In these videos, I wanted to take my Shapeoko 3 a little beyond carving and making signs. I have built large format cameras before but never with a CNC machine, and never in plywood. Birch plywood is beautiful, lightweight and affordable. I do use several other tools as well, but the primary structure of the camera is cut using the Shapeoko CNC. I also try to cut brass with the Shapeoko for the first time here, and it was no problem (even with a tiny 1.8mm bit).
Part One (Part two below this video)
For software running the Shapeoko I used:
- Adobe Illustrator
- UGS (Universal Gcode Sender)
Part Two (more text below the video)
The project turned out quite nice, but there are a couple of flaws here and there. I tried to fasten the vacuum hose when the Shapeoko was running; unfortunately, this caused an indent in one of the corners. Not very smart. There are also some chip outs here and there both from the CNC router and the table saw (it is after all plywood…).
I used a water based finish hoping to avoid yellowing the wood, but it did not work very well. I usually use oil/poly mix for the finish but wanted to try something different. I am not very happy with the finish. I like the beautiful natural color in bare plywood, but it seems to be impossible to avoid yellowing when the finish is applied. (If you have any tip on how to prevent yellowing in birch plywood, please leave a comment.)
I am new to CNC machining and need to learn more about it. I am quite happy with the result, but there are some things I need to improve.
I hope you enjoyed this project and subscribed to my newsletter and Youtube channel. I will make videos building more high-end cameras in walnut and cherry wood in the future.