CNC Mill Gift Ideas
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  1. #1
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    Default CNC Mill Gift Ideas

    Hello I am a young machinist from Ohio who has been machining for nearly a decade now. My mother turns 50 this year and I would like to make her something with the skills I have developed over the last 10 years. I have access to and am comfortable with design/CAM (Gibbscam), 3-4 axis vertical mills, Bridgeport’s, hand tools etc. I got the go ahead from my boss to use the shops machines after work.

    Do you guys have any ideas for gifts that I could make? I have bounced around the idea of an engraving but haven’t been able to come up with any ideas outside that realm. I want it to be sentimental and really display my craft. Any suggestions or ideas are greatly appreciated!

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    I used to make clocks, crib boards, engraved name plates, and an assortment of other stuff as retirement or 'moving along' departure gifts for folks in my Military unit.

    The crib boards were made of 7/8 acrylic sheet, pretty simple to do except that the acrylic is nowhere near flat, so it required a lot of careful shimming under the blank with strips of paper, to get the whole area that was to be drilled and engraved, within a couple thou of flat in both axiis.

    One of the things that I was going to try but never got around to, was edge lighting on an engraved acrylic panel, either wall mounted or free standing as a desk ornament. There is a LOT more LED lighting goodies around now. This was before they put rainbow barf on ever computer product...

    If you are looking at engraving, find a Vector Graphics manipulation program and work out your layouts in that. I used Inkscape (Free), for Raster to Vector conversions,and outlines, which gives you a scalable vector image that may or may not need much touch up to use. Pretty sure I saved it as an .iges or .igs file, and those were easily imported into Gibbs.
    Dunno if they still do, but Adobe Illustrator used to be available free to use for a month. It's overkill, but...

    Absolutely loads of free vector Clip Art out there, too. I was taking vector graphics of various old Squadron or Unit badges, and various Coats of Arms, and converting them so I could then engrave them.

    Well worth digging through the various Fonts available to you in Gibbs. At one point I took the time to just type out the name of the fonts, in a single layer I could import or open, so I could scroll through them and see the look of the font I liked for a given purpose. Pretty easy to get lost in it!

    Another pretty good rabbit hole to go down, is the tool that you use to engrave the text with. Lots of shapes and sizes of single flute tools available, and lots of distinctive looks to be had by playing with different tools.

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    I've made some really cool ones on the waterjet. Maybe design something up have it cut out on a plasma table?

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    Check out some of the tool paths and results on these "F" keychains.

    #FusionCAMchallenge Winners - Fusion 360 Blog

    Do a whole name or phrase with something like that, it would look pretty cool.

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    Pretty, shiny, aluminum Christmas ornaments.

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    Yep. Unless the OPs mom is a machinist herself she probably isn't going to be real impressed by a gift with 50 millionths tolerances. I think shiny aluminum is what he will end up going with.

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    Titanium ear rings with tiny nuts and bolts. Polished or rainbow ano finish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOTT View Post
    Yep. Unless the OPs mom is a machinist herself she probably isn't going to be real impressed by a gift with 50 millionths tolerances. I think shiny aluminum is what he will end up going with.
    Likely!

    I made a fair bit of "Desk Art" that was either things that attracted the eye or simply looked good and different from what most were usually seeing.

    Some of the things that got the most attention, were stuff like 'machinist cubes'. A cube within a cube within a cube within a cube, each with a round hole in each cube's face. Pretty simple, once you figure it out. Some of the stuff that sat on folks desks, that I made, was either screw-ups and blunders parts that didn't actually look too bad, or they were the 'extra' part that I had made simultaneously to the one needed a the time.

    Or, just a really nicely engraved, different than usual font, and well poished name tag that fit in the standard name tag holder. Lots of opportunity to put a little bit of 'art' in to the project!
    Made a fair few door signs as well, both for the 'position' as well as for the 'person'. Doesn't hurt to sell your capabilities, no matter where you are.

    Reasonably speaking, there are no limits to what can be done. The imagination is about where things limit out!

    I told a fella once, about a Jewellery (among other things) Supply place in Edmonton Alberta (Bedrock Supply, FWIW), that if he could walk around the store without ideas going off in his head like fireworks, then he was either to stupid to see the possibilities, or he had no imagination whatsoever!

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    My grandfather made brass candle holders as gifts. Then my father made brass candle holders as gifts. Now I make brass candle holders as gifts. LOL

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    I've made detailed picture frames with patterns and words meaningful to my mom before. What mom doesn't like pictures?

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    I have made engraved puzzle pieces, titanium fidget spinners, 316SS spinning infinity tops, turners cubes, and things of that sort.

    CNC Cookbook has a great list of ideas
    Holiday Trivets: A CNC Gift Idea - CNCCookbook: Be A Better CNC'er
    20 CNC Jewelry Gift Ideas to Delight the Non-CNCer In Your Life - CNCCookbook: Be A Better CNC'er

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    Maybe OP's mother would like a hunting knife for her birthday.


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