I've been planning on making this Open Source CNC Jeweler's Bench for a while utilizing a CNC router. I inquired about buying new benches for the studio on campus at the start of the school year and the Dean thought this was something she might be able to do. The current benches are junk for proper posture when sawing and filing and the studio would also just look better with some proper benches. Since there are no funds for buying new benches why not design and make benches using the router. This has been my philosophy with the Digital Craft Research Lab from day one. Buy the tools that allow you to make the other tools you need.
I was so familiar with my old CNCRouterParts router that Chad and I built in the old Digital Craft Research Lab in Milwaukee, but just was not as familiar with ShopBot interface and procedures. After Chris Burns came in to do his workshop on the ShopBot, I felt like I had a better handle on the use of the ShopBot. Well over Spring Break I finally got to a place where I could cut the jeweler's bench. While I was casting and anodizing in the main studio, I pulled up the file and got the CAM side of things in order so I could test one out. I probably should have cut a test bench in cheaper plywood, but I decided to go for it in birch ply. The bench is made so it doesn't require any fasteners or glue and it just goes together with the slot and tab construction. It takes one full sheet of 3/4" and one full sheet of 1/2" plywood. Luckily, I measured everything well and allowed for tolerances to not fit too tight or too loose. I was so stoked when this came together last week. I have so many ideas for this bench and little design tweaks I'd like to do. I still need to complete the drawers, but I went ahead and put polyurethane on the main bench and put it in the campus studio to use as a demo bench.
Since funding fell through for new benches I think I've decided to offer these bench designs for sale until I can raise enough dough to pay for the wood so I can cut 14 more benches for the campus studio. My students are really excited about the prospect of having proper benches in the studio. When I get enough money for this, I would like to offer the plans for free download. I still need to make a few minor tweaks but I'm close to being able to offer the plans. I have dreams of designing a few 3D printable and CNC routed tool holders and tool organization for the bench. The addition of an organizational hutch would be cool. I think this could really become something that a lot of jewelers would want. I also love that the bench is completely flat packable. It would be easy to ship if people were wanting a jeweler's bench cut on a CNC router near them. I'll get some final studio shots of the completed bench up soon and hopefully get the files finalized for download. Stay tuned on this project... more coming soon.
Thanks to Chris Burns for coming to Appalachian State to conduct the ShopBot demo.