (not the ford text)
Tool 4 Engrave (30’ 0.003937" used to carve the Ford text

I tried to profile the inside of the pocket to clean up the beaver teeth marks left from 3d roughing, but i rushed and didn’t clean it up fully… now, i call it intentional texturing :slight_smile:

the person this is going to wants to paint it themselves so no pictures of it finished yet.



Looks good. Do this in foam or PVC sheet next time. You will be more amazed at the results. (There are many types of foam and PVC.)


Yes I agree, the backyard sign up above was PVC and it was a better result.

So I dont know if im posting this right or not lol this is my first time enbetering a contest on here. I have a Shapeoko xxl. I have had it for about 8 months now and I love it. Super user friendly, I learned very quickly from everyone on facewbook groupd and the cutrocket site. I mainly bought the xxl to do larger products and was not very educated when I bought the Shapeoko xxl as I thought it would do larger projects all at once. Was I wrong lol so I tought myslef to I guess people call it tileing? Im not sure, I use carbide create and carbide motion so I kow my design options are limited.

Quick back story on the project, a friend of mine who is sponsored by Louisville Slugger’s softball team was diagnosed with throat cancer. He has been going through radiation treatments and always saw my work I posted on fqcebook. He asked if I could design him a sign and to be creative, so this is what I cam up with. Before anyone says anything, yes I know I have the score in the 9th inning wrong (if you know you know lol) but I designed this sign 60" x 30" he wanted something big and I had never done anything over 30" but I wanted this to be special.

Im not expert and im sure I could have done this an easier way but im new lol So I used a piece of birch cut it 30x30 and did a pocket path with a 1/8 bit I bought on amazon (totally a chinese brand but all i can afford right now lol) I designed the who9le sign in carbide create and split it in half at what I thought was a good non noticable place and did a pocket path 0.180 and it was off. Took about an hour and a haldf per piece, then I just used pocket screws and some glue.

Used dark walnut stain on the pocket path and just a clear coat on the rest. Then sprayed with shellac to seal.

He loved it and brought him to tears. It took me a whole day to do but its because I am still new top bits and selecting the right ones for the job. Also, staining and sealing is a pain in the butt.

Scott cut.c2d (1.2 MB)


Hi all,

I was working on this sign with “caveman style” pictograms, depicting the process of selling a christmas tree :sweat_smile:.

I’ll give it to my cousin as a gift. He sells christmas trees as a hobby during december. The text in the center is German for “christmas trees”, where the umlaut Ä is replaced by the tree shape.

It should be self-explanatory, but from left to right:

  1. The tree ist cut.
  2. The tree is wrapped, using a funnel to put it in a net.
  3. The customers get some mulled wine or some other sort of drink that heats from the inside.
  4. Happy customers walk away with their tree.

The piece is about 2.5 cm thick oak and 40 cm wide with bark and the pictograms are made from epoxy resin inlays.

So after doing the carving, colored resin was put on the piece…

… to be later milled off.

Didn’t work out too well, though. I don’t know if the stock material was bent or if my Shapeoko is. Anyway, I think an error in the Z depth should’ve showed in the carving as well, but it did not.
Maybe the stock bent after applying the resin, because it heats up during hardening?

So I sanded the remaining parts off by hand. Went outside for that (epoxy resin dust bad).

Finishing was done with linseed oil. Putting on the oil is always my favourit part!

Most important lesson learned was probably how important zeroing is for both, the V carve and the later removal of the protruding resin. I thought like, “who would notice a quarter millimeter?”. But this results in half a millimeter wider or thinner contours, and where the contours are already quite thin, that makes some large visible difference!

Here goes the pretty simple desing file: Weihnachtsbaeume_piktogramme.c2d (2.4 MB)


I call this: The 3-Way Modular Geared Shop Sign (final name pending)

image image image

Background of idea (feel free to skip):
I was thinking of some way to be creative with this “sign” challenge, and I ran across lenticular images/signs. I thought it was a cool idea that you could stand on one side of the sign and see a certain image/phrase, and then stand on the other side of the sign and see a completely different image (because of the angled surfaces on the material). I looked into doing this on the CNC, but decided it would be hard to carve something like a lenticular surface, let alone design it….(let me know if you give it a go!). Instead I figured making the sign itself move to show different words would be easier…

Initial design:
This led me to thinking of other ways that the sign could change. I always wanted to incorporate some kind of gears into these contests but just haven’t had any fun ideas. Then I thought: “Hey, what if the sign itself could change (thinking along the lines of billboards that can shift their images…at least that’s how I imagine it…)!” This led me to start experimenting with creating a gear train that could manipulate pieces of the sign:
I went with triangular pieces because they rotated nice and compact on the gears, while also giving me an additional surface over just putting a flat rectangle sign on the gear (which would give two sides of text).
At first, I was going to have vertical pieces (each with a string of letters that formed words when read across the pieces) e.g. five vertical pieces, each with three letters/numbers:
T E S T 1
T E S T 2
T E S T 3

Final design stages:
But, I decided that would look weird and spaced out, so I opted to make the pieces horizontal:


With this concept decided on, I wanted to make this a design that was relatively simple to source materials for, so that I and other people could make this with a couple of pieces of wood. Since this prototype was to be a quite small size (14 inches tall by about 14 inches wide), I decided I would use 1/4” material for the gears and the signpieces (also allowing me to cut both from the same material if I wanted). For the side pieces and the top, I went with 1/2" material for strength and stability.

