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Make Money With your CNC Machine | Custom Outlet and Switch Covers

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CNC Machines are Money Making Machines! - Desktop CNC machines or non-industrial or commercial units are viewed as toys. That is far from the case. CNC machines provide an individual or shop with the ability to bring new capabilities to the shop that they would not be able to before. In addition to completely new opportunities and products, a shop or company can add additional value to their current products. Increase precision, engravings, designs, production work, etc. A CNC machine should be valued as advanced technology just like a powered table saw was back when the handsaw was the only alternative. CNC machines will not replace all aspects of your shop but will aid a shop in becoming more efficient, bring new capabilities and products to their customers, and provide added value products that maybe your competitor is or is not doing.   Custom Outlet and Switch Covers We see in homes all the time, whether they are mid level or higher end homes, the options for outlet and switch covers are vast but also few and far between. If you or the client wants something that isn't wood, well they we can't help them (sorta). If they want something out of wood or another material we can CNC, our opportunity is knocking. This biggest thing we see in high end homes, is folks want wooden outlet and switch covers but the selection of the big supplier is generic and doesn't come from the same supply or region of wood the homes trim or cabinetry came from. With the power of CNC machines, a shop that does the trim and/or cabinetry can now offer nearly perfect matching outlet and switch covers to their customer. This is a value added product that was not obtainable before and instead of marking up a product in a catalog, we can offer it to our customer utilizing a piece of machinery that can work while we work on the main product that they hired us for. Raw Stock to Beautiful Covers The process isn't labor intensive at all. Most likely someone that buys a machine that is capability of "production" work will have the machinery to mill the material to the required 1/4" (.25") thickness. The beautiful thing is we don't have to get it exactly to .25". If our material comes out of the drum sander at .27" or .30", we can adjust that in our CAD/CAM program. Once our material is ready, we can head to the CNC machine. But lets go step by step in how we went from raw stock to beautiful covers. CAD/CAM CNC machines are controlled by computers. The computer is controlled by the G-code (CNC language) that you design in your CAD (Computer aided design)/CAM (Computer aided machining/milling). A CNC user needs to design their product in a program. That program is going to generate g-code based on the tool paths that you described. We put out a video on the CAD/CAM for the outlet and switch covers.
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Text Comments (83)
Taquito (1 day ago)
pretty nice concept but i would use a vbit to cut the outline and the center hole then flip the whole wood slab and then cut them off the slab its faster
Sultan Bin Sultan (20 days ago)
Do we need to learn G-codes in college before buying CNC router?
Ben Tebrunsvelt (1 month ago)
Super cool Thanks from holland
beauxtx1959 (2 months ago)
I made some for my house years ago without a CNC, so it can be done. Mass production, not so much.
JFAirplane (2 months ago)
Nice product to put the house... on fire ! There's reason it's a special plastic.
Dr. Don (4 months ago)
I just came across your video today and like the straight talk. I'm a retired Air Force guy who has a daughter that's disabled and just lost her husband about 3 years ago. My dad was a builder and has left us all his tools and a shop. We've been looking at CNC MACHINES for sometime. I'm not one those that just runs and gets into to something real fast. There is lots of money to waste if it's not done right. It will sit in corner wasting space. That's not what is going to happen here. Candy is her name and we're wanting to purchase a CNC MACHINE. This will be for her to add to her living to help raise two daughters. She loves this kind of stuff. I'm sure with the right advice she will make a home of it. That's what brought me to your videos. We'll be watching and hopefully learning something in the process. Thanks for the info.
Robert Farrow (4 months ago)
They look great! I have a Shapeoko and i want to make these on mine. Do you have a program that you can share?
Joel A (5 months ago)
I specialise in cnc routers, much larger than the one in the video, but the same concept applies. Every machining step here could and should have been done on the router. I would machine the back side of the plate first, have a program stop in place, flip the full sheet over, run a 90 degree V bit around the perimeter of each plate first, then use that same V bit to put your chamfer in. Switch over to an 1/8" down shear, plunge cut the screw hole and then go around the perimeter. This keeps your corners and chamfer perfectly lined up, your countersink the exact same depth and by using the downshear, any chipping or fray that may happen is on the back side where it is more easily taken care of. For the finish sanding, I would also suggest a jig and use of a long sanding block to keep everything uniform. I dont know what your spindle speed or tools are capable of running or your feed rate, but I find I get better quality cuts with higher spindle speed vs feed rate. Another little trick is to run a low pressure air line down to the cutting area to blow chips and dust away from the tool, quality goes up and the tool stays cooler.
