Man & Machine: Go Behind The Scenes At Branchflowers CNC Routing

Chris Branchflower with a CNC routing machine

Branchflowers CNC Routing is a premium 2D and 3D CNC routing business. With high quality standards but competitive pricing, they can service a wide range of clients and companies, from furniture and automotive industries to advertising, building, boating, construction, engraving and more.

With a four person team based out of a warehouse in Yarraville, Melbourne, Branchflowers turns digital designs and blueprints into physical, practical products, often exceeding client expectations and succeeding in providing genuine customer satisfaction.

So, if you’re keen to learn about all things CNC and get to know the crew behind the company, read on for an informal yet insightful chat with director and founder Chris Branchflower…

1. What’s your background and how did you get started in the CNC routing industry?

I have a family background in timber furniture dating back to 1936. I bought, restored and sold period building materials for around 10 years.

Prior to starting Branchflowers CNC, I worked for a company fitting out marquees for events such as The Melbourne Cup, Grand Prix and the Australian Open.

After having a back operation, I was asked if I wanted to run a CNC machine with the Co..

The rest, as they say, is history.

2. Who is everyone on the team and what are their roles?

Harsha is from India and he is a 25 year old Programmer / Operator. Gurinder is also from India, also 25 years old and also a Programmer / Operator. They are both mechanical engineers too.

They’ve been working for me for approx. 3 months, and their days consist of programming and operating 3 machines between the two of them for various jobs.

3. What range of services do you offer, and what’s the most common job you do?

The service and process is pretty simple... It’s just CNC routing with the occasional construction job, and the most common job we do is flat-pack furniture and signage and a-frames for shops.

Wooden a-frames made by a CNC router

4. Who are your typical Branchflowers CNC customers and why?

We provide for a wide variety of industries, including builders, home renovators, designers and retail companies.

Builders generally use us for job site hoardings and curved wall top and bottom plates. Home renovators use us to sometimes replicate period pieces within the house, and also for kitchen cabinets.

5. What’s something about a CNC router that most people wouldn’t know?

Most people wouldn’t know that a CNC operates using the cartesian coordinates system. This method of CNC routing dates back to about the early 1970’s, which surprises a lot of people.

6. What are the best and worst materials to work with and why?

We can work with a lot of different materials.

The worst would be anything expensive as errors are possible (but we do our best to keep them to a minimum).

The best would be MDF (medium-density fibreboard). It’s cheap and forgiving.

Cut out designs made by a CNC router

7. What has been your biggest or most interesting project to date, and how did it come about?

The most interesting project that we were a part of was the roll-out of Parklets by Urban Commons, which happened across Melbourne and Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pop-up Parklet system essentially allowed local businesses to upgrade their footpath and street space (with council permission) to offer a better public amenity service and abide by COVID safe restrictions.

The structure could be customised and decorated to suit the businesses using them and easily assembled to provide additional seating (that was socially distanced), bicycle parking and green spaces with plant boxes.

It came about because of the pandemic but also through a long-time customer who was heavily involved in urban spaces.

8. What makes Branchflowers different or better than other businesses like it?

I work towards consistency and teach my workers to do the same, and I pride myself on quality control.

Having 3 routers definitely gives us flexibility and an edge!

The Branchflowers CNC warehouse