39 CNC Router Projects Ideas That Can Earn You Money

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You might be wondering what CNC router projects are. It is simply referring to things or projects that the CNC woodworking machine can do. 

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The CNC (computer numerical control) wood router is a machine that drills and mills. It is used mainly to engrave things on the surface of non-metal materials with a certain depth mark. 

The CNC router machine

This woodworking machine can serve a lot of purposes. It can be used by beginners, enterprise, and even for those who just do woodwork as a hobby. 

The main task of CNC routers is to cut the surface and carve the design. These tools have helped change the way people carve, sculpt, make jewelry, etc. 

They are also used in producing parts of carving in wood, stones, metal, and plastics. 

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Various software exist that you can use. They make the drawing of an idea easy. They also help you work on the tool part and finish your CNC projects in time. 

These software are called G-code programs. They carry out special instructions with the help of Computer Assisted Design (CAD). 

No matter the CNC project ideas you want to try or CNC project plans, the CNC woodworking machine can help you bring them to fruition. 

These days, it is easier than ever to work on CNC projects. There are different kinds of tools ranging from inexpensive to expensive and they make work easy. 

Beginners can start learning and grow with the less expensive CNC routers and after gaining so much knowledge and experience, they can get production routers. You can purchase the 3D routers or the 5-axis CNC router machine.

CNC woodworking machines have so many advantages:

  • High processing accuracy 
  • Impressive efficiency 
  • Advanced technology 

The CNC router is used by various industries, examples are:

  • Mold industry
  • Advertising industry 
  • Crystal product industry 
  • Technology industry 
  • Tombstone industry 
  • Electronics industry 
  • Decoration industry 
  • Construction industry 
  • Packaging industry 
  • Printing industry, etc. 

Different industries make use of different CNC router projects. 

How To Make Money Selling CNC Router Projects

The first step to take before you can earn from selling CNC router projects is to know how to use the technology efficiently. Be highly proficient with the CNC router. 

You can make this a source of side income or even make it your full-time job – it is a high-paying job. To earn from this, you need to get profitable CNC projects like the 3D CNC projects or the CNC router art. 

At first, you might not make much money because you can’t make profitable tasks. But with time, commitment, constant practice, and effort; you will be able to operate the machine and design projects easily. 

The main aim of this post is to help you and beginners develop and improve projects that can make money. 

The Most Common Materials Used For Making CNC Router Projects

Most of the projects mentioned in this post and almost all CNC projects are made using these common materials. Beginners most especially use these materials since they start with workpieces that are wider and flatter instead of large blocks. 

Here are the most common materials used:

Plywood 

This works best for most CNC projects. Birch plywood is the most used, it is preferred to the standard construction-grade plywood by many woodworkers. 

Baltic birch 

This type of plywood is stronger and free from voids. You will get cleaner edges and joints when you use this plywood. 

In Europe, it is used in making furniture and cabinets. It became popular in the US recently and it is different from the typical birch plywood. 

This plywood has a  solid wood veneer in each layer while plywood has several layers of wood panels. 

Solid hardware

If you want to get impressive designs, use hardwoods like oak and maple. Although they need special tools and bits to cut, they always come out well. 

These woods are used in making high-end products like cabinet doors. Most woodworks need high-quality woods and these are the types used by professionals. 

CNC Router Projects That Make Money

If you are new in this industry, you have to learn and grow first by practicing with small CNC router projects. There are lots of such projects and we will show you some of them. 

When you spend quality time on these small projects, crafting and engraving your original masterpiece, you will improve faster. This, in turn, can help you make good money. 

Below are CNC projects that can earn you a  decent amount of money. 

CNC Projects For Beginners

One thing about the CNC router is that it always brings out mechanical perfection no matter what you make with it. At your beginning stage, start with a smaller project. 

This will help you have a solid foundation and give you a deeper understanding of woodwork. It will also give you an outline of how to hold big pieces in the puzzle. 

Below are simple CNC projects for beginners. 

Pineapple fruit server

This is an easy CNC project for beginners. You can do the cuttings in less than an hour and finish it over the weekend. One amazing thing about this CNC project is that pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, friendship, welcome, and warmth. 

This will add colors to your festive occasions and gatherings of friends and family. 

Personalized keychain holder 

It is very important to start with small projects as a beginner so you can have a good foundation and earn a living in this industry. 

Making personalized keychain holders will help you know how to drill down and have a perfect knowledge of small-sized chunks. 

Bottle opener 

This is one of the easiest DIY CNC router projects. A way to learn how to use a router or test your new router is to create the wooden shape on which to mount the hardware. 

The only limit in doing a bottle opener is your imagination. You can use any shape you like. For instance, you can use a rectangle, any logo of your choice, the map of your state, or anything you can imagine. 

If this is your first CNC project as a beginner, use a simple piece of wood, e.g. nicer plywood like birch. This will make practice easier and more fun. 