Jared Hammel (7 days ago)
You're saying to use the router in your hand to make each one of these individually? Nah. Let the CNC do the work and you can get other things done.
Curtis Densmore (5 months ago)
After changing bits, do the X and Y axes not need to be zeroed?
Blue or Red ? (5 months ago)
In Firmware We Trust!! Nice vid bro!
Anthony Geraghty (7 months ago)
What’s the brand of cnc your using?
Some Guy (7 months ago)
It's written on the front of the machine.
Thumper J (7 months ago)
can we get a blueprint of the outlet covers and the light switch covers please
Happybidr (8 months ago)
Gorgeous work. Great idea. As a client who does a lot of kitchen renovations for our rental properties, I’d love to know that my cabinet maker had that capability. Plus, I’m a gadget geek who just discovered CNC machines. Thanks for making this video.
Adamv7010 (9 months ago)
They don't look bad. Only issue I see us that they're not ul listed. If a fire were to start it may not be great for you guys. Good work though
thomasjames1999 (9 months ago)
How much for the CNC machine. Thanks
Anthony Geraghty (7 months ago)
What’s the brand of machineyour using?
pyrotechnic5254 (8 months ago)
They can run from 500 bux for a small Chinese job off Ebay to about 9,000 for one that will do what the guy in the video is doing - using it for production, day after day. Of course those will really big tables, automatic bit changers, etc. can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. I wish to get one soon, for hobby and craft show projects, useful, nice things for my house like the outlet covers that were made here, etc. that won't break right away, will hold tolerances, etc. and I figure I'll need 6K-9K. Don't forget the software, bits, and I think a vacuum removal system is important - these things generate a lot of wood dust/chips!
Josh Heitzenroder (9 months ago)
I built a 4' x 4' MPCNC for under $500. Built a 9' x 9' Legacy wall with 196 6" x 6" tiles with it, a couple local contractors estimated it at about a $10,000 project.
WorkshopAddict (9 months ago)
50K LMAO
Rajiv kumar (9 months ago)
Super brother you showed something worthy
Marco Velez (10 months ago)
I definitely enjoyed the narration of this video it was well thought out and well edited. I've yet to take that leap and invest in a CNC but it is on my list. After watching this video I had to subscribe 👌💯
Craig Tate (11 months ago)
Very cool product you got there. 1 thing you might consider in the future to add a little safety is professional built versions have a thin layer of metal on the back side . Otherwise very nice work!
Total Pro Painters (11 months ago)
Hi can you tell me please where did you get that apron Thanks
Stephen Torri (11 months ago)
What software did you use to model the covers? How did you nest the parts? I have experience with modeling a single item in Autodesk Fusion 360 but not sure how to extend my work flow to next similar parts based on material dimension.
Office Receptionist (11 months ago)
Hey everyone! Come check us out @ www.cncpartsonline.com
DJ Smithe (1 year ago)
How did you get a nice square corner on the plug cutout?
Ahtesham Baig (1 year ago)
CNC machine business k uper video banaye sir
Alaa Jannoud (1 year ago)
I'm just curious, how much did your client pay for a Piece of those?
Tom Didit (1 year ago)
Alaa Jannoud that's classified under none of your business.
HCAC BUILD (1 year ago)
Now make matching outlets, then I'll be wowed.
spyderx92 (1 year ago)
I want to start making some wall plate for these custom home we work on ... how much is a Cnc machine like this one on the vid? And how hard is it to program it
Tom Didit (1 year ago)
spyderx92 Google it.
Net Talk (1 year ago)
Good job...!
Mark Laffey (1 year ago)
Great Idea! Thank You!
seeing as how the cnc is touted as labor saving, u coulda sanded out the mill marks on the front of the plates ;) just sayin
if you were more focused on producing quality, I bet you'd do better than with your current attitude of "just to add another line item on the bill" As a woodworker its cringe when I see you just leave the machine marks all up in the wood and just let it fly, especially on a product designed for a visual application. I hope your clients agree that its just another line item on the bill too. Good luck with your bigger cnc machine! #cncdudes
mcnuggs (1 year ago)
Good luck with the new 5 by 8 machine! The scale of your projects and creative possibilities are endless once you're equipped to mill 4'x8' sheets. With the right expertise and project/client, a full sized CNC machine will pay for itself many times over.
camaro375 (1 year ago)
I did the same thing on my C&C but I used a quarter inch bit to remove the center part and instead of profiling it I pocketed it so you don’t have a little piece moving around also wont have to do a bit changes either fit perfect
alphasxsignal (1 year ago)
I wonder what the chinese sell them for on the net if you can compete if theirs match the wood. They sell so much of this stuff o the net.
alphasxsignal (1 year ago)
Nice looking covers.
