Been waiting for this one to come out – the latest edition of Australian Wood Review.  Has my first of a series of articles on CNC machining for small-scaled use.  This one is a 2 page spread as an introduction to the topic.

So this is the second magazine (this one, and ManSpace) that is on shelves currently with an article of mine.  And by Monday, the third will be out – the latest edition of The Shed.


Anatomically correct dinosaurs

I’m still enjoying (a bit too much) doing nesting operations on the Torque CNC.  These latest ones are from MakeCNC‘s anatomically correct range of plans – there are 8 in total (so I still have a few to make).

Initially making them out of 3mm MDF before trying anything more substantial.  I did try to make the Dimetrodon out of aluminium, but I didn’t fully adjust for material movement, and when one of the very long pieces of waste between the back spines moved to the wrong side of the router bit, well, let’s just say the router bit got suddenly much shorter. Me making better choices of tab placement, size and number would have made all the difference.

Even so, these look awesome in MDF (especially with the added quality of Kara Rasmanis’ photos). (Click through for a larger version)







These take a bit longer to cut out – a lot more edge distance, and going slower to avoid bit breakage (still managed to do that to one of the bits before getting the speed right).  The bit I used is the 1/16″ straight, 2 flute cutter from 45190.  This gave a fine degree of detail.  I am interested in the 3/32″ bits for a bit more substance when that level of detail is not needed, but still having a bit under 3mm diameter.

For those who are interested, there is an interesting link here describing pterodactyls, what they were (and weren’t), including that like the brontosaurus, they are actually a number of genera that have all been called pterodactyls, rather than it referring to an individual genera.

I need to change the name of my office to Jurrasic Park – it would be more appropriate!

Episode 115 Here be Dragons CNC

Design from

The Far Side of the World

kara rasmanis

An awesome photo of the Clipper, taken by a friend of mine – Kara Rasmanis.  It is using a real map as the background (not photoshopped).  The flag on the back is one my daughter was inspired to make when she saw the ship being assembled.


Know it is getting a little repetitive, but I couldn’t resist making just one more of these.  Sure I’ll make more, but you don’t need to see them all (unless you want to!)

This was a pretty easy one to cut out, but I found the design had left out a number of hull sections, so that was a bit of a problem, and the assembly directions were ordinary as well, so a number of parts got broken and needed replacing as I worked out a new assembly order.

However, neither of those took as long as tying the sails into position!!

ship-1 ship-2

Cut out with a 1/16″ solid carbide straight cutter router bit (, running at 50mm/sec, and at 12000 RPM (I’d run it much faster, but I don’t have spindle speed control at the moment)

Owl’s Life

Bit of a test day today (isn’t every day?!)  Wanted to see how some new bits from Tools Today would go with the nested projects I have been working on recently.  Today’s test was on a scary looking bit – but not scary because it was big and mean looking – quite the opposite.

This bit is super fine, and a whole 1/16″ (1.6mm) diameter solid carbide cutting tip.  It looks way too fine and fragile to use, let alone in a CNC router!  However, I wanted to see if it could work, as it is currently the largest bit that I have that will cut 3mm MDF and not create oversized, and therefore sloppy joints.  This bit in question is the 45190 Amana Tool straight cutter – 2 flute, and is not up/down or compression.

Thought it would break in a heartbeat, but hoped not.  Even so, I slowed the feed speed down to 50mm/sec.

The result?  Not only did it survive perfectly well, it cut really cleanly, and did not have a tendency to try to lift or move the MDF around, even when the distances between components was at a minimum.

I’ll get more detailed views (and video) of the bit in action at another time.  What I was left with after my testing was this fellow.  The bit performed admirably – I’m sure they have a reasonably high attrition rate, but so far there have been no dramas, or casualties.


Owl-2Cool little guy, and probably not far off life size!  Still I might try him in 6mm MDF next!

Episode 114 CNC Master Collection

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