This January we welcomed a new member to the Astoria Makers family- our trusty CNC machine! To date the CNC has cut 300 tap handles and provided us with endless inspiration for new projects. While all of us here at Makers greatly enjoy all the hands-on aspects of making, we also understand that there are tools and technologies we can utilize to maximize our productivity and precision; and free up time for making a wider variety of projects. Our CNC is the perfect example. We are using an Inventables X-carve that was assembled in house by our team. The CNC is currently employing a Dewalt DWP611 router to deliver precise, reliable cuts. We are in fabrication of our second batch of Fort George tap handles using this setup and we have been delighted to find that it has reduced our routing time by half compared to previous, hand routed batches. This means twice as many tap handles, and more time for our fabricators to take on new projects.
But, how? Why? What is a CNC machine, and why do we love ours so much?
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and refers to the automated control of machining tools using a computer. CNC fabrication has a slew of attractive attributes. In addition to saving time and labor costs, CNC machines greatly increase precision and reduce risk for injury. We are able to load our design files into the program needed to run the CNC machine, and push start- over and over and over again. As long as we make no changes to the designs, the CNC will produce the exact same cuts. If you have ever had to make more than one of anything by hand, and make them look the same, you will understand how exciting this is for us!
We haven’t reached a stage of full automation, and don’t intend to. Our inhouse CNC is currently being used for routing only. We haven’t figured how to get it to hand sand, stain, glue or nail yet, so you can be rest assured that anything made by Astoria Makers will still have plenty of hands on attention to detail. We don’t seek a ‘machine fabricated’ looking finished product; we appreciate the quality that is achieved with a hand made object. We simply seek to harness the tools available to us to make the best possible product we can for ourselves and our customers.
Want to see the CNC in action? Have an idea that seems more possible through use of a CNC than by human hands alone? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment for consultation. We are excited to share the endless possibilities of making with you!