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Outside jobs with CNC

Discussion in 'CNC Routing & Laser Cutting' started by craigwojo, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. craigwojo

    craigwojo Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    Hi everyone,

    While I am looking for a CNC table, I was wondering if any of you make money with you doing jobs for other companies that need work that can be done on you CNC.
    Being new with what can be done with a CNC table, I was wondering if any of you take on other work from others.
    What can you do with the CNC besides cutting plastic to make some channel letter inserts.
    What and how could I advertise that I can do with the CNC table to make extra money and keep the machine running during low production times?

    Thank you,
  2. TCC

    TCC Premium Subscriber

    Mar 18, 2007
    I am a cabinet shop that just started doing some signs, but I run my CNC almost all day everyday. If not for my own work then it is running cutting parts for other cabinet shops, some counter top work and even have a couple of artists that have me cut things for them. I will depend on what you get for a CNC to what it will work well for. I have found lots of things to keep it running. It also will depend on the program and your ability. Talk to some of the other shops in your area, you may be amazed at who will want things done. :thumb:Good luck and have some fun!
  3. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

    Apr 18, 2003
    I've wanted a CNC for some time now, but never could justify it enough to pull the trigger. However, I do have some questions. I would assume that something capable of a full 4' x 8' would be about right, or do you need larger...or is that bigger than the bulk of what you do? I'd guess as long as you've got the room and the budget, bigger is always better in this case, huh?
  4. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    San Diego, CA
    5'x10' I think is ideal for the sign industry
  5. bigpix

    bigpix New Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    TCC, I am curious, do you use a vac table or clamping for holding down material? I am a sign guy trying to make cabinets (!) for my shop (and maybe a new kitchen at home) and find that often a sheet of cabinet-grade birch plywood will shift on the table when I get some thru cuts into it. Using a Gerber 408 with Vac table, Enroute 3. I use a 1/2" Onsrud compression bit recommended by my local CAD/CAM dealer for cutting dual-veneer materials (plywood, melamine, etc.). I have NO problem with the vac table holding any other substrates like plexi, sintra, gatorboard, you name it. But plywood sheets I have to be very careful.
  6. John L

    John L Very Active Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    I really wouldn't worry about keeping it running. I'd be more interested in making money with it. Use it to your best advantage... don't wear it out cause that will happen soon enough.

    I have a few local shops that I work for but I won't reduce my substantial investment to the commodity level by competing with a table saw or jig saw.

    There are some guys here that make channel letters and I cut all their stuff, but I charge them pretty good for it. It's not just machine time. I just hand the letters to them, so easy. Without me they have to make patterns, cut alum sheets over foam props (off the work table) with a jig saw, holesaw the PK or peanuts holes, drill the mounting holes or rivnut holes, trim the plex off the back of the finished cans, tape the cans so they arent scratched up, wait untill cans are done to wrap the letter trim. Whew.. it's a pain.. I used to do it like that.
  7. Doug Weaver

    Doug Weaver New Member

    Nov 7, 2007
    I have the same router and have had the same issues over the past. I changed some things relative to the vac system and it seems to have resolved the problem of shifting parts and makes clean-up a breeze. The vac table is a series of aluminum tubes with expanded pvc slats mounted on them. They have 1" diameter pockets bored in the EPVC to which the vacuum is introduced to the substrate you are cutting. I removed the slats and re-covered the vac table with a 4x8 sheet of 1/2" EPVC, I had to cut a piece for the end and edge since the vac/cut portion of the table is actually around 53 x 101 if memory serves me correctly. With the entire table covered, I milled the table to level, and then re-bored the vacuum pocket holes. I then covered the table with 1/2" mdf, by means of staples and milled this flat as well. The vacuum bleeds through the MDF with no problem at all and holds the substrate firmly in place. By having the solid sheet of EPVC on the table, the vacuum has no place to escape other than toward the top, which is covered by the substrate. It gives better distribution of vacuum over the entire sheet that is being held down. I am sure you have experienced that when you are cutting, and when your bit cuts through the substrate over a vacuum pocket hole, two things occur. 1st, you have a large amount of vacuum escaping around that area, secondly it sucks that saw dust right down into your filter which both reduces the amount of vacuum to your substrate. Once you remove your cut components, you then have to use a shop vac or compressed are to clean out those vacuum pocket holes that are now plugged with saw dust or whatever scrap you are cutting. Using the MDF bleeder sheet, you never get any dust sucked down into your filters so you always get maximum power. The surface of the MDF also offers more friction that the EPVC, this helps too. Using a down sheer bit, the material also locks in the part and helps reduce movement. Lastly, there have been times that I have not even used the vacuum system. I place the substrate on the table and in the far corners of the sheet, or in a place that is nothing more than scrap, I have dropped a staple into the material and it holds the parts in place with no problem.

    While I realize that this takes a little time to do and that 1/2 EPVC is a little expensive, it was well worth it and has proven cost effective over the long run.

    Hope this helps

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