Making money doing work for hire with your X-Carve

Has anyone on the forum made money doing work for hire? By this I mean someone said “will you make X for me” and you made it and got paid? Another variation on that theme would be where the customer says “can I get a quote for X number of this part?”. You then take a look at the part, analyze how long it will take to carve and then give them a quote for the entire batch.

I’m also interested to hear from folks that haven’t done this yet but have ambition to do so.

I’m especially interested in hearing from any students or teachers who are thinking about this type of opportunity.

Yes. My machine was technically paid for within a week from our other business sales. We do vinyl decals and other misc things and just some preliminary Facebook posts teasing Xcarve products and I’ve had a few friends inquire about signs and I’ve got a company looking to have their designs carved out for them. I’ve yet to post any CNC products on our Amazon shop but I have one chosen and cut. I’ve not dialed it in 100% but starting to make it start earnings it’s keep.


I am just a hobbyist with some pricey “toys” and not technically a business. I have had the xcarve earn back it’s initial investment from a couple of jobs plus a bit of pocket "fun " money .

The biggest was featured here in a blog post that some may remember,

And a I also used it to add an enhancement that would have been difficult otherwise to a couple of items that were custom built one of which sold to a nice profit and was commissioned specifically because of my ability to inlay and engrave accurately into wood.


A couple weeks ago we had a landscaper over to do some work on sprinklers and he noticed four telecaster bodies, 2 of which were made on the XC and one that was on the XC. Later he emailed my wife and asked if I would be interested in building him a custom bass guitar. Same thing happened when the fireplace guy was here, he wants some custom laser work done on his guitar. Maybe I will invite every contractor I know over…


I’m not going to lie, I bought my X-Carve not only as a hobby but also bought it planning to make money to pay it off. I did quite a bit of research before buying one, not only about the X-Carve but about lucrative projects I could make in my area. I also found that no one in my area has access to a CNC machine other than the big cabinet makers that only do cabinets. So I figured I would cash in and see what I could make out of this. I am a huge electronics freak and a designer on photoshop. I’ve done plenty of work on photoshop and have made some good money with and plan to combine those two to make some cool products such as portable bluetooth speakers etc… I actually made my first project and made a dog bone plaque for my dog. It turned out great and it actually generated 8 sales. Mostly camping signs and smaller wooden signs. I plan to sell the dog bone plaques at my parents pet store. I imagine it should bring in a few sales, along with selling some wooden signs at the local market where my parents also have a booth setup.

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I will probably start trying to make things for profit; first I have to get settled into a new house and build out my workshop. One of my favorite small items that I’ve made recently was a present for one of my groomsmen at my wedding.

He’s a big Stella fan as well as WoW; character name Zeebix and faction is the Horde (i.e. the symbol below the name). That led me to put all of them together and make him a custom bottle opener. Behind the slate inlay is a neodymium magnet that catches the cap when you pop the top; right in the center of the faction symbol. Having recently moved to an area with a high concentration of micro-breweries and such I think they might be a big hit.

Another gift was a set of slate coasters; ended up being pretty nice.

Some other gifts were engraved wooden hangers for the women in the wedding party and a pretty sweet address sign for the Matron of Honor. I’ll have to see if I have any pictures to share of those items.



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I started a small Etsy-based cosplay prop making business and used my X-Carve to make more complex models. I usually get commission requests for a particular weapon from video games, movies, or comic books and then draw the design out in Inkscape. Granted, there is a lot of work gluing and finishing, but the X-Carve makes some pretty sweet looking detail.

My shop is called Pine Armory:


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I am currently using my X-Carve to cut out wooden teethers and toys on a batch order basis. I am also doing wooden name puzzles for the same business. I am looking to enlarge my market - name signs and such.


Rocking horses

Name Puzzle

The rest of my business is wood turning and such.

The teethers are made of hard maple and fully compliant with Canadian laws for such. I am making them for someone else who gives me all the specs and designs. Her entire business is wooden toys. She does the details on the teethers with a wood burning tool. The rocking horses and name puzzle get painted with non-toxic paint and clear coat.

My goal, has been personal education. I like to learn. I’ve professionally fiddled with pneumatic(wam/bam ouch!), hydraulic(get the oil dry), and electric(PLC, lock out cage) ‘robots’. Assembled my first ‘computer’ (HeathKit H-8) in the way back days. X-carve put something in our hands. I’m unsure if I’ll ever want to sell anything. Unfortunately, I get bored, and move on($$$).

I’m a semi pro woodworker semi meaning a still have my day job. I bought my XC to augment my woodworking. I’ve just about payed for the machine and all of the upgrades by making signs at first but lately I’ve been making one off parts for people working in the Movie Industry.

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Nice gig if you have the contacts and are located right geographically.

My wife is in the industry, someone she knows asked my to make something and it kind of went from there.


Way to go! Be more creative/proactive than the movie folks. Offer up materials(other than wood?), designs, finishes, delivery, . . . that knock their socks off.

I had big plans to use the X carve for a lot of things for my business but it’s been slow going so far. The learning curve on everything I’ve tried to do has been huge. I have finally gotten to the point where I can reliably mill a pcb with the machine, after many days spent on trial and error. I’ve been able to engrave a few pedal enclosures as well that customers were okay with, but again it took a lot of experimentation to get decent results and I still want much better. I’ve had a local sign maker approach me asking if he could hire me to cut out aluminum for him, but I know I’m going to have to ruin a lot of material and break a lot of bits before I can get results he and I are both happy with. I still am going to have to devote a lot of days where I don’t earn anything to try and master this machine. And spend even more money.

@ReubenEmmanuelBailey how thick is the wood for those horses?

I’m using 3/4" aspen for them. Takes a few times around with an 1/8" bit to get all the way through.

Has anyone sold any V-Carvings?

I have an agreement with a craft brewing company to make signs for them.
They in turn give them out to bars.