Are you wondering what CNC mill projects to make next with your machine? Or maybe you are looking for simple CNC mill projects that you can do as a beginner. Whatever it is, you will find lovely projects here that are suitable for beginners and experts alike.
What is a CNC milling machine?
Milling machines with Computer Numerical Controls (CNC) are programmed to make precise drilling movements on the surfaces of work materials like metals, wood, plastics, etc. This programming determines how a machine moves to automatically produce, create, and transform virtual images into real ones.
There are several ways a CNC machine works on raw materials to give the finished design. And some of these ways are by adding or removing the material. However, the CNC milling machine is an excellent example of a subtractive CNC machine.
What can you make with a CNC mill?
Because of the freedom of creativity a CNC mill gives, it is widely used in many industries for creation. Below are some of the products in the fashion industry that can be made with a CNC mill.
- Belt heads
- Necklaces, etc.
CNC mill projects for beginners
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Even when you have minimal experience with CNC milling machines, you can still make some simple and unique crafts to make and sell. They include:
- Christmas tree ornaments
Some of the easiest and best CNC mill projects are snowflakes, Christmas trees, tiny sleighs, and other kinds of Christmas tree ornaments. Handmade Christmas gifts have always been highly cherished and in demand – using a CNC machine to create them makes it even better.
For Christmas tree ornaments, you can tweak the design to make them more unique. Many people have had Christmas tree ornaments, so you must make yours stand out.
- Guitar bodies
Source: Custom made
This wooden customized guitar body is elementary to make, and your CNC milling machine can help you create something this beautiful.
- Pill pods
People who carry medications around know the importance of decorative pill pods. They are tired of those transparent bottles that keep screaming, “Hey there! There are drugs in here!” and are willing to buy more aesthetic pods.
Depending on how experienced you are, you can create water and shock-resistant pods that can even be used as jewelry.
- Laptop stand
If you are a lover of CNC mill projects, you will likely spend lots of time creating new product designs on your computer and will probably bend over a lot. This can lead to posture problems and increased stress.
A good laptop stand can help solve that posture problem. So, why don’t you use your CNC mill to create a lovely laptop stand that prevents you and your customers from continually bending over?
Even when you’re a novice in the business, you can make lovely laptop stands and sell them to people who need them more.
- Board games
If you are like me, you must already be bored of playing regular board games and playing cards. That’s why you should make board games from your CNC milling machine during your next CNC mill projects.
Creating more aesthetically pleasing board games like chess, ladders, snakes, monopoly, draughts, and playing cards can make a difference for the players.
You can use wood or metal to create these board games, and depending on your experience, they can be pretty complex or simple to make. However, stick to your level of expertise to make beautiful but straightforward board games.
- Wall tiles
CNC milling machines make it possible to decorate floors, desks, and walls with just half the cost of traditional wall tiles. With this machine, you can add more styling options to your patterns and shapes and can even create interlocking to make them easy to move around or replace if they get bad.
Wall tiles can be made from wood or felt, and they are not so technical to make.
The fashion industry has significantly benefited from CNC machines as it allows the freedom of creativity. With your CNC machines, you can create earrings, cufflinks, necklaces, belt heads, brooches, bow ties, and any kind of jewelry you think of.
With wood or metal, you can create substantial fashion items, but the complexity depends on the item you are making and your skill level.
- Lamp covers
You can make your home décor even better by creating lovely lamp covers for your lamps. With perfectly designed lamps, you have a beautiful mixture of light and shadows on your wall.
A CNC mill machine will help you map out lovely constellations for your lamp cover, but that is not all. You can still design your lamp covers as trees, or if it’s Halloween, you do something scary. Though you can use these lamp covers on desk lamps, you will get the most effects from this work by using them on ceiling or wall bulbs.
To do this project, drill tiny holes on the pieces of wood that you use as an encasement for your light bulb and assemble them together when you are done.
Smokers know how frustrating it can be when they do not have ashtrays around. That is why they are always looking out to buy some. Ashtrays with attractive features sell pretty well and can also be used as ornaments.
Though made of metal, the working principle is pretty easy for a beginner to follow.
- Light switch covers
Light switch covers are easy-to-make CNC mill projects. As much as you can make them and sell them for profit, they are also a fun and effective way to design and update your home electricity switches.
There are different types of eye-catching light switch cover designs to make, and you can replace the boring ones you bought from the store with these.
- Decorated gates and fences
With CNC milling machines and laser cutters, you can create different patterns on metal sheets. As a beginner, you can stick to simple designs to get perfect finished work. These patterns, when carefully done, can transform your regular metal sheets into beautiful doors, fences, screens, and gates with high-class security.
This material is metal and wood, and they are pretty simple to make. You can find a lot of inspiration on Etsy.
- Coat hangers
With a little more experience in CNC milling, you can create animal coat hangers for your family or for selling. Make your work look even better by doing three-dimensional coat hangers.
You can make these hangers from the face designs of animals and give some depth to the features. Create a broad face and add pads to the eyes. Extend the ears and nose to make them long enough to carry little jackets.
These animal coat hangers are best designed for children. Even when you do not ask, they will quickly bring their jackets to hang on a pig’s snout, and you will use the time to do other chores.
- Serving trays
Serving trays are some of the most done CNC mill projects. Most people love these drilled trays, and you can make numerous designs on them. You have no limitations here.
