One of the funnest parts about being able to make things in my opinion is to make interesting projects that can not only be useful but can look amazing as well. I like to find ways to reuse or re-purpose materials as this is sometimes the best and most cost effective way to make some thing. With that in mind I set out to make a computer stand that would be used for a dedicated controller laptop for the i2R cnc. I had a small folding table that most of you I am sure have seen at Walmart for around $20 or even at yard sales for no more than $5 (and some of you might even have laying around. They are a particle board table top with colored vainer on them and cut well on the cnc or with a router. You can also do this exact same process with any table top or board you would like.
I started off by removing the clips from the back of the tabletop these clips are held on by two small screws each. These are the clips that hold the tabletop to the x-shaped aluminum tubing stand. For this particular project they are not needed and can be discarded. After removing all four of the clips I used a sanding block to flatten down the protrusions caused from the screws. These can be painted back over later on if you would like. This process however this mainly to allow the tabletop to sit perfectly flat against the bed of the cnc.
After getting the tabletop prepped and measurements taken it was time to design the layout of the pattern for the CNC. I know that I wanted some type of honeycomb pattern and initially wanted my logo across the center of the tabletop. I will be doing vcarve Pro tutorials later on as well as tutorials on the UCCNC program. For this project though I laid out a honeycomb pattern on diagonally opposite corners of the tabletop. Along with my logo in between them. I decided to do pocket cuts on the honeycomb pattern and a vcarve cut on the lettering. After completing the design in vcarve I saved the separate cut files and moved on to uccnc. There I opened up the first of the cut files which would be the honeycomb pattern. this is done by loading the cut file into the program. Using the load file button and then ensured the correct tool path in the toollpaths window on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
Next I laid a layer of masking tape down on the top of the table top where I would be cutting. This was done for two different reasons. One was to give me a bright background for a distinctive mark in the center of the board to allow for zeroing the CNC.Next as I did not know what the lower layers of the tabletop we’re made of the masking tape was a preventative measure to stop any tear out that might happen. I later realized that this was not needed as the particle board table top cut very cleanly so I removed the tape during the first cutting process after realizing this fact. With the tape layer down I marked the center of the board this would be the point at which I would 0 the CNC machine. for those who have never used a C&C this is your starting point for the toolpath that you will be running. next I clamped down the material firmly to the bed ensuring not to have the clamps in any position that the bits of the CNC would come into contact with them.
For this first particular toolpath cutting out the honeycomb I would be using a Bits n Bits 1/8 in downcut end mill bit. this would give a nice clean-cut to the honeycomb pattern. The next cut would be made with a 60 degree V bit with the Bits n Bits Astro coating. this would give the Honeycombs a nice angular look as well as sharp corners on the edges. When laying out the patterns for the honeycomb also keep in mind that the V bit will widen the top of the pattern so if the Honeycombs are too close together it could cause them to merge. With my design in some areas I wanted this to happen as it would look like the Honeycombs had merged into one shape.
With the bed install just hit start cycle on uccnc and let the machine do its work. One thing to keep in mind is that you will have to change out the bits between the two different cuts that would be made. In this case the first cut would be the pocket cut and II would be the profile cut with the 60 degree V bit. This would ensure that the walls of the honeycomb pattern were very cleanly cut. One thing that I did not expect was during the third cut while attempting to cut my logo I had accidentally use the wrong conversion for the tool path which caused some strange spirals within the tool path. This is something that I should have called before I started the machine but as it was very late at night I missed it and it caused a problem with the cut.
To fix this problem I went back into the car and added a honeycomb pattern through the rest of the tabletop. This would not only remove the damaged areas from the faulty cut but also preserve the look of the tabletop. At this point I could have scrapped the entire project and made an entirely new tabletop from MDF but I did not honestly want to waste this material and time that I had put into this. Sometimes things happen and you make mistakes you have to learn to overcome them and find ways to make it work. Don’t be afraid to experiment as well as try something new as you do not know how it will look until it’s done.
After the Final Cuts were made on the CNC I remove the table top and laid down a black base coat of spray paint. This would give the color a black base to work from As well as seal the open wood grain in the particle board to stop bleed through of the epoxy. Make sure to let the paint completely dry before moving on to for the epoxy.
For this poor I was going to be using a total Boat table Top Epoxy. This table top epoxy cheers with a clear transparent look and is designed to be poured onto table tops as it is self-leveling and will come out with a very shiny top coat. For the honeycomb patterns I was going to be adding KP pigments coloring I chose to go with a burnt orange and purple color shift as I thought this would give the tabletop a very unique look. While mixing the table top epoxy make sure to thoroughly mix the epoxy for at least 2 to 3 minutes.