ManCraftingTM (1 year ago)
Those look fantastic. I found a company 10 years ago that made granite outlet cover for my kitchen backsplash. They look fantastic. Back then it was a mystery to me how they made them. Now that I have a CNC I’m thinking that’s what they used. Another nice feature was magnetic fastening. Very clean install.
Sigifredo Cruz Rojas (1 year ago)
I made them here in Costa Rica with exotic woods and with very complex Toucan design BUT do not have a client to sell them, just 1 unit on eBay, so I do not make money on that. So IF u have a client go ahead.
Marc Merz (1 year ago)
What would you actually charge per unit on this project? I have been doing a bunch of research on a CNC machine, but my shop works on $/hr. You said 45 minutes to do this project, how much did you charge per unit? Is that from setting down at the computer designing, clear to end of the machine doing its job? Just curious on different jobs. Do you charge a set fee per minute or hour that it takes for a custom job?
Foomanlol (10 months ago)
The short answer, is it's never enough money at the end of the day. All business owners half to lie ti themselves regarding the actual total hours worked on all aspects of a job.
a c (1 year ago)
10 fudging grand for that thing?! nope. The pricing on these things are ridiculous. The cost of production isn't even %30 of the sales cost. If you were to buy an actual industrial machine, at least you are buying material. Oversized screws, larger motors, thick heavy cast iron that won't warp, etc. For $10,000 you could even by a tormach metal CNC that has an obviose better build quality and is much more powerful.
24revealer (1 year ago)
You asked what we thought, so here goes. The finish is terrible. You should have sanded the front of the board before you machined it. You can see lines across the face. I used to install hardwood stairs and railings. Only once did I see the wood properly sanded to get rid of all the glazing and planer marks, and the one that was sanded looked amazing. Wood has a very soft look when you sand it smooth. Otherwise I really enjoyed seeing how the CNC works.
LTDan GamingDen (1 year ago)
Andy, being a quadriplegic myself you just gave me an idea making some much needed extra money. Help from friends setting the ShopBot up and a means to purchase one I could do a lot of small woodworking projects to generate some income. Why I love watching all the videos from Brian and Andy - all the great helpful tips, reviews and information. #WorkshopAddict
Brandon (1 year ago)
Can you explain something you stated twice, "CNC's are often viewed as toys?" Who in the world views it that way? If you want a machining process automated to any extent, CNC is industry standard...
E CM (1 year ago)
Brandon Renner the actual cheap prices of a CNC (small size) do accesible to anyone and you can make your DIY projects and not for industrial purpouse! I think it is why he called a CNC a toy
Rick Fischer (1 year ago)
Thanks for the video, I have the smaller shopbot desktop that I use for hobby projects but have been trying to find a way to make money with it once retired. This might be a way if small cabinet shops need this kind of service to offer customers?
Brodey Sheppard (1 year ago)
So, correct me if I'm wrong here I'm actually wanting the information. Is this not a fire hazzard? I mean a good spark from an outlet and you have yourself a fire...
Armando Gonzalez (1 month ago)
Plastic would light just as fast as wood
Tom Didit (1 year ago)
Plastic is more flammable than wood.
a c (1 year ago)
They would be treated. so they are mildly flare retardant. But you are also not going to start a fire on hard wood from a spark. You are far more likely to have a fire started from the carpet or plastic burning. If an outlet is going to burn it's gonna burn regardless of what type of cover it has. Wood outlet covers have existed for decades as well.
E CM (1 year ago)
Brodey Sheppard it is true i was thinking the same but most of houses un Canada ir US are Made of wood, arent it? I think that you can cover with some insulating chemical but I am not sure, probably it is more dangerous to have a wood outlet than a plastic outlet anyway..
William Aiton (1 year ago)
Great video thank you
Rick McCaskill (1 year ago)
Why didn't you CNC both sides? Easily done.
Andrew Wilkerson (11 months ago)
Adrian Hamilton yes, I've had one for years - more and more I've found so many things are just quicker to do with a few simple handtool skills. And much more fun. Depends if you want to be an unskilled factory worker for a living or actually learn something that's rewarding and satisfying with far less dust, noise, and technical crap to work through each day on a pc. I know which I prefer doing now. Took me years to see the light though.
Adrian Hamilton (1 year ago)
I'm looking into the CNC thing, and often think it might be faster to finish by hand than go to the trouble of setting up for another round of CNC machining. Router table definitely makes sense in this case!
jz1199 (1 year ago)
cutting the other side of such a thin wood piece would be quite slow, and if you don't need some special feature or engraving, it is probably not worth the time. Thin material tends to vibrate - which may destroy the work piece. Vacuum tables would work great for this application though, one could design a fixture to hold on to the back side of the board, and have a positive side right next to it, vac fixture can be made to support the thin piece to avoid the problem I just told about. The cost of the vac fixture (time and materials) can pay off on large enough production run, so this might have simply not have been the case here.