  • 0.25" x 5.5" x 24" board of poplar

  • 0.25"x 14" x 24" MDF

  • 0.5" x 20" x 20" baltic birch plywood

Something I always appreciate in products is their ability to be constructed and deconstructed as needed. For this sign, I thought it would be a cool bonus to make the joints and fastening of the pieces in a way that would allow me to swap out the sign pieces as desired. I didn’t want to make a shop sign that I got bored of after a little while. Thus I went with nuts and bolts as well as non-glued box joints (correct me if I’m wrong about the joints). This also would allow for the design to be scaled either vertically or horizontally if I wanted a bigger sign! Thus, I arrived at the below concept:

I put gears on both sides, probably unnecessary (something from my memory of MechE classes in college told me it would help) but I was gear-crazy. @Julien I can tell you that this Shapeoko has stirred up some more gear lust after this project…no need for a Nomad here :wink:

I placed a smaller gear (circled in red) on the right side so I would use it to spin the sign with my hands. I also put little “feet” in the design (arrows in red) for this prototype so that I could reach through the gap from the outside if I covered up the front side access. I tried to make the feet subtle so that when I hang it in the shop they wouldn’t be very noticeable:

The CAM and Cuts:
Now for the machining side of things, I used a 1/16” bit on the gears and the spacers for the gears. I did all of them with a 1/16” bit so I could conveniently cut them on one piece:

A HUGE help to setting up these gears in Fusion360 was the “Add to New Pattern” option. I think @WinstonMoy mentioned this at one point or another in his videos, or maybe that was the grouping by folder thing. Anyways, this allowed me to select all the toolpaths for the first similar gear and then create a pattern that copied the toolpaths. This allowed me to only tweak a couple of toolpaths, which would then impact how all the instances of the same gear were cut out.
For the signpieces, I also used the CAM pattern to do all nine of them with one toolpath and cut them out with a 1/8” bit:
For the lettering on the signpieces, I used the 1/16” bit again:

Yes, I could’ve used Carbide Create to make the gears sign pieces, but I guess I was on an F360 high or something. I also was having issues with importing dxf’s from F360 into Carbide Create (not sure if that’s a known issue @WillAdams /others ?). Otherwise I would have loved to use CC’s easy CAM interface for these pieces.
I also used the CAM pattern on the 1/2" frame pieces too (even though I didn’t need to) and cut them out with a 1/8” bit:

The Build
(felt like assembling a LEGO set that I made :blush: albeit with no instructions…)
The box joints for the frame pieces were a little tight, but nothing that a bit of filing couldn’t handle. In hindsight, I would’ve added some extra tolerance to make assembly easier. The signpieces fit into the gears nice and snugly (made the holes in the gears about .030” bigger than the signpiece tabs in both dimensions). In hindsight, I should’ve made the signpiece tabs only 1/8” long and ¼” wide. I had made the pockets on the gears only 1/8” deep, so there was no need for the signpiece tabs to be 1/4" (I fixed the fusion file that’s on CutRocket)….and this actually made me remove the spacers on the left side so that the frame would actually fit together LOL.
Final assembly:
Side 1 (maybe a tiny flare of C3D in there :wink: ):
Side 2 ( a little play on words with our last name) :
Side 3 (yup that’s my CNC’s name):
Transition shot:

-Pocket out a recess for the gears and their circular counterparts in the frame (that way they are completely hidden). Although the steampunk in me actually like the exposed gears, nuts and bolts…
-Make the driving gear larger to make it easier to spin the rest of the gears.
-Use one long threaded rod spanning the whole length of each row of text. I think this would better support each level.

TLDR: Liked gears, made a cool sign that utilizes gears. Made the design and build with the capability of scaling, so that this could make longer, taller, shorter, huge or tiny signs.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Prototype Assembly
Sign Pieces



This is so cool !
I may steal the idea

1 Like

I tried to make the files as reuseable as possible, so hopefuly they are a little helpful :slight_smile:
I chose to do some “woodshop” statements, but I thought of plenty of applications like sports teams and other interests where you could change the sign from game to game, season to season.

I finally got around to posting my Fusion 360 parametric flag model to CutRocket (, so I thought I’d throw my hat in for this challenge. The rest of this text is just copied from my post there, so you don’t have to go read about it if you don’t want to.