Flags 

A flag of your country will look nice in your wall or your online shop. Feel free to add some details and expand your capabilities a bit. 

You can also write new programs and new tool paths for other country flags. This will deepen your knowledge of CNC programming and even challenge your abilities. 

Signs 

A fantastic gift for friends and family members is personalized wood signs. You sell these on your online shop and make it. There are a wide range of signs to choose from. 

You can start by making custom signs for backyard BBQs and home bars. Ornate signs with logos for shops and small businesses are also a good place to start. 

Maps 

This is a whole new world of possibilities. You can use your CNC router to make woodcut maps, it can be simple like a basic map of your state or country or something more complicated, e.g. a topographical map. 

One thing with map CNC projects is that they can be as easy or as challenging as you want. 

If you choose this as your first CNC project as a beginner, make sure you differentiate the level of detail and also the size of the map. 

Make them small so you can easily ship them when your customers place orders on your online shop. You can make an ornately-rendered map of states and countries to decorate walls. 

Cutting boards 

These are some of the easiest CNC projects for beginners. The shape of the cutting board is a basic one (rectangle) however, making cutting boards is a great way to test the quality of your work since they are so easy to make. 

Remember, cutting boards are handy items in almost every house, so demonstrate your creativity by showing nice patterns or colors in your woods. 

These are very popular items in shops and they are always in demand. 

CNC Projects That Can Earn You Money

Customized Paddle Board

Hey! Don’t discard this as crazy yet. You can make money customizing people’s paddle boards. This is a nice and lucrative niche to venture into. 

You can earn a living by making CNC router engraved skateboards, paddleboards, snowboards, and many more. You can sell them as personalized gifts as this is a selling point to many customers. 

Celestial trundle toys

Little children will love this toy and we know toys never go out of demand. You can design this wooden wheeled toy with Vectric’s VCarve software 9!

This celestial-themed toy will keep little children and toddlers busy, amused, and entertained in their own “space race”. 

Vintage parlor box 

Many will love this handy stowaway to keep items and valuables. In the past, the parlors in Victorian homes had a chest or box that contained items they cherished. 

This will add color to modern designs of parlors. These vintage parlor boxes have beautiful carvings reminiscent of that era. You can add a dark stain and flat clear coats to get an aged and well-used appearance. 

Skeleton clock 

This wonderful masterpiece will make a lot of sales. CNC router clocks are highly patronized and there are no limitations to the designs of these clocks. 

You can unleash your creativity with a simple CNC router. 

International cheese board

This is a perfect tool for get-togethers, parties, and any gathering. You can give your cheese board an international flair by putting a collage of different languages for the word “Cheese” at the border. 

Make this design beautiful. 

Fancy box

This woodwork will be loved by girls and ladies of all ages. It is used to store precious items, treasures, hair accessories, and anything ladies fancy. 

You can design this using the Vectric VCarve Pro software

Zipper clock 

Photo of a wall clock, one of top CNC Router Projects Ideas

Do you want to get people’s attention? This CNC project can help you achieve that. It is cool and quirky. It will put a smile on faces when worn. 

This will also make very good sales. It is impossible not to love this wall clock. If you want to make this your CNC project, you can create the 3D components using the Vectric Aspire software. 

Ukulele 

Makers of stringed musical instruments can use CNC routers to design their equipment. With CNC routers, you can deliver a high level of accuracy and even control that most hand-made instruments lack. 

You can create perfect inlays, joints, and curves on simple musical instruments and sell them. Music lovers and players will love this. 

Tree face

Everyone will love this tree project. You simply carve eyes, nose, and a mustached mouth on a wood. Many will love to buy this fun CNC project. 

Yummy cake pedestal 

Bakers and cake lovers will love this. This is the perfect perch/sit for attractive and delicious cakes. You will make sales making this because it is perfect for house-warming, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, and even as holiday gifts. 

If you want to make this, use the Vectric VCarve pro software to create the layer vectors. The main features you will use are the trim tool, circular copy array, and offset vector. 

You may also use the two-sided feature for the shelf-life. 

Spring wreath 

A perfect way to proclaim the good tidings of spring and the warmth it brings is to make this project and give it as a gift or sell. The wreath can have petunias, pansies, and zinnias and many leaves arranged beautifully together around the ring. 

Wall art

This is a very profitable niche to venture into. You can base your woodwork business on wall arts. There are endless possibilities and a very wide range of customers to satisfy. 

Wall arts are needed in the home, workplace, garage workshop, and even in children’s rooms. 

Flowerpot terrace 

This will be a good way to make money from CNC projects as it can serve as a good decorative accessory for any home. 

The weather slat clock

This is an easy and attractive project you can make over the weekend and sell. It is a beautiful décor item in the home and many will love this.

If you like this, you can create the 3D components using the Vectric Aspire software from a photo of weathered and aged slats.  

The man box 

Photo of a wooden shirt; one of the great CNC router projects ideas

This is a perfect gift for fathers and men in general. Men can store all their valuables items in this box. These items include cufflinks, watches, spare keys, change, etc. 

