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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 👌💯
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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..
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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..
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
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!
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.
A trigger is a named PL/SQL unit that is stored in the database and executed ( fired ) in response to a specified event that occurs in the database.
Overview of Triggers.
A trigger is a named program unit that is stored in the database and fired (executed) in response to a specified event. The specified event is associated with either a table, a view, a schema, or the database, and it is one of the following:
A database manipulation (DML) statement ( DELETE , INSERT , or UPDATE )
A database definition (DDL) statement ( CREATE , ALTER , or DROP )
A database operation ( SERVERERROR , LOGON , LOGOFF , STARTUP , or SHUTDOWN )
The trigger is said to be defined on the table, view, schema, or database.
A DML trigger is fired by a DML statement, a DDL trigger is fired by a DDL statement, a DELETE trigger is fired by a DELETE statement, and so on.
An INSTEAD OF trigger is a DML trigger that is defined on a view (not a table). The database fires the INSTEAD OF trigger instead of executing the triggering DML statement. For more information, see Modifying Complex Views (INSTEAD OF Triggers).
A system trigger is defined on a schema or the database. A trigger defined on a schema fires for each event associated with the owner of the schema (the current user). A trigger defined on a database fires for each event associated with all users.
A simple trigger can fire at exactly one of the following timing points :
Before the triggering statement executes.
After the triggering statement executes.
Before each row that the triggering statement affects.
After each row that the triggering statement affects.
A compound trigger can fire at more than one timing point. Compound triggers make it easier to program an approach where you want the actions you implement for the various timing points to share common data. For more information, see Compound Triggers.