Rick McCaskill (1 year ago)
OK, thanks. Good point. I just was wondering why not do both. Sometimes it is faster to do off the CNC. Love the design. Do you happen to have the layout of the template, I would love to make some for my home?
WorkshopAddict (1 year ago)
Rick McCaskill yes it can easily be done but the time it takes to setup, design, and execute isn't as fast as simply taking them to the router table.
John Colombo (1 year ago)
I do recall that the NEC requires all parts to be listed. Most wood device covers have a metal backing, and for good measure, listed covers have a fire rating of something like 20 minutes. I love the idea of using a CNC to make custom finishes, but without that listing, you are opening yourself up to potential liability.
Robert Crowe (1 year ago)
That's a very good point
Tool Fein (1 year ago)
#workshopaddict
John Ware (1 year ago)
If I had to give up my cnc or the table saw... the table saw would go.. The best part about one is once you got the g-code done all you gotta do is stick down the stock and unless you need to change the bits just walk away and go do something else. Even if you do have to change the bits, its still basically the same. Personally I think anyone with the average hobby level wood shop or above needs a CNC. Theyre just too handy a tool not to have. Mine has a cutting envelope of 18.5 BY 24 By 6 inches. The perfect size for most of my needs. I have whittled up a 12 foot 2 by 6 somebody using their clip art once. Just do a chunk, scoot the board a bit and repeat. But the 18 by 24 area is all I need most of the time. The best part is I can easily hold tolerances to 5 thousands of an inch clear across the 24 inches.. Just try doing that by hand. :) 5 thousands is just about the thickness of a sheet of common printer paper. Then theres the times you need to run a board through the thickness planer BUT its too small. No prob, just slap it on the CNC, and youre in business. If its twisted so bad it looks like a plane prop, just shim it solid on the botom, level one side, flip it over and repeat. Some woods I work with go from around $12 and up a board foot so the "scrap" pile can represent a sizable chunk of change. The longer you have one the more uses you find for a good CNC..
alan j Hornung (1 year ago)
Very Cool & Great Review !#workshopaddict
Lisa G (1 year ago)
Nice job
BMack37 (1 year ago)
I'm sorry but this should be pretty obvious to anyone that CNC machines can make you money. Though it's not the best title in a video about making outlet covers...this solving a problem. You're losing money if you can use that machine, in the same amount of time, to make something more expensive than outlet covers. This is like making pennies when it costs as much to make dimes. #WorkshopAddict
Truly amazing! Makes me want to look into CNC!!
Victor Vega (1 year ago)
Upload more cnc videos
Trevor Phillips (1 year ago)
Technically you can do it without a CNC machine. But it would take hours to do just one. How big is that kitchen, with 18 outlets? Why didn't you do GFCI instead of regular outlets?
Studd Muffin (8 months ago)
Hours to do just one? Do you work at the union shop? It should never take machinest more then 2 hours to do 18 pieces! Folks like you probably never used a manual and never seen how to make copies with templates. I drive a manual car and it take few extra hours to get groceries! LOL!
WorkshopAddict (1 year ago)
This job was completed for a client. We produced what they asked for.
Christopher Delasbour (1 year ago)
Thanks for the video. I've been thinking about selling cnc items on FB or Etsy. What software did you use the design the outlets?
WorkshopAddict (1 year ago)
Your CNC is a great asset and you should use its full capability!
MySchizo Buddy (1 year ago)
You didn't make a good case regarding cnc. Make something substantial that will be really hard to do without them.
WorkshopAddict (1 year ago)
MySchizo Buddy more videos are coming! But I would challenge you to make 18 outlets with that precision and quality in the same time as we did.
Scott Everywhere (1 year ago)
With the cost of materials, time and labor. Not to mention initial investment of the Shop Bot, I would have to sell them at $20 to $30 each!
Navigator777777 (1 year ago)
Salesmanship:  A woodworking skill I never hear discussed in conjunction with CNC.  When people want something personal, original, one of a kind … a man with a CNC is one thing but a man with a CNC and salesmanship really brings the combination together.  A customer tells you their passion.  True salesmanship capitalizes to the benefit of both. Cost becomes secondary.  If it doesn’t…don’t machine it.
WorkshopAddict (1 year ago)
Scott Everywhere we sell these particular outlets for around $12-15

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