Week 9- Learning Project Update!

It’s been a busy few weeks since my last update! With school and extra-curriculars in going in full gear, it’s been hectic to say the least.

Budgets Get the Best of Us

For those of you that read through my last update, you’ll know that we’ve been discussing ordering a CNC router for quite a few months. Unfortunately, through discussions with my admin, I’ve been told that we need to press pause on ordering a CNC due primarily to budget concerns. I’ve been told we will have a better idea of how the budget will look by the end of November, and we can reapproach purchasing one at that time.

While this is also unfortunate for my Learning Project, it certainly doesn’t mean the end of it. As I mentioned in my last update, I tend to obsess over new interests, and CNC routers certainly have me cemented in obsession. The number of forums, videos, reviews, and company websites that I’ve explored over the last few weeks is almost embarrassing to admit. When we get to a point in being able to order one, I know this research will do us well in getting full value for each dollar we spend.

Helping Hands

Although I likely will not be able to learn much about CNC routers within our school as I originally envisioned for this project, I’ve come up with a couple alternatives that will help me in getting to the same end goal. I’ve approached two members of our community, both of which currently own a CNC Router, and asked for assistance in learning, and cutting out a few pieces. I’ve been lucky enough that both individuals (a family friend, and a local cabinet maker,) are very willing to have me in and show me some of what they know.

Decisions are Made

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that making a decision is a victory in itself for me. Weighing the pros and cons of a purchase, often with painstaking detail, has become part of my life. That being said, I’m happy to note that I have decided on machines in each price bracket you see below:

$1000-$2500: LongMill by Sienci Labs

$2500-$6000: OneFinity Woodworker/Journeyman

$6000-$10 000: Axiom Iconic Series

$10 000-$15000: Axiom Pro Series or Laguna IQ Series

I’ve also selected using Fusion 360’s CAM feature in combination with Easel as my software to start out. When budget allows, I will purchase VCarve as an upgrade. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I am going to stick with Canva to create a “Beginner’s Edition” for CNC routers.

Building Progress

Until I am able to meet with one of my community partners and see the CNC in person, I am ‘stuck,’ with designing. Although I am fairly inexperienced, I love using Fusion 360, and learning about the endless features that are built in within it. Below are a couple views of a basic sign I designed. I plan to test out a cut with this design, and increase the complexity if I achieve success with this. As a bonus, I also learned some rudimentary Adobe Illustrator skills, that assisted me in this project, and will be of great benefit in future projects.

Big thanks to Curtis Norman for letting me borrow his hashtag! I loved it the first time I saw it, and thought it would be a great unofficial slogan for this course. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for this sign or other carves. If the first one goes well, and I can line up more time, I’d love to try other things.

5 thoughts on “Week 9- Learning Project Update!

  1. Way to take this huge setback in stride! I am sorry to hear that all your research and work to secure a CNC router has not led to you getting one for the school. You have done so much learning on this machine and the various programs that go with it in preparation. Thank goodness there are some nice local people willing to help you apply some of what you’ve been learning. Your design looks great!! I look forward to hearing about the experience of actually utilizing a machine and learning from an expert.


  2. Hi Colton. I have been reading your posts and admit I had to do some research on what the heck is a CNC router and why does Colton think this is so cool. So I did find out that a Computer Numerical Control router’s tool paths are controlled by means of a computer though CAC – Computer Assisted Design. Yes, this is quite the machine that would be a great addition to your practical and applied arts program in your school. Great idea to connect with an expert to research applications and utility.
    I am curious on how administrators determine school budgets for capital purchases. Do you have any say in this?
    How are you using Canava as a Beginner’s Edition to CNC routers?


  3. Sorry to hear about the decision your admin made. Budgets are the worst. If we only had an infinite amount of money. Maybe you need to tweet Elon, or at the very least some affluent people in your community. Maybe you can get a fund going and get your machine? I know that there are a lot of limitations involved in doing this, but it may be a route to take? Or an approach at least. Even though it wasn’t what you thought it would turn out to be, it looks like you have been putting in the work and learning. That’s the part that really matters. Hopefully it comes true soon, but for now, you are doing a great job!


  4. Colton, while the temporary pause is a bit discouraging, you have taken this is stride and have continued on this learning journey that will make a big difference when the machine finally lands in your school. I appreciated reading about your use of Fusion 360 and Adobe Illustrator skills. Nice work on the course hashtag/sign, do we each get one? We should look at bringing you down to the Estevan Comp for a day to work with our teacher on the CNC machine. Might be cool to get some experience on the big table. I know a person who might be able to make that happen!


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