CNC Mill Project – Wood Tic Tac Toe Board

May 20, 2016 – I am fortunate enough to have a Roland MDX-40A CNC mill in my classroom provided by my generous highers up.    The learning curve on a CNC machine is a little steeper than 3D printing.  There are so many different settings it was intimidating to even a #giftedhack like me.

My computer lab was re-imaged last fall and for some reason I lost the driver and the computers no longer recognized my machine.  The lab  got re-re-imaged recently and I decided to try to get better at using the CNC.   There are some projects that are provided by the vendor for use in the classroom and I have already done all of them.  Most of them take a long time (hours) for the machine to cut out.   I wanted something that each student could mill in a relatively short period of time.   I have attempted to design several projects for this machine and had mixed results.  Some were great and others not so good.  I even managed to crash the machine a few times (not good).

I did a quick Internet search and found a nifty 3-D cut tic-tac-toe board complete with milled Xs and Os.  I decided to give this one a try.  It was simple enough.  All the machine had to do was mill out the depressions in the top of a board.

I sat down with Autodesk Inventor and make a quick 3D model of the game board (#giftedhack).   I used a shelf board I had in the lab (9.5 inches x 7.5 inches, 0.75 inches thick).  The game squares are slightly over 2 inches square.

The milling process still took almost two hours. but the results were good.

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The CNC mill at work.
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Final Cut

I used a 1/4″ diameter round bit to cut this and I think that is why the squares have slight impressions of cut lines in them.   If I do this again, I will use a flat square bit.

For the Xs and Os, I drew some basic block letters out in CorelDraw and cut the shapes out of lauan plywood.   The board, Xs and Os were all stained with different stain shades and sealed with spray polyurethane.

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Stained and sealed.

I added another twist to the game pieces and brought in some black and white images of Trump and Hillary Clinton to make a 2016 Election Decider Machine.  It beats flipping a coin.

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2016 Election Decider
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