What Can You Make With a CNC Machine? Best CNC Carving Projects

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Barriers to entrepreneurship have been taking the edge off, with the most recent one being the reduced cost of own mass production. Unfortunately, the cost of mass production is expensive, and no matter how you try to cut it, it remains expensive. The affordable CNC routers are a viable low-cost option for producing your custom goods. So, what can you make with a CNC machine?

What is a CNC Machine

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Computer Numerical Control takes digitized data to control, automate and monitor the movements of a machine. Therefore, A CNC machine is a computer-controlled device used to carve complex shapes out of wood, metals, plastics, and glass by acting as a panel saw, spindle moulder, and boring machine combined.

Some common machines whose operations can be automated with CNC are lathe machines, routers, grinders, mills, and welders. There are several CNC router projects you can make and sell today. Let’s find out

How CNC Machines Work

CNC machines require software programs to run. They use Computer Aided Machining (CAM), which creates Numerical Controls and tool paths based on 3D computer models. The most common NC language used is the G-Code, which can be modified to work on different machines. With CNC, the designs are mostly 2D drawings or 3D models, which creates the CNC file, the path your cutting tool will follow. Luckily, there are several sites where you get free CNC project files for your carve project ideas

CNC Router Project Ideas

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Down the memory lane, CNC machines were expensive, and only experts could practice machining. Today, even though there is still the existence of expensive professional-grade CNC machines, there are CNC machines that amateurs, hobbyists, and DIYers can own and use without years of training. There are a lot of products you can design and create using a CNC machine most especially CNC wood projects.

1. Custom Signage

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Specialty signage with unique designs strengthens brand identity and a team’s professional image. Custom signage can also be used to give directions and add decorative labels to beautiful home gardens.

The types of signage include name signs, rustic wood signs for outdoors, and changeable letter signs.

2. Home Décor Products

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Home decors are unique and exclusive. With this interesting CNC project, your imagination is your limit. CNC is repetitive, making it possible to produce the same designs in large quantities.

The home decors you might consider producing include wall arts, shelving, bookends, candle holders, CNC furniture, picture frames, lampshades, decorative gates and fences, CNC portraits, and wall tiles

3. Toys and Games

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You can create an enormous variety of toys using a CNC machine. These could be educational or entertainment toys. Some toy ideas to consider include board games, puzzles, children’s letter blocks, dollhouses and accessories, and much more.

4. Kitchen and Barbeque Tools

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The cookware market globally is growing, and an increase in demand for kitchen and BBQ tools is what comes with it. You can be part of the growth by competing with the big box stores in the market.

The CNC can be used to craft some kitchen tools such as cutting boards, coasters, kitchen wall decals, wood-mounted bottle openers, wooden serving utensils, trays, and bowls, salt and pepper shakers, and decorative rolling pins

5. Office Supplies

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Demand for office supplies has skyrocketed because more people are working from home, and other existing office items might need replacement. You can make various CNC-crafted office tools, including pencil holders, desk organizers, charging docks, and craft supply boxes.

6. Jewelry

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Jewelry is considered beautiful when it is unique and brings out personality. CNC machines offer various material options, including luxurious high-value metal and beautiful handcrafted wooden jewelry.

Other CNC machine products include gift boxes, key holders, phone amplifiers, phone stands, phone cases, minimalist wallets, pill pods, whistles, lighters, ashtrays, guitar bodies, flashlights, tree ornaments, and DIY project kits.

Pros Of CNC Machine:

  • Accurate
  • Fast and flexible
  • Contour machining
  • Provides precision, complexity, and repeatability

Cons Of CNC Machine:

  • Expensive
  • Require more maintenance than other production methods
  • Require skilled experts to operate


CNC project ideas can be as simple or complex as we choose. You can use various materials to create a bespoke product for your use or for sale. CNC business is very profitable and easy because beautiful CNC projects can be marketed and sold in online business platforms such as the Facebook marketplace.

Featured Image Credit: waykerm.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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