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CNC Table Top

I have a small IKEA nightstand at home.

I hate it. It worked for me as a side table for tools, supplies, etc. but I've transitioned it back to nightstand form by my bed. It feels too industrial to be next to my head while I dream (even if they're mostly nightmares).

So I'm going to make a hat for it! To cover up its coolth and give it some warmth and softness.

It still looks a bit funny, but I mostly interact with the top surface, so I think this is okay!

Things I wish I did, or would change about the final product:

  • I used scrap material that had a bunch of holes thrown in it. They are fairly rough, but would have been a good opportunity to run cables through from the back. I forgot to route a channel through the back because I ran out of time in the shop downstairs.

  • I would love to do a nice bowl pocket to hold a tchotchke or a little snack, or my phone! I think I also simply ran out of time for this one, but this would also be a good use case for a ball end bit.

  • I initially wanted to make this as a pocket from one piece of plywood to keep the profile slim, but I realized that it wouldn't cover the bolts on the top connection. Maybe I can size up the thickness of my material just a bit so that a 2/3 deep pocket could cover the bolts.

Overall, I'm quite happy with this, especially considering I use reclaimed material. I've also been around CNCs for quite some time, and this was my first time actually operating one!

Ben was right: the process is NOT linear.

I went back and forth from Rhino, my preferred modeling software, to MasterCAM probably a dozen times. Toward the end I got through the entire MasterCAM process only to realize that the entire model was in the wrong units. This is what I learned:

  • Just make a 2D drawing. I'm accustomed to processing 3D geometry in CAM software, so it took a while for me to accept that I just needed to export lines in MasterCAM. How do you process curved surfaces in MasterCAM?

  • Model in INCHES, not MILLIMETERS. I prefer to model in millimeters for handheld objects, and forgot that this world is Imperial. sigh.

Other questions:

  • How do you make the z-axis move in smaller increments on the CNC? I was afraid of running the bit into the material, so I z-ed it off the bed and used my eyeball to see if it was z-ed ok.

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