Bill’s Projects

Written By: Bill Griggs


Bill’s Projects is a spot for me to keep all the little projects I am working on. I am a maker and like to make stuff. Since my blog is really not about just my projects I thought it would be appropriate to separate my ramblings from the main page. If you have any questions about my projects please leave a comment.


Test fitting

Test Fitting the new Gantry plates.

I just can’t leave it alone. I am constantly modifying my CNC Router table to add new features and functionality. I originally built the machine in 2009 and have done 3 major upgrade prior to this. In this fourth upgrade I am adding machined aluminum parts to replace the MDF parts.

The Machine was built from a set of plans I got from Joescnc. the plans showed a basic machine that could be easily built and modified with out the need for metal working machinery. I have slowly been tweaking the machines construction for the last 4 years to the point that it is now a distant cousin to the original. After my 3rd rebuild was so successful I decided to finalize the design in aluminum


3 Axis CNC Router with MDF carriages and Lead screws.


This time around I am adding all aluminum parts that I designed nearly 2 years ago. Time and money kept me from completing the project up till now. I have been slowly chipping away at the project and building the parts one at a time. First I completed the Y axis plates from 3/4″ 6061 aluminum bar stock.

Y axis plate

Y Axis carriage plate.

The new Y plates will support rack & Pinion drives from CNC ROUTER PARTS. The plates will ride on V-Bearing mounted to specially designed steel standoffs. The V- Bearings are fully adjustable for tightness and contact. I did all the design work using Alibre Design and Mastercam.

I will post more information as the rebuild continues.



I got the chance to spend some time in a machine shop this week to work on a project I have been thinking about for a while. I started with some 3/4″ thick aluminum. I milled the aluminum flat on one edge then I cut the aluminum to rough size with a Horizontal bandsaw.

Metal cutting Bandsaw

Cutting blocks to rough size.

I stacked a bunch of parts into a vice on a Bridgeport milling machine and machined them to the finished length and machined the sides square.

Milling to length

Milling the blocks to length on a Bridgeport Milling Machine

Once all the parts were cut to size I took them to a machining center for more work.

Final size

Blocks milled to final size.


I was recently asked to make an award  plaque to be awarded to the local Lions Club. The Canastota Lions Club does some wonderful things in our community. Each year they sponsor multiple teens to attend a youth leadership seminar put on by the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization aka HOBY.  The Canastota Lions also provide a fantastic Chicken BBQ lunch for the HOBY Ambassadors every year. The folks at the New York Central HOBY seminar wanted give a special thanks to the Lions for all that they do.

I made the Lions a plaque using my CNC Router and Vectric Aspire software. I made the plaque out of Maple and used Stencil ink to provide the colors. This was my first time using colored stencil inks on a project. I am happy with the results and the Lions were to.

VCarve First step.

I started with a V – Carved pattern for the center of the Logo.

Added some color with Stencil Ink

Sprayed some Yellow Stencil Ink.

Blue Stencil Ink

Masked over the Yellow and Sprayed Blue Stencil Ink.

V-Carve the Text

Mask the other layers and V-Carve the text

remove paint mask

Remove the paint mask and sand.

finished the plaque

I finished the plaque with Minwax Fast Drying Polycrylic


I have been working on a new CNC sign project for a neighbor. She wants a sign with a picture of a cow on it. I have been doing a lot of experimentation on different techniques to make the cow look good both up close and at a distance. I have been using MDF for the test material because it is cheap and easy to come by (Like some people I knew in college. But that’s a different story.).  Anyway what I would do is try a technique and if it didn’t work I would just cut the next technique over the previous one. Usually I could get two or three tries before I had to change the wood.

CNC Sign Project

I have also been experimenting with different  color stains and paint to get the look I wanted. Here are some picture of the  attempts. When I get a technique I am happy with, I will make the sign in the expensive OAK board. There is no way that this project is economical to make but I am gaining a lot of knowledge. One thing I found is that the Best Bit for doing this kind of work is the Laser Point Bit from CMT.  Here is a link to the Bit I used. I got it on Amazon (Disclosure).

CNC Sign Project Photo V Carve
CNC Sign Project Photo V Carve
CNC Sign Project - Stained Fail
CNC Sign Project – Stained Fail
CNC Sign Project
Latest technique shows promise.
Cow head









I will be doing a complete in depth report on this project in a few days. I will provide a list of all the materials I used and details on the carving techniques.  If you want  to be notified when that blog post comes out why not subscribe to the newsletter or RSS feed.













Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I have personal experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful or I find them useful, not because of the small commissions I might make if you decide to buy something.  Please don’t spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.



Parts Layout in Vectric Aspire CNC Software

Parts Layout in Vectric Aspire CNC Software

One recent DIY CNC project I’ve done is a Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator Cart for my Shop Vacuum. With the help of a friend we took a project from a magazine and converted the plans to be cut on a CNC router Table. Converting plans from a woodworking magazine into a CNC project is not difficult to do and it can be fun. If you have an idea for a CNC Project you would like to see, leave a comment below or Tweet to me on Twitter @BillGriggs.  For more details about this project Click this link DIY-CNC PROJECTS.

Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator Cart CNC Cut Parts

CNC Cut parts of DIY CNC Project




C.N.C. Corner Clamps

I wanted to clear some of the clutter out of my shop which consists of one side of a two car garage.  I looked around for a while to see if there might be some suitable plans out their.  I came across some plans from Wood Magazine which were a good fit.

I have several bench top sized tools but very little Bench space. So the answer was to have a way to only use the tool I am working on and have the others stored away.

Anyway, as I began building the cabinets I realized I needed more clamps and braces. There is a drawing of a neat clamp brace on their website at I decided to draw them up in Vectric V-Carve Pro and cut them on my CNC Router Table.

I modified the clamps to a smaller size because I didn’t have enough scrap Ply on hand to make larger ones.  I added some dogbone fillets to the inside corners. These dogbone fillets allow 90 degree plywood to sit flush with the edges of the clamps. I will post the design files for my modified clamps here.

CNC Corner Clamps

I Modified some Corner clamps and cut them with the CNC Router table.

CNC Corner clamps

CNC Corner clamps take a variety of different clamps.





Fresh off the machine. Clamps will need to be sanded.


Sieg Minimill X2 Belt Drive Upgrade kit

I performed and upgrade to my Sieg X2 Minimill to get rid of the fragile, noisy, plastic gears. There is a full review and a couple of videos posted here.

My Modified Sieg X2 Minimill with Stirling Steele Belt Drive.



I was given a very old laser cutter from a friend who’s shop was updating to a new machine. The laser cutter is an LMI LaserGraver II which is about 20 years old. The machine still works but like most old  machines it is much slower than state of the art machines. Back when they made this machine, most  laser cutters functioned like giant dot matrix printer and only printer (cut) one horizontal line at a time. Printing this way (is called Raster printing) was a very slow wasteful method. Many new Laser cutters will print this old format but will also print in Vector format as well. Vector format allows the laser to follow a line so that the cutter is only moving to areas of the material where something need cutting.

I plan to replace the old stepper motors with newer ones along with a new modern controller. The Synrad 30 watt CO2 laser tub is still in good working order so i will use it as the basis of the new laser. I may use Makerslide as the linear system and discard some of the other obsolete parts.

Business end of Synrad 30 watt CO2 Laser tube.

LMI Lasergraver 2
My old laser cutter needs a facelift.



My New Computer Desk


I wanted to have a new computer desk for my lair but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I decided to make my new computer desk because it is one more thing you can make with a cnc router. I wanted a desk that was more functional than the $39 computer cart I had been using.  I looked around at all sorts of desks to find one that met my needs. Since I had two computers that I wanted to work on and have access to at the same time, I knew needed a large desk.  I needed a desk with space for three monitors, a laser printer, a scanner, a 3D printer as well as a microphone and an Ipad. I also wanted some room for shelves, with storage and to make it upgradable as my needs changed.

It seemed like allot to expect from an inexpensive off the shelf computer desk and in fact it was too much to expect. Well, during my search for a suitable desk I found one company that  has a designed desks which are functional and beautiful. Their product are flat pack furniture made from sustainable woods like bamboo and designed to assemble without the need for tools. I watched several of their Youtube videos about their products and I really liked their work. I just couldn’t afford $1000 to purchase all the parts I would need to make my dream desk. So what’s a maker to do?  Why Make of course.

I decides to reverse engineer the project and come up with a similar desk to meet my desires. I took my handy ….. READ MORE

Corner Desk – I made these desks on a CNC router table. They use slots and tabs to assemble and require no tools.


  1. Robin says:

    Hi, can I bother you with a question? I am trying to do some photo vcarving myself. Until now I used a standard enngraving bit, as a coincidence I recently bought a cmt laser point bit. But I still have problems: if I try to make smaller pictures, the wood between two dark lines breaks leaving a nasty picture. I am curious how you carved the cow witch is not a large picture but you did a very nice job on that! Also interested in how you stain the picture. Do you seal the wood before carving?
    Best regards, Robin

  2. Bill Griggs says:

    Thanks for your interest Robin. I explained exactly how I did the cow carving in a series of Blog posts. The series is listed under CNC sign projects. Parts 7-10 might help you.











  3. Hello Bill,
    I just took a fast look at your blog and I concluded that you are definitely a shotgun. I am impressed with all the things you can do. I can tell that the constant redesigning and improving of your cnc you will soon be an arrow. Someone once said Perfection is not an accident.
    I myself have made some prototypes of garden brick borders ( ). As you may well know one project can inspire you to go on tangents. To make my bricks I first made a wooden mold, cast blanks in plaster of Paris then carve a master then a homemade vacuum forming gig then a plastic mold. Thru constant searching for an easier way to do this I started to research the cost of a CNC Router, no surprise the cost are astronomical. This led me to learn Auto desk Fusion 360, and slowly design one myself, all this to perfect my bricks.
    please see the link below. .
    I am now at the point where you were after your design, my progress has slowed because of money and I am now learning the lesson that without the right connections and access to finance most Ideas are soon laid to rest… if you let the fire burn out. My fire is still going.
    My request to you is can you write a critique of my cnc design and your best advice on how to finance project like these.

    Thank You
    Errison Zelaya

  4. Bill Griggs says:

    Very nice design. Many interesting features. You can save some money by eliminating the second set of linear bearings on the bottom of the Y axis. Use two bearing block on the single rail instead.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.