Pricing jobs on a desktop machine

Hi, all, I’m hoping someone can help me out.
I’ve looked at what people charge for cnc milling jobs elsewhere, but most seem to deal with larger machines that can move much faster than the Nomad.

I recently made these boxes for my kids’ Magic:The Gathering cards.
And now some friends are asking for similar products as gifts. But I don’t have a clue what I’d charge for them, as I have no experience pricing things like this out.

Can anyone offer some suggestions/recommendations?

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I wrote up some notes on the matter of pricing at:

It’s tricky with the Nomad though. Those pictures are basically fresh off the machine (with a few minutes of sanding off my tabs). And I’m already 1.5 hrs into each box, just with Nomad carving time. 1/4” endmill pocketing those two big inside pockets is 20ish minutes alone. Doesn’t include the design, toolpathing, stock prep, and setup (e.g. drilling the locating pin holes for flipping the piece).
I’m sure I could set this up on my bigger machine and batch out several at a time. That would make the machining time a little easier to price. But on the Nomad, I just don’t know how to price the carving time.

Unless you are going into business I would not worry about labor. You could charge for material and you can enjoy making the boxes.

One of my neighbors is in his 70s and has been a farmer/rancher all his life. He looks at every thing from a perspective that everything is about profit and loss. That is fair for him because that is the way he makes his family’s living.

For me being retired my perspective is different. My living is secure and for me everything is not about profit and loss. I cannot waste money foolishly but giving away things I makes makes me happy.

If you are trying to make a livinging or a side hustle that changes your perspective. So unless you are going into business, relax and enjoy making for the pleasure of it. Let the bean counters count thier beans and you enjoy.


I love making things and giving them away as gifts and what not, and running my machine is my “down time” when I feel like it, but regardless of my enjoyment, I give myself an hourly rate of $15 when I make stuff for commissions. Mostly, I make cribbage boards, and my prices are such that a large portion of the people the see them love them, but would not buy them at the price I am selling them.

I understand that. Every person had a budget they can afford, and I just happen to be outside of theirs. Most people are polite and tell me they love the work, but it’s outside their price range. I tell them I understand and I appreciate their compliments on my work. Those people are nice to me and I am nice back.

I also have people who tell me I am “crazy for expecting to get that kind of money for this board”, or I’m a greedy person for my prices. Those people are the ones I will start with what my hourly rate is, and they are shocked that my hourly rate is so low compared to the end product cost.

I explain software costs, computer, CNC, upgrades, exotic woods, bits, clamps, magnets, epoxy and finally how many hours in the machine and then touch labor like hand sanding (or hand held 5" RO sander), and spray or wipe finishing. Then I tell them about how many hours (or days) I spent laying out and tweaking my layout for fit and function. I tell them about prototying and how you never really know how it is going to turn out until you completely build one, and then if there is one thing that is not okay by me, it is “garbage” and I would not even give it away.

So, give yourself an hourly rate you think is appropriate for your products. If people are willing to buy them - great. If not, don’t let them talk you down. Your time has a value - do not let anyone tell you that your time and experience is worthless, or worth less than you think.


Pricing is an art form…if I want to do it again I price it reasonable…materials times 3…unless my hourly wage doesn’t calculate out to reasonable then I will add in the difference.
If it something I don’t want to do again I price it at materials plus something to make it worth my time…

There have been many times I have thought to myself I should price this lower because its not the customers fault I don’t have more efficient processes…If I did that I would have everything priced at Amazon prices and never make any money.

If you’re trying to make money then make sure you charge to make money.


Well Amazon does make money because each product has little profit they sell a lot of products. Jeff Bezos did not become one of the richest men in the world by giving away his products. Now when it comes to a side hustle or even a wood working business it is not possible to sell at the volume of Amazon. If you look at some people charge $300.00-$1000.00 for a jewelry box. If you look around you can find some nice jewelry boxes on that site for $100.00. The difference in in the details. If you use exotic and/or figured lumber that costs more than the person making theirs out of pine or popular. Most people do not the difference between tiger maple and popular.

If you want to sell volume you have to cut corners and make your operation as lean as possible. If you sell more expensive products then you make up in volume for price.

You have to price to your market. If you sell at craft shows and the like there is a price point in which the general public will not go. However there are the rare exceptions that will buy a $500.00 jewelry box.

So you make $25.00 jewelry boxes cheaply and sell 25 of them for $625.00, or you could sell two $500.00 jewelry boxes for $1000.00. Now if you can batch out the 25 cheap jewelry boxes and figure you made a profit good. If you build 2 $500.00 jewelry boxes in the same time it takes to make 25 cheaper boxes which one is a better deal for the sell and for the buyer. Buy again it depends on the market you are in and what that market will bear. People out for a lark on t he weekend at a craft fair are not likely to buy a $500.00 jewelry box, but you only need to sell two as opposed to 25 of the cheap ones.

There are many tutorials about marketing and pricing your work. In the end just dont sell your self short. You cannot sell at a loss and sometimes you have to analyze what your are trying to do and decide not to do it if your goal is to make money. If on the other hand you just want to make stuff and receive joy from that, it is priceless.

I have been a wood worker for 45 years. I have given away so much stuff. However I am to the point that family and friends are saturated with gifts and I only make things they ask me for now. I still make things and give them to charity like Habit for Humanity Restore and other organizations that can give something out of many"s reach for a reasonable price but I am adsorbing the loss but gaining so much more than money. Just decide what you are trying to achieve.


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