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Thread: Cabinet making - CNC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts

    Cabinet making - CNC

    I am sympathetic to those that believe that CNC has undermined the cabinet making efforts of craftsman made cabinets.

    I am not here to belittle any efforts of a craftsman - that is just NOT me.

    YES - it is true that cabinet carcases CAN be cut out of full sheets of sheet stock, and the holes drilled. Yes that would "seem" to undermine the cabinet maker - and yes to some degree it does.

    There is a LOT of discussion that can be had in that argument ---- THAT - is NOT where I want to go with this particular thread.

    This is a little bit of an aside to my remodel project - but part of it.

    My little machine is only a 24 x 24 machine, so I am limited by at least ONE of those 24's. I can do 24 on the "Y" and about any length on the "X" - but only 24 at a time.

    I will build a 48 x 48 machine AFTER the kitchen is done - ironic ain't it?

    Today at lunchtime at work I was designing a 22x22 corner cabinet. There are a bunch of pieces to it. I need to do more on the design side of things but I will post a JPG when I have the design done.

    With the CNC - I can cut out some of the parts. OK there is the dig part. Let me ask --- I can cut the parts on the table saw - or I can cut the parts on the CNC - WHAT, the heck is the big deal there. The CNC will be more accurate. NOW - I can ALSO - do the dados in the SAME setup on the CNC - the dados will be FAR better than my dado jig on my workbench - a LOT easier and a LOT more accurate too.

    Some of the parts will not fit on my 24 x 24 machine - so table saw it will be.

    I have yet to see anyone in a home hobby shop build cabinets while using their CNC machine.

    I know cabinets shop people that do it professionally, but not home hobby shop people.

    This will be a first for me.

    It's gonna be a while before I get there - but by summer I should be in full swing on cabinets.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    This will be interesting to watch. I realize that speed is probably not a priority on this project, but which do you think would be faster, the CNC of the table saw?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    No question that the table saw can cut out straight parts faster than a CNC. But the advantage of the CNC is nesting... optimizing the layout so that smaller parts are cut from what would be the scrap of the larger parts, meaning that there are limited long straight cuts for the table saw.

    I have toyed with a simple CNC for dadoes and shelf holes - simple enough that I don't have to invest twice the cost of the hardware in special software. No nesting, just a cheaper simpler line boring machine.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I think any shop that has the arsenal should use what is at their disposal no matter what the machine, that is why we invest in them. If I had one large enough I'd use it. The repeat ability and accuracy of the cnc can cut waste and speed production (if not for one-offs). Save those cam files and use them for other jobs down the line, they would be worth the time invested.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    What Darren said If I had one it would be the got to machine but I don't so it's not.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    This will be interesting to watch. I realize that speed is probably not a priority on this project, but which do you think would be faster, the CNC of the table saw?

    Vaughn - short answer - the CNC will be "overall" much faster.

    Well - not my machine - because it is older and slower.

    On a newer machine - and the machine that I will build one fine day - the cut speeds are REALLY fast. I would challenge anyone to cut on a table saw as fast as a real CNC machine. We are not talking Shark at this point. The full blown CNC will cut at 300 inches per minute easily. I can push "maybe" 75-100 inches per minute on my table saw, and that is FAST. You just cannot control it if you go too fast while holding it with your hands. Also, the table saw can only handle ONE cut - ONE setup. The CNC will take 2 depths or 3 depths of cut, but do the ENTIRE shape - any shape, even radiuses, WAY faster than a table saw.

    On a machine that can hold a full sheet 4x8 all the cuts can be made at one time. That would include the dados and any drilled holes.

    If there is a series of adjustable shelf holes ya know those rows of 1/4 holes, the CNC will FLY through that stuff much faster than I could get a setup together just to get started.

    The little cabinet that I will be doing is a corner cabinet. It's sorta like a square with a flat 45 degree angled front to it. On a table saw - I will cut the square - maybe two setups. Then I need to cut the angle. I would most likely setup a guide and cut that with my circular saw. Then - I need dados. I need to setup my dado jig for my router - than rout the dados.

    On the CNC - I make a pretty simple setup - simply cut out the shelves with angles. That is a REALLY easy setup.

    On the dados - the pieces are too big for MY machine - but if it were big enough (my new machine will do it) I would just mount a panel - and cut the edges - then dado in one shot. There is NO WAY, my conventional methods can compete with that. Then the accuracy is far superior on the CNC.

    On my side pieces - I will cut on the table saw - then CNC the dados. I will also miter the corners - that is table saw, only because I don't have cutters and maching room on my machine.

    When I do this - I will video - and take pics and post the entire process.

    I am not going to video the entire cabinet build as there is an entire kitchen going together here - but the corner cabinet would be nice to document.

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