First Project - Catchall for my Nightstand

CNC Newbie here - So I made this catchall from a table I saved from being sent to the dump. The table was about 70 years old, and the legs and chairs had been glued and screwed and repaired to no end over the years, but the table top was in perfect shape. If I had to guess it was made from Oak but I am not sure about that.
I made this catchall similar to one I had that was made from some form of plastic or acrylic, and added the slot to hold my phone for charging at night since I use my phone as my alarm clock. I love how it came out even though it was very rough and needed a lot of sanding. (Still does to be honest.)
I used the .25 straight cut bit that came with the machine, but would be very interested to know what bits others are using to get a smother finish because this was just wayyyyy too much sanding.
I also read a thread from back in April 2015 where Easel would have a detail cutting mode - is this nearing implementation? If not can anyone suggest how to go about running a second pass on the project with a detail bit of some sort.
Thanks for any feedback,
Katrina

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Looks awesome! I love that its also a phone stand!

That looks great!

You can get a cleaner finish if you do a second pass that’s just a few thousandths thick. You can do that by adjusting the cut depths so there’s a couple thousandths on the final pass. For instance, if I want a .500" deep tray and can cut .125" in each pass, I’ll make my cut depth .122. That way, the final pass will just take off .012", which will eliminate most of the need for sanding.

You can also use downcut bits to prevent having fibers along the top, although I tend to remove those with some green scrubbers on a shaft that I chuck up in my drill. Nice clean finish, just a little bit of hand sanding is all that’s left.

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Very nice! I like the clean lines and practical application!!!

I really like how the phone can slide out from the top or the side. very clever. If it was not there I could see myself dumping the tray every morning either from the initial alarm or from Snooze. Lol.

Very nice. I showed my girlfriend, now she wants one too. Lol.

Thanks Travis, I have a wood phone dock but to have that and the catchall on my nightstand looked a tad cluttered, so I went back and redesigned it adding the phone dock section. Sorta one piece for everything!

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Gah, now why didn’t I think of that…That makes so much sense. I will try that on my next one. Thanks a ton for that info. I don’t mind a bit a sanding but with the bit I used the sanding went on and on and on and on and on…

@BillArnold Thanks! Glad you like it!

@MichaelGrigg Thanks! (Smile) Go ahead and make her one.

There’s a thread Here where the 2-stage cut feature is discussed. All you have to do is post in that thread asking for access and they’ll grant it. It’s worth reading through some of the earlier posts in the thread to get a hang of how the process works.

However, I’m not sure that the 2-stage cutting process is really what you’re after to solve your sanding problem. The way it’s set up now, there’s a rough bit and a detail bit. So, if you have a design with, say, fine detailed text, it would get as close as it can with the rough bit, and then when it’s done you switch out to the detail bit to finish the process. Or, in the case of your excellent project here, you could use a very large bit to hog out most of the tray pocket, and then use a detail bit to square the inside corners. The toolpaths get generated automatically so you don’t really get to pick which bit does what.

Back to your issue with having to sand too much. Which parts did you have to sand too much? The top edges of the wood? The bottom surface of the pockets? These can point to different machine issues.

If you’re getting strings or fuzz on the top edges of your cut you can use a downcut or straight flute bit to get a better edge. You can also use masking tape or frisket paper on the top of your material, which can come in handy for painting the inside of the pocket while keeping the face of it clean, but it can also be expensive and fiddly.

If you’re getting tooling marks in the bottoms of your pockets it’s an indicator that your spindle isn’t true to your work surface. I had to drill out the holes in the X axis endplates to provide some wiggle room for adjusting my front-back tilt on my spindle. Once I did that I was getting beautiful flat-bottomed pockets with almost no tool marks.

All that said, this is a great project! I’d love to make one of these out of some of the walnut or mahogany I got as a Christmas present. It would also be a great place to put an inlay once you get a few more projects under your belt and get more comfortable with the machine.

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This is exactly what is happening. Every place in the pocket that the bit touched, it left tool marks which I had to sand out. So the alignment of my spindle with the spoil board is probably causing this?

Okay, so I will first check to make sure the spindle is true to the board, I think I will just go over the machine again to make sure everything is set correctly. Then I will request to check out the 2-stage cutting process - can’t hurt right? I do have some better bits coming in the mail soon so hopefully that will help also.

Also, I agree this would be awesome in Walnut and my first two tries was with Walnut, but after several mistakes and too many failed projects, I decided it would be best to hold off on using the “good wood”, and use scrap wood until I can get the hang of things better.

Thanks a lot for your help,
Katrina

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Yes, the alignment between your spindle and spoilboard causes the tooling marks in the bottoms of pockets. It will also cause slightly angled walls on pockets and profile cuts.

The better and more precise you are when setting up the machine, the cleaner and less tooling you’ll see in the final product.

Once you get your machine aligned well, and get access to the 2-stage cut feature, using a bigger bit when clearing out pockets can also help with the tooling marks.

Good point @Mike, I didn’t even think about out-of-square. Here’s a link to a forum where we were helping to troubleshoot a spindle that wasn’t square to the board: Having an issue with Y axis not cutting square and Z axis Depth

It basically comes down to using the widest bit possible to carve a shallow pocket, and then shimming the Z axis (and squaring the X axis) based on the resulting sawtooth wave in the board. The large bit enhances out-of-square, so if you can get that to cut flat then you’ll never see the results with a small bit.

I suppose you could run a big bit all over the spoilboard to like plane or “adjust” the Level, I saw someone on youtube doing just that, I can post a link if you want.

Nice idea for a nightboard phone stand, thanks for sharing the photo :smile:

regards Neal

I can see how a bigger bit will show up any errors but you can’t just resurface the waste board without first making the z axis perpendicular to both x and y.

When I get my machine together I plan to put an L shaped piece of rod in the router instead of a bit and rotate it slowly by hand. Adjusting the machine until the tip of the wire remains the same height above the waste board. This should exaggerate any error 10 times more than a wide bit.

I want to thank everyone for their help and suggestions with this issue. The problem has been resolved, and @Mike was absolutely correct in his diagnosis. I first ensured the spoil board was level, then I went from corner to corner ensuring it was perfectly parallel, then once I trued up the Z axis, I ran another pocket job and it came of uber smoooooth! Not one tool path track to be seen. Awesome! :smiley: :smiley:

Now let me really see what this machine can do!!!

Thanks again for everyone’s help,
Katrina

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Did you Publish this?

Yes, please publish. I’d love to see what width and depth you used for the phone holder.

Looks great! Congrats!

@MichaelGrigg I am new here so not sure what you mean when you ask “did I publish this”.

@FrankGraffagnino The phone holder was made to the specifications to my cellphone. I have a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge plus.I am not sure off the top of my head what the dimension of that design is but when I get to my shop on Monday I will be happy to check and post back.

Katrina

Katrina, it means if you put it up on Easel as a project so people in the forum can either copy your project and make it themselves or for inspiration so we can make our own from your idea. And so far, most of us that Ive seen, will give you the credit for your project for making and sharing it and thank you for it. Great job by the way, keep up the good work!

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Oh okay, neat! I wasn’t aware that I could just include my project, I just assumed that those projects were selected by Inventables. Good to know though.

Also, I didn’t make this with Easel but I don’t mind at all sharing the file.

Easel and I are sparring at the moment. Too many failed projects, phantom cuts in the middle of a run, and the constant problem trying to get Easel to connect to the machine. I made the design in Coreldraw, took it over to Markercam, then exported the g-code.

I will read up on how to publish the file so that anyone that wants it can have access to it. The files is on my Office computer so I will look into getting it out for everyone when I get into the office tomorrow.