Create custom, open-source CNC tables for your workshop using AtFab’s parametric program — or just download and fabricate MAKE’s design.
We had just moved into the MAKE Providence office and we needed furniture. I decided to create a set of standing-height plywood workbenches to house our 3D printers and other CNC machines. I have access to a large CNC router, and I wanted to design custom tables tailored to my measurements. And I prefer to stand when I’m wrenching on machines, rather than sitting in a desk chair.
So I used AtFab’s parametric, open design table configuration software to create a table to my personalized ergonomic dimensions. I then adjusted the files in a CAD program, programmed the toolpaths, and cut the plywood on a ShopBot CNC router. The plywood was then sanded and stained to give it the look of reclaimed, weathered wood, and then assembled by hand.
Depending on the tools and supplies on hand in your shop, you can build this CNC Maker Bench for as little as $100 unfinished, up to about $180 nicely finished. (That’s hundreds cheaper than MAKE’s traditional Maker Bench!)
WHY A NEW MAKER BENCH?
If you’ve been to a Maker Faire, you’ve seen the Maker Bench, a sturdy workbench made from plywood, sheeting clips, and aluminum pipe. It’s extremely durable, but at ~$500 in materials, it’s expensive. Plus, it didn’t have the look of finished furniture that I wanted for our office. So I chose to CNC these tables based on cost, my ability to access the necessary machines, and the ability to create a custom design.
This table can be configured into many different variations by customizing the dimensions and joinery. AtFab has several parametric furniture configuration apps in progress, but they’re in Alpha and not yet available — until now!
AtFab generously sent me the Processing version of their “One to Several” table to create the CNC Maker Bench and has allowed me to provide the app to MAKE readers so you can make one too!
The Parametric Processing App, CNC Maker Bench and ShopBot .CRV files are available on GitHub. You can configure your table from scratch or you can skip the app completely and mill my files.
Machine access is an important part of this project. You’ll need to use a CNC router to cut these files. A machine with a 4’×8′ (1,219.2mm × 2,438.4mm) bed is preferred, as plywood commonly comes in 4’×8′ sheets. The larger the sheet size, the easier it is to arrange the parts and less waste material is generated. However, you could make this design work with a 4’×6′ cutting area.
WHERE TO GET CNC ACCESS?
There are numerous shared workshops popping up all over the world where you can access a large CNC router. Check out our Where to Get Digital Fabrication Tool Access page for more on how to get trained at a shop near you, so you can start busting out (almost) infinitely configurable furniture.
We want to see your table variations! Send your photos, design files, tips, and experiences to anna [at] makermedia [dot] com.
LICENSE: In accordance with AtFab’s OpenDesk license, the CNC Maker Bench by Anna Kaziunas France is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from AtFab.