Top 10 Things to Make with a CNC Machine

The beauty of a CNC machine lies in its versatility.

Whether you want to use it on an industrial scale for business purposes, or to make handy items for use around the home, a CNC machine has the computer–controlled capacity to make almost anything.

It can service a multitude of industries and work with a wide range of materials, to make everything from signs, shop fitouts and flat packs, to seating, sneeze guards, guitars and much more.

Even though the opportunities are pretty much endless, we've narrowed down our top 10 favourite uses for a CNC machine for both domestic and commercial purposes…

1. Signs

One of the biggest reasons for using a CNC machine is for custom signage, stands and displays.

Popular sign types include a–frame signs, pylon or monument signs, post signs, channel or dimensional letters, blade signs and wayfinding signs, and they can be big or small and basic or intricate in their design.

CNC routing a sign is simple, as inlays, logos, letters, font preferences and measurements are all put into the computer and carved out by the machine.

They are usually made out of wood or acrylic, to ensure they can cope with different exterior as well as interior weather conditions.

2. Shop Fitouts

A shop fitout is the process of designing and arranging the inside of a retail space to make it suitable and ready for incoming business operations. 

A CNC machine is a great way of making a fitout because it allows you to cut, mill and shape to precise specifications, which is crucial when creating bespoke shelving, counters, cabinets, panels, trusses, doors, racks and more for a shop.

To be hard–wearing and long–lasting, they are commonly made out of timber, plastics, foams and compact laminates.


3. Flat Packs

Flat pack furniture is furniture that has been designed to come in easy to assemble, flat sections, which are arranged and packaged as a kit.

Most of the items you’d want done in flat pack form are wardrobes, book cases, tallboys, cupboards, cabinets, TV units, shelving units, desks and even dog kennels.

As well as being favoured by individuals who like their simplicity, lightweightness and compactness to load in, they are also handy for businesses who might need pop–up fixtures for their site offices and storage rooms.

The nature of flat pack furniture makes it the perfect project for a CNC machine, as it can shape and cut out all the components needed from one CAD file (computer–aided design). They are most frequently made out of chipboard or MDF (medium–density fibreboard).


4.  Seats

Similar to flat pack furniture, seating is yet another necessity that can be given the CNC treatment.

Thinking modular seats and stools for indoor and outdoor occasions, bench seats for parks and public space as well as toilet seats for personal or commercial use.

A CNC machine can sculpt a 3D chair seat, backrest and legs. Once again, wood is good for this application (like plywood), as well as aluminium–based Alucobond.

5. Sneeze Guards

A measure that was introduced in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the roll–out of sneeze guards in customer–facing jobs and industries.

A sneeze guard is essentially a large shield that acts as a physical barrier between two people (most often an employee or manager and their customer). They can be used in a lot of different situations, from supermarket checkouts, doctors offices and pharmacies to in the workplace at the reception desk or between cubicles.

Here at Branchflowers CNC Routing, we sell pre–made, thick, acrylic sneeze guards starting from $100. Have a look at our listing for more details and information. 


6. Guitars

These days, CNC machining has become a popular tool of choice for guitar builders and hobbyists.

When making a new axe, producing parts that are repetitive and accurately sized (as well as making a mix of 2D and 3D components that are used in the construction) is important, and this is why a CNC is so good for the job.

Carving and cutting with a router is a lot less intensive and time consuming than the traditional handmade methods, and will make mass producing guitar bodies and necks a breeze.

Most guitars are made out of hardwoods like Ash, Oak, Maple, Mahogany, Walnut and Holly.


7. Backdrops

Much like shop fitouts, backdrops and backgrounds are good jobs for a CNC machine.

It can be anything from a few panels or props for a movie set, to large scale wall decals for a wedding, birthday, eatery or shop.

It can be plain and simple, like a shape that can be painted over or added to, or an intricate design carved out with linework, lettering and custom scenery.

8. Picture Frames

Picture frames might be a dime a dozen, but it’s not always easy to find the right size and style.

You might want to replicate a vintage frame you used to have that has been damaged and is beyond repair, you might have photos that come in unusual shapes and need custom casings made, or you might need a series of uniform frames made up for an exhibition or event.

Whether the type of frame you’re after is basic and standard size, or it has ornate edgings and detailing, a CNC machine can carve one out for you no problems.

Material options are pretty broad and come down to preference, but wood is the most common choice.


9. Kitchenware

Whether you need them for your own home, in a cafe or restaurant or as displays units in a homewares store, custom kitchenware is another great use for a CNC router.

You can make all sorts of useful things like knife blocks, chopping boards, bowls and trivets.  You can have your cooking utensils and accessories branded with your business logo or family name, and you can have a range of items made in the same style to make up a set.

Carving kitchenware out of solid timber is the best way to go as it can handle heat and moisture well and is pretty easy to clean and keep sanitary.


10. Toys

Sticking with mostly personal products – did you ever realise how handy a CNC machine would be when making toys?

We’re talking about everything from stacking blocks and board games like chess, checkers and backgammon to puzzles, pegboards, tic-tac-toe and dominoes to dollhouses, rocking horses, mini cars, cranes, trains, trucks and more.

We recommend CNC crafted toys to be made out of either wood or plastic so that they are durable enough to withstand a lot of love and regular use.