Here’s Mrs. Douglas, of Green Acres, making “hotscakes”. If you don’t want to watch the whole scene, skip to 2:24 and watch how she makes the hotcakes.
Vectric has a wealth of free projects for download on their website, beautiful stuff. Recently I made “Cool Cubes”:
… and “Paradise Box”:
If you’ll look at the Cool Cubes link, in the picture and behind the three cubes is what it looks like after it’s cut and before you pop the tabs loose. There’s about a half-inch of waste on each side. I made all three cubes and then designed one myself. So, four cubes x 1/2" per side = 24" x 4" waste. By the time I make a few more to give away, I’ll be throwing away a big chunk of board-feet. So I looked at the layout, and I wondered, why does there have to be waste on either side? Why not let the edge of the stock be the edge of the part? And why have waste between parts? Why not cut between two parts so that the tab connects one to the other, rather than to waste?
Same with Paradise Box: each side is cut out of a piece of stock 12" x 7", to produce a finished product measuring 9-3/4" x 5-1/2". Each side has an angle to it, and two identical sides are needed, so I wondered, why not cut the sides butted against each other , angle to angle, and with the edge of the stock being the edge of the side?
For the “cool cubes”, I found that the rabbets that were supposed to mate up for joinery didn’t, and I had to touch them up on my router table, which led me to decide that I would simply CNC the designs in order down a piece of stock, separate the parts on the radial arm saw (my radio alarm saw, as a friend calls it), and then do the rabbets on the router.
All that waste around the parts is like the “head gasket” leftovers from Mrs. Douglas’s hotcakes. I don’t understand. Is there some purpose for having that much waste, some logical reason that I’m missing? I’ve come to the conclusion that the economical thing to do is use the CNC for drawing designs and cutting shapes and meticulous measurements, and do plain old straight cuts on my saw. Why have the CNC make nine trips around the perimiter of a part, taking half an hour or longer, when it can be cut out on a table saw in less than a minute?