This iconic man box CNC project features a dress shirt and a tile. You pull on the shirt collar to side the lid open and give you access to the contents of the box. This can also be a perfect gift for woodworkers.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations are always in high demand during the festive seasons. You can earn a good amount of money this season by making Christmas decorations for customers. 

The festive season is a good time to make money because everyone is in a spending mood. You can market your Christmas decorations on social media, online stores, and Esty. 

Christmas sled 

This will be a perfect merry Christmas gift. It will add a delightful accent to your Christmas decorations. You can hang this sledge on your wall or door. 

It can also be leaned against a wall, in a corner, rested on a table, or near a hearth. You can also use it as a serving tray to place holiday snacks and goodies and serve guests. 

It will also make good sales. 

Precious notions box

This is a beautiful and precious box to put all your notions in. Notions are small items used in sewing and haberdashery like buttons, zippers, ribbons, thread, needles, and other small sewing tools. 

This beautiful and charming container can be a perfect gift any season. It will make huge sales because it’s not possible not to love these. 

And what’s amazing about this project is that you can make it in a day. So if you need a whole bunch to sell in your online shop, you can get as much as you can in a day. 

Gate keeper’s key holder

Photo of a CNC Projects Padlock mould

This is a perfect accessory for homes with many keys. It features 4 padlock models finished to look like aged metal. It is also incorporated with a wooden plaque. 

This gives it a beautiful and unique appearance. It makes it convenient for you to hang it on a wall and serve you better. You can create the padlocks using Aspire. 

Boat nautical shelf 

Are you looking for an attractive way to display small treasures in your home or office? Then do this CNC project. It is an amazing decoration that can also be given as a gift. 

3D CNC Projects

Beautiful wood engravings 

You can decorate furniture parts and make molded plywood chairs with CNC routers and sell. A 5-axis CNC router machine will help you make unique molding and shapes of various types of wooden materials. 

You can make your dynamic and creative design with a router machine and sell. You can even make a small wooden décor for your home. 

Friends and family will see that ask for decorative wood engravings. This can be the beginning of your sales. 

Santa Claus carvings 

This is another lucrative business for the festive season. You will make a lot of sales from this as both kids and adults will love it. 

Create amazing and beautiful sculptures of Santa and sell them as gifts. This will give a new touch and feel to Christmas gifts. 

You can get 3D models with ease by using fully automated 3D routers. Combine this with computer numerical control. 

With this, you can make beautiful 3D images of Santa Claus from wood, plastics, and any material you want to use. 

Decorative ornaments 

CNC router is the best tool to use and engrave decorated ornaments like flowers. The 3-axis CNC router machine can deliver high quality engraving with high speed performance. 

This will give you the right kind of 3D image you want. These tools can go deep enough to deliver the impression of a 3D model. 

CNC Router Art Projects

Kinetic sculpture

This art will look amazing on a wall. It can be 20 inches and a single winding should make it run several hours. 

This can be created by almost everyone who is a CNC router hobbyist without engraving metal parts. 

Elephant puzzle 

You can choose not to make every router project elaborate and an elephant puzzle is an example. 

This art is perfect for little children and can be sold as toys. A small CNC router can carve this project. 

What you need are a little stain, sanding, and sealer. This amazing piece will be loved by little kids. 

Articulate desk lamp

One amazing thing about CNC art projects is that they make your creative side visible to people. With a CNC router, you can craft different creative projects and sell. 

One of such creative art projects is the articulate desk lamp. This cool carved desk lamp will be loved by almost everyone who sets eyes on it. 

Be creative and make your own version of desk lamps. 

Cool CNC Router Projects

Self-balancing wine bottle holder

This is a wonderful gift idea for wine drinkers and you can make wonderful pieces of this and sell them as gifts. You will make a good amount of money all year round because this gift cannot go out of season. 

This is an easy project also. Cut a board and make the length 10 inches. Then cut a hole 6 inches from one edge. The diameter of the hole should be about 1 ¼ inches. However, this depends on the wine bottle. 

Next, cut the edge you measured from a 45-degree angle using a miter saw. There are many variables so you can play around with this so you can get the right dimensions. 

After getting the right dimensions, you make the designs on your CNC router. 

Extravagant knives 

Customization is what is trending these days and there are many things you can customize to make some cool cash, and knives are part of it. 

A lot of people are looking for custom-made knives. Come up with creative designs and carve them in the knives. 

Robotic arm

Tech lovers will love this. You can make the parts of robot arms from a CNC router on a 40mm plywood. 

This arm will be connected to another device to make it movable. 

Wrap Up

We hope this post helps you decide on the CNC project you want to design and start some real work. With CNC routers, you will deliver perfectly engraved products with a long-lasting effect. Wood turning projects are also in vogue and very profitable – here are some ideas. Also check out more crafts you can make to earn good money.

Lily & The FBM Team
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