Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Neat Things To Do With CNC Machine Tools

Sure, you can make all sorts of incredible models.  (More at the Internet Craftsmanship Museum).  You can make tools.   You can make  model cars.  There are many guys who make fully functional internal combustion engines.  You probably know I used mine to make my AR-15 lower receiver.  Of course, you can make all sorts of useful things once you know how to use these tools.

But using them for art is a different proposition. 
Go check out Chris Bathgate Sculpture  Spend a while looking at the Process page.  Pretty amazing stuff.  Literally tons of jewelry is made with CNC carving of waxes that are then cast in precious metals.  The same techniques are good for many intricate little parts you might need. 


  1. Beautiful stuff. I know you can be a good machinist without any artistic ability, but I think the best machinists are also artists.

  2. Machining is really pretty techy. When you're shaving tenths (1/10,000 inch), everything matters. Nothing is solid, everything gets deformed by the work holding, and by the forces of the tool. It's far more art than dunking a crucifix in urine.

    A cool machining story: guy I worked with said he machined the depleted uranium rods used for the A-10 ammo. He said the uranium would ignite from the friction. They kept buckets of sand to douse it (keep the oxygen out). He also said it would ignite from the heat of the gattling gun and stay on fire in flight due to the air drag.

    Another guy I know says titanium is the same way. I have machined titanium on my equipment and never had that problem, although I did keep an eye on temperature!

  3. I have heard that both titanium and tungsten will burn if shaved or ground finely enough.