For the last year and a half, theCO's CNC router has patiently sat in the corner of our makserpsace, awaiting the day it can route to its true potential. Well, the motors are humming, and the wood is sanded. Now, let's route some pub tables! Here's a little about the process it took for us to make custom furniture for our event space.
- 1 full sheet of Birch wood
- Plywood (4' x 8')
- CNC router table
- 1/4" flat up-spiral router bit
- Shop Vac or vacuum (definitely a must-have!)
- Digital designs of pub tables
- AutoCAD or Milling software
Step 1 - Design Pub Tables in AutoCAD
I'll be the first to admit that we had some outside help on this. However, we used the handy Internet to find a design that closely resembled what we wanted our tables to look like. We then sent the file away to be tweaked to our custom dimensions by CO:member Paul Taylor. Believe it or not, this entire table can be cut from single piece of plywood.
Step 2 - Turn on CNC Router
Becoming comfortable with our CNC router has been the most difficult step of this project as we are still learning how the machine responds in different situations as well as understanding the software. We needed to make sure our machine was all tightened up and ready for a full run.
Step 3 - Import Design Into Software and Load G-Code Into Control for Cutting
This step is slow but very important. We set all of the parameters for how and where the machine will cut the pub tables. From the depth of the cuts to how fast the machine moves left and right, one small error could create one large mess. This whole step took about thirty minutes to set up. Once we enter in all the data, we generated G-code – an itemized list of instructions the machine reads as it's cutting, telling it to move up and down or left and right. Once you load your G-code, you need to zero or "home" the machine to a starting point to ensure that it stays on your piece of plywood and not run off the table. The only thing left to do is click "Start" and hope for the best!
Step 4 - Piece Together Our Final Product
Well, there you have it! One heaping pile of sawdust later, we have ourselves an awesome pub table from just one sheet of birch plywood. Slap on some clear polyurethane for the table-top, and it will be the perfect centerpiece for some tasty drinks.
Written by Dan Drogosh.
Photos by Katie Howerton.