The Awesome CNC Machine

Many of our clients are quite familiar with CNC Machines, and many are not- including myself, to a large extent. “CNC” stands for Computer Numerical Control, which automates the usage of machinery, such as our router, through the use of preprogrammed software to run the equipment. CNC can also be used to run lathes, milling equipment, lasers, etc. My first real exposure to CNC use was when a current owner of Barney & Carey, Dovi, who was then my tenant, bought one for his woodworking shop. At first I thought it was a (very) expensive gadget, and I wondered how it could make enough money to justify its existence. Boy, was I wrong! When Dovi became a partner, he brought his CNC router with him. I learned a bit as time went by.

Overall, the greatest attribute of this machine is to save A LOT of time and money! Let’s say you are building something that requires a number of pieces of varying shapes to be cut from an expensive sheet of hardwood plywood, or other material. They could be doors, shelves, decorations, sign blanks-anything. First, you have to calculate how many sheets you need. Using a trial and error method, you try to come up with a layout that minimizes the waste. You don’t want to be throwing away a lot of scrap from say, $200 sheets of walnut plywood. This alone will eat up hours of your time. But you do it, and then order the plywood. Now you have to transfer the outlines of all the pieces onto the wood, then oh-so-very carefully cut them out with a jig saw and/or a table or Skil saw. Many more hours, and you damn well better not make any mistakes!

Enter the CNC router. All you have to do is give us the shapes and sizes you need, which we enter into the computer, which then instantly tells us exactly how many sheets you need. We then either supply the material, or you provide your own, place it on the 5′ x 10′ router table, and the machine cuts out all the pieces with precision tolerances. You are now able to quote customers on custom kitchens, with superior quality and better pricing than just about anything they can buy at the big retail stores. You can check this out on our website under “CNC cabinet parts, doors and boxes.”

It always continues to amaze me when I see all the other functions of this machine. How about this: You managed to come by a huge hardwood slab, say 42″ wide by 8′ long and 4″ thick. It is dry, but rough and warped. How do you level and plane it? Few shops have a 42″ planer, and NONE have a 42″ jointer to level it. We can shim your slab on the router table, and mill one entire side of it, then flip it over and do the other side. The slab comes out perfectly flat, with constant thickness, ready for sanding! (Or maybe you could do it with a hand plane- ha!)

Although I have no idea how to run it, I can’t say enough good things about the CNC, and this is from an old timer who grew up with hand nailing! In my next blog, I’m going to tell you a lot more about the services we can provide that WILL SAVE YOU MONEY! Unless you think your time is worth a pittance, there is no way you can do these things as inexpensively as we can. Yeah, it took a while, but now I understand why high end commercial shops like ours will pay $100K or more for CNC machinery!

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