A creative way to make a serving tray is by creating a multi-piece tray that you assemble after milling. Make your serving tray long-lasting by finishing with an epoxy. It will protect the tray surface and make it suitable for various uses.
- Gift boxes
Most gift boxes end up in the trash after they’ve done their duty, cut carefully designed gift boxes can last a long time. With wood, you can create these simple but unique gift boxes that can transform into storage boxes even after the gifts have been taken out.
They are quite easy to make, and you can find lots of inspiration on Amazon and Etsy.
- Phone amplifiers
There are times when you want your phone to be louder than its maximum volume. Then, you need external speakers. One great way to create this is by using a CNC mill machine on wood.
This phone amplifier is environmentally friendly, artistic, beautiful, and straightforward. You only need basic knowledge of design and physics, and you can double the volume of any phone. Also, this phone amplifier can act as a phone stand.
Coasters are inspiring pieces that help unleash your creativity. Thoroughly working with patterns and shapes, you can make this item from wood lying around your basement. It is a simple CNC mill project, and it’s easy enough for beginners.
- Minimalist wallets
With wood or metal and a CNC machine, you can make lovely minimalist wallets to hold your money, ID cards, and bank cards.
There are no limitations to designing the minimalist or how they can be opened and closed.
- Indoor decorations
CNC milling machines make a difference in interior decorations. You can do as many designs as you want; your imagination only limits you.
There are numerous innovative, unique, practical, and abstract wall decorations that you can make with CNC mill projects. Picture them in your mind and convert them into something wonderful.
Wood and metal work well for wall decorations, but their complexity varies.
Creative CNC mill projects
- Bike pedals
Bike pedals go through lots of stress, so they get spoiled and replaced. With your CNC mill machine, you can create these replacements for customers.
To make very durable bike pedals that can withstand stress, you need some experience with the milling machine.
The most suitable material for this bike pedal is metal, but it is quite complex to produce. However, you can sell it for about $13 a pair on Amazon.
- Zippo Lighters
Lighters aren’t supposed to be boring. We get so used to plastic packaged or plain metal-bodied lighters that we forget how beautiful a perfectly designed one can be.
A CNC milling machine makes it easy to create lovely lighters like this. However, you need to be acquainted with some working principles so that you will be able to tweak your machine to create any shape and style of lighter and also make any kind of inscription you want.
This lighter is made from metal, and it’s pretty complex to make. You can find this kind on Etsy and probably sell yours too.
Flashlights are lovely to make, but you need to understand physics and be willing to spend some money to buy the electrical component. However, when you are done, you will appreciate the outcome.
You can make them from metals, and it’s not so difficult to do. These materials are sold on different platforms like Etsy, and Amazon.
- Salt and pepper shakers
Utensils don’t have to be boring, and you can create these beautiful salt and pepper shakers during your next projects. Look at these beautiful salt and pepper shakers above.
This work requires minimal creativity and can be done well, using either wood or metal. The complexity of the work depends on how many features you want to inscribe, but generally, it is not so difficult to make.
Numerous whistles are listed on Amazon, but not all of them are very aesthetic or of high quality. Customers know quality when they see them and will be willing to spend money on beautiful and durable whistles.
This kind is made from metal and is done with medium complexity. You can sell them on Etsy or Amazon.
CNC mill project tips for beginners
As a beginner, it may be challenging to make great-looking CNC mill projects. However, these tips will make your milling journey with CNC machines better.
- Choosing your material
Numerous materials are used for CNC mill projects, and the most common one is nonferrous metal, aluminum. There are different classes of aluminum, and the difference in alloys and temper can affect your machine. However, pure aluminum can act like clay at a microscopic level.
Generally, the rule of thumb is to stick to softer raw materials when doing CNC mill projects as a beginner. This will keep the bed of your milling machine safe until you can maneuver the machine to work safely on tougher materials.
So, whether you are working with metals, wood, or acrylic, understand the texture of the raw material and how it can impact your machine.
- Assembling your work
After drilling and making your carvings, the next thing to do is to put them together. At this point, you will need a fixturing wax, double-sided tapes (for plywood and wood), hot glue, or screws.
However, before choosing a suitable material to hold your item together, understand what you expect from the item. Is it supposed to be a permanent item that will stay in that shape for a long time, or do you want to create something that can be easily disassembled?
Hot glues are great at making permanent items, but screws work well for things that can be disassembled.
- End Mills
End mills are used to make shapes or do the drilling and contouring on a piece of work. Numerous end mills can be used for CNC mill projects, but they have their pros and cons.
However, always know that it’s best to choose short tools. Using more extended tools increases your risk of having a “chatter” or vibration on your work. Also, the use of long tools makes the end mill weaker.
When engraving the edges or type geometries of your items, consider using engraving bits as an alternative to the small fragile end mills.
In most cases, the difference between a high-selling product and a cheap one is the finishing. An excellent finishing can transform your work and clean up the excess materials you missed during the first vibration or other physical activities.
To have perfectly finished items, use CAM software. This software is available in the basic and advanced versions, and despite the one you use, you can still get better finishes than if you used none.
There are many lovely CNC mill projects for beginners, intermediates, and experts. The most essential thing in milling projects is your creativity. With that in place, you can make beautiful and intricate designs that will sell for a lot of money.
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