In this CNCROi.com blog post, we will be transforming shelves into great pumpkins. These shelves are old and worn school shelving that was being thrown-out but the teacher caught them in time and decided they’d make for a wonderful arts and craft activity for the kids.
I’m pretty sure that these shelves, located in a classroom, are older than me which makes them a perfect material to be recycled into a school activity for children in their school. Essentially, these shelves will be treated no different from our many plastic stencils we make out of mylar to polycarbonate except, they will be painted and made of wood.
This is an important activity as it teaches children in the classroom about recycling – instead of throwing out perfectly good plywood – and also give the laser something fun to do! These look old, and are worn, which gives them wonderful esthetics and a very unique factor for this application.
Generally we don’t feature any customer projects on CNCROi.com but I made an exception in this case as it’s just such a wonderful case study of the power a CNC laser can bring into the classroom and the lessons that can be taught that one person’s junk is another person’s pride and joy (after the kids paint them).
These are not meant to be stencils but this wood was probably the best plywood I’ve cut with our industrial wide-format Austrian laser. Just to give you an idea of what’s possible, this video shows you the type of amazing resolution we can achieve with our laser, this was quarter-inch plywood, the whitewood in the video below is half-inch!
The wood was dry, straight and incredibly well textured from all the decades of kids throwing stuff on and off them. This wasn’t junk by any stretch and it’s actually quite amazing material to work with when you consider the decades of use it has had, it has helped a whole generation!
The entire project entailed custom cutting more than two dozen “stencils”, with the letter being shown representing the child’s first letter in their last name. The cutting process was incredibly clean, I guess in the old days they had more wood in plywood than glue!
The great feature about transforming shelves was whether the files were all the same or different, it made no difference at all to us here at CNCROi.com. The laser cuts “on-demand” and although several of these letters were repeated (not shown), the result was always the same. A crisp stencil and outline.
It just goes to show you the versatility we can offer a business with their products, instead of throwing them out… send it to customers and potentials for promotional and marketing uses! We can mark, etch, engrave and cut just about any material.
If you are wondering how well this paints, check out the video above, depending on how many layers of paint are added, the scratches lessen but for something like this, with such a long history behind it, I’d personally only apply a varnish to showcase the beauty of transforming shelves into great pumpkins.
While transforming shelves into great pumpkins, we also discovered some embedded nails, good thing this wasn’t cut using our CNC router otherwise we would have gone through some bits! What fascinated me about that was the laser would essentially cut “around” the nail, meaning that even under the nail, the plywood was cut (as well as above) but the nail itself wasn’t cut (we don’t have that kind of laser).
Some of these boards were in better condition than others, but there was surprisingly little warping, again, this was the kind of solid plywood you just can’t find anymore! You’d think transforming shelving that’s this old and used would be warped quite a bit but these are almost all perfectly flat and very dry.
The entire cutting process was done relatively quickly considering how many we had to do, I could have done quite a few boards at once but I wanted to do one at a time for photographic and video reasons.
Our bed is HUGE and we take full advantage of it when we can… which is why client projects are fun… because things are optimized to the hilt as nobody will ever see the light of day that we did it or how we did it. This shelving transformation blog post is a great illustration of that.
The applications of projects we could have done with this material are endless, it would have been fantastic for model making due to the quality of the plywood, great for signage and stencils due to its straightness, amazing for jigs and just about any other use in the shop or for our clients. We also could have made great custom business cards out of these too, transforming shelves into great pumpkins is just to give you an idea of what’s possible.
There was very little waste left after we CNC laser cut these pumpkins out of the plywood. We could have also made this project using our industrial CNC router but my concern was that the wood was pretty brittle and transforming shelves into wood full of splinters wasn’t in the cards.
Throughout the cutting process, very little vapor was seen, due to the dryness and quality of the plywood. This meant that the video showcasing the cutting of these boards is incredibly clear. This is also due to our extraction capabilities and gas kit, basically pushing what little smoke there was being produced quickly out of our Trotec Speedy 400 flexx laser.
I hope you enjoyed the vision that the teacher who rescued this fantastic plywood for their class had… I wish more people were as imaginative to see alternative uses for perfectly good material!
The above video shows you just how creative we can be when it comes to plywood of all shapes, sizes and applications. Wood is great to work with and we have a lot of it in the shop!
Are you looking for a passionate CNC laser company that wants to make awesome stuff for you? Contact CNCROi.com today!