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CNC Routing Wooden Sign

Updated: Jan 24

cnc cut 40mm wooden sign
CNC Routing wooden sign

Wooden sign job brief

We were asked to produce a wooden sign for a local sign company, The wooden sign was to be made from 40mm oak blockboard which is quite typically used in kitchen worktops, The sign was 900 x 2.5m long with fret cut main lettering and an area with a recess to produce some embossed lettering, The sign itself was going into a shopping centre so it was not exposed to the weather, the sign company simply asked us to design and manufacture this sign on there behalf they would then finish the sign themselves with a few coats of clear lacquer.

How to produce a wooden sign like this

To create this wooden sign it was pretty easy to be honset we were sent the basic outline of the text by the sign company which we then laid out in our cad software to produce a basic 2d drawing as below shows

wooden sign 2d cad design
wooden sign 2d cad design

Once we had the basic 2d design done and approved we save and export the file to our CAM Software this is where we program the CNC Routers from. Once we import the design we can go about setting up the job.

Setting up for CNC Routing of a wooden sign

With this wooden sign, it was a pretty easy set up and machining job this is the basic outline of how it was done

  1. Measure the blank piece of wood

  2. Set this size up in the CAM software

  3. Create a 3d model of the job just to check recess depth and overall finish look, see below

  4. Select correct tooling and machine strategies to cut the wood, some tips below on this

  5. Set up the router home position, and machine offsets

  6. Set up blank on the CNC Router making sure it is in the correct position and secured for machining

  7. Adding the tooling required to cnc router , then set all the tool heights

  8. Start machining process, keeping a good eye on edge finish may require a separate finish pass depending on the wood

  9. Finishing cutting check finish quality

  10. Hand sand any areas that my need it

  11. Remove from cnc router once complete and quality control approves final finish

As you can see it was pretty easy to complete this job the biggest issue with CNC routing wooden signs is the actual material itself, Oak normally has a long structured grain which loves to split when you are machining it especially on a CNC router where you are profiling odd shapes in this case letters,

luckily here at Trade Made we have been making wooden signs for over 20 years and we have a vast experience of machining troublesome materials like natural long-grain oak this is a skill all of its own you have to know how the material will react when you start cutting into it this only comes with experience, with all jobs you only get one go at it so you can't make any mistakes that why most people come to us for this type of work

Some tips for CNC Routing wooden signs correctly

All my tips come from years of experience and most of them are pretty simple but overlooked by many people

  1. Ensure all tool is razor-sharp , your tool should be fit it cut your finger please don't do this but that's the level they should be at

  2. Ensure your material is really well secured, wood likes to move, bow and twist when you start cutting into it so good fixing is essential

  3. Keep your tool as close to the tool holder as possible this will reduce vibration and give a better edge or surface finish to the part

  4. Spindle rpm and cutting speed depends on tool diameter really so pay close attention to this as cutting too fast or too hard can burn out your tools

  5. Good cam progaming is essential but this really comes with experience

  6. Do a test cut somewhere on the material to see how it machines make sure it's on a scrap area

  7. Wood will break or split so be cool if this happens, if this happens to you machine out that area then glue a piece of the same wood into that area allow it to dry then re-machine it again.

Hope you like my quick blog on how to make a wooden sign if you are looking something like this manufactured why not give us a call we will be glad to help

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