Pouring the epoxy on this particular project was a bit more difficult than the most others. This was just due to the fact that I did not want to flood at the top of the table with one color or the other. So each individual honeycomb would need to be filled individually. This was only difficult due to the fact that it is a little hard to judge how much epoxy would need to go into each different sized honeycomb to completely fill it without blowing over on to the top of the board. I would also suggest using a application syringe which would make filling the Honeycombs a bit easier as you can control the quantity of the epoxy being extruded much easier. In the center of the board I wanted an angular design where the two colors would mix and slightly overlap each other. This would give a look as if the two colors were battling each other for space on the board.
After all of the Honeycombs were filled with epoxy I used a large piece of thick cardboard as a straight edge to pull the epoxy from one side to the other. This would not only slightly mix the two colors in the center where they meet but would also fighting off the top of the epoxy across the table top. I did this from both directions as I wanted the mixture of colors in the center to be somewhat even. Before going back and spreading more of each color combined around the edges of the board and using a smaller disposable piece of cardboard to slightly mix the colors together while also making sure not to completely blend them. This would allow the two colors to be visible around the edges of the board with a black background.Once I was satisfied with the pattern of the epoxy I waited a few minutes to allow the small air bubbles that had been impregnated into the epoxy during mixing to rise to the top before popping them with a heat gun. For the issue may also use a torch. give a few minutes between each time you go back to pop more bubbles. Once you are satisfied with the epoxy pour and all bubbles have been popped of all the epoxy to dry for 4 to 8 hours before applying the clear flood coat. Also if the epoxy is completely hardened before you apply the flood coat you may need to scuff the board with 260 grit sandpaper. This will allow proper adhesion of the flood coat.
Wow the honeycomb epoxy was drawing I went back to the cnc prepared and cut out the supports that would hold the table top and give it the floating appearance on the wall. I cut out the supports and also added honeycomb shaped holes into each support to allow for wire routing underneath the table top. Cutting the supports out with the CNC made things much easier than trying to cut them with a band saw or jigsaw. With the depths set properly on the cut your left with a thin piece of material as well as small tabs holding the material together and you can literally pop them out of the board like a jigsaw puzzle. After cleaning them up and sanding down any rough edges are excess material I painted them with the same black spray paint used as the base coat for the tabletop. This was for no other reason than it would give a bit of a cleaner look to the floating table top. I’ve been set the supports to the side to allow the paint to dry.
It was now time to apply the flood code. This is done using the same Total Boat Table Top Epoxy That was used to fill the Honeycombs. The one major difference is that during this process you do not need to add any pigments or coloration unless you would like a colored clear coating over your project. Again make sure to thoroughly mix the epoxy before pouring it. After pouring the epoxy onto the board use a spreader or in my case another piece of small flat cardboard to spread the epoxy and also allow the epoxy to run in a consistent fashion over all of the edges. This will coat the edges of the board and give it a nice clean look around the outside. There will be some clean up on the bottom of the board but this can be done by using a razor blade or sander to remove these small drips that will be left on the bottom edge of the board. Allow the epoxy to completely dry and harden before you start to remove drips or handle the board.
With the epoxy drawing I began to install and prepare the supports. I did this by marking the height of the support on each stud. I used a level while installing the support to ensure the top of the support was level with the ground. And also used a small piece of flat board to check that the tabletop would be a level from side to side. After both supports were installed and level I then added two small metal clips that would be used to hold the tabletop to the support. Once epoxy on the table top was dried I placed the tabletop onto the supports and screwed it into place using the metal clips.
Now the floating computer stand is ready to go. I’m extremely happy with how this came out as there was a little bit of experimentation that was done and was a bit of a learning curve. The colors and look of the board Honestly still shocked me. As I love how it looks. This is a prime example of how to turn a scrap piece of cheap furniture into something that is special and unique and can also be useful.
What do you guys think let me know in the comments of the YouTube video which you will find at the top of this article. As well as if you want to look more into the i2r CNC you can check them out at i2rcnc.com It’s an awesome machine with so much potential. And with technology like this there is literally nothing you cannot make. Also make sure to go subscribe on YouTube to keep up with my upcoming projects as well as follow me on Instagram at @jpaynewoodworking thank you guys for reading and I will see you on the next one.