This is a Fusion 360 model of the US flag that is fully parametric and conforms to the US flag specification. You can adjust to any size you want (based on the stripe width). I built my flags by cutting 2x4s approximately into 3rds for the stripes (after trimming some waste). The union was cut from a 2x12 and was the only part made on the CNC. I cut and stained all the parts, cut the stars on the Shapeoko, then glued everything together. Of course you can carve it all out on the CNC if you’d rather.

In order to change the size, switch to the Design workspace in Fusion 360, and click Modify->Change Parameters. The only parameter you need to change is “stripeWidth”, the remainder are computed from it and will update automatically.

The CAM for cutting the stars is included in the file. Switch over to the Manufacturing workspace. I also used the CNC to trim the union to size, but that’s not necessary.


Awesome…Thanks for sharing!
Motorized version coming to my classroom this fall!


@neilferreri Wow that’s a great idea, a motorized version would be fun for the classroom! Can’t wait to see it.

I am making a sign for a friend of mine and realized that a sign is the contest for challenge 9 so why not enter it(almost didnt make it in time). For the sign I used walnut and maple, the pine trees are a stl file i had and converted it to a png file using the file converter that @fenrus made(thanks I love this converter).
I used carbide create pro to draw it all up and carbide motion cut it out, I created a pocket and glued the maple into the pocket, and while it was cutting out the last name the glue bond broke loose on the last three letters (luckily I was standing there watching it). So I had to stop everything and go buy some quick set epoxy.
I got everything glued back together and restarted from the beginning. After the restart everything went good, except for some reason the depth is off a little so the pine trees on the far right look like the maple was sanded off but lesson learned, next time I will try adding a base height when modeling to keep it separated a little more.

pine tree sign.c2d (1.4 MB)


Here’s my thing:

This is a logo from the videogame Destiny.

I’ve been wanting to do this embroidery and wood thing I’ve seen on Instagram for quite a bit. Figured, it should be pretty straightforward. I have a CNC that can make holes in wood.
Well plotting holes in a pattern on carbide create was hard. Or harder than I expected? It may be because I had an svg, it made things harder? I’m not sure. I AM going to save you guys a lot of work and show you how to accomplish this yourselves.
Should be able to do this with other objects. I was thinking of doing a letter for my daughter so she can have a thing on her door (just in case she forgets which room is hers). So I may do that eventually
Took an svg from the internets and then imported it into Fusion 360. The extrude surface up.
Then I made a hole slightly larger than the smallest endmill I had (1mm, so I made 1.1mm hole), that intersected the svg somewhere.
created hole

Then we select the pattern on path option (Create>Pattern) select the hole as the object. Path as the sketch, and then use spacing for distance. Then it’s just a matter of increasing the quantity until it meets around the other side. I played around with spacing/number until it looked mostly good.

After the holes are placed, and going over to the manufacture tab I used 2d bore, selected the first circle/hole and then selected the select same diameter option. Which saved a bunch of manual clicking.

Everything else was pretty straightforward.
Now onto the various fails. Machine ran fine, no complaints there. Even if the bore operation was a bit boring (I’m not sorry).

First up, was the hole I machined was too small for the thread I was going to be using. I tried to make it work, but it just wouldn’t. I swapped out to smaller thread, which was a knotting mess.

Thread would get knotted and then break when pulled. I tried this a few times.
Then decided to do string art instead. Hole spacing was too close so I had to go every other hole for the nails I had:

Which was pretty tedious as well.

I’d recommend using a larger hole spacing. I think the ability to do string art (or at least get it started) would be a neat thing to see more of so I’m hoping to make a few gifts for Christmas this year.
Highly recommend some good music and a beer because this stuff was very tedious work.


Hi guys,
This project took about 60 hours total, mostly due to the fact that I designed it so small, it required a 1/16 and a 1mm to cut the inside corners on everything. This equated to many many hours of slow milling in the aluminum.
Also I had my power go out after a 16 hour carve, which left me this morning with about 9 hours of finish work with a tiny set of files and sandpaper while the machine finished everything else. No time for a do over. I should have started this sooner.

It is 4 layers of Black Walnut and 6061 Aluminum brushed with 800 grit and finished in Walnut Oil. I am in the process of uploading to Cut Rocket for the first time, having some issues lol, will figure it out asap and edit this with a link.

Here is a link to the Fusion file: Tools Today 3D Sign Fusion Viewer Link






Ding ding ding ding (finish line bell impression)

Entries are now closed and voting is open, this way

1 Like here is a link to the cut rocket site for my sign

Very nice work! I take it you are using something other than carbide create?

Absolutely gorgeous, what create program are you using with your CNC? I am wanting to move on from Carbide Create. Thanks so much for showing us your amazing work.

Thanks, I use carbide create pro (at least while its free :wink:) its the only software I have tried


Awesome thanks! Been looking into Fusio 360 as well. Nice work.