Instructables

How to CNC a skull

Featured
Really, everyone should have a skull on their desk.  It's an age-old symbol, a memento mori that reminds us that we are not long for this world.  So I set out to make one out of aluminum.  This was my process.  
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: CAD/CAM

Picture of CAD/CAM
Partial Solidworks.jpeg
I designed the skull in Solidworks.  I don't have a ton of images from this part, and surface modeling is a giant can of worms that I'm nowhere near good enough at CAD to properly explain.  I got most of my help from the Solidworks Surfacing Bible, which can be purchased here.  If you're interested in my methods, take a look at the attached Solidworks file.  

I did the CAM setup in CAMworks.  This was divided into a rough area clearance, a z-level, and a constant stepover finishing pass.  I chose to do the rough clearance with a 1/2" hogging end mill, the z-level with a 1/2" regular end mill, and the stepover with a 1/4" ball end mill.  

Step 2: Materials

Tools:
Solidworks
CAMworks
CNC Mill (3-Axis Bridgeport)
Sandblaster
1/2" Hogging End Mill
1/2" Regular End Mill
1/4" Ball End Mill

Materials:
2" x 3" x 5" block of pink insulation foam
2" x 3" x5" block of 6061 Aluminum

I had access to the equipment and materials through my college's machine shop.  The foam was just lying around, and the aluminum block was from a discarded bicycle welding fixture.  
poofrabbit1 year ago
This is great! I did a whole series as an undergrad with the Memento mori theme, I'm a sucker for such things. Well done!
jpelletier37 months ago
looks pretty good!! i have featurecam but not in 3d, can you send me cnc text file?

thanks
could you please add the (STEP) file as well.
hi, would you be able to upload an (STL) file as this would be very usefull, thanks.
Le_KiD_Qc1 year ago
It will be nice if you can put a STEP, IGES or Parasolid files so every CAD/CAM system can open your model and not only Solid Work.
For the rest, good job on the model and the fabrication.
surfwizz (author)  Le_KiD_Qc1 year ago
I've added an IGES file of the model; If you're still unable to open it, let me know, and I can try something else.
Yeah, I can't open whatever kind of file that is in Mastercam.
surfwizz (author)  Don H.1 year ago
Unfortunately, I don't have access to CAMworks right now, so I can't mess around with its data formatting. I will have a more accessible CAD file up soon, though. Thanks for reading and commenting!
curvy771 year ago
i try something like this whenever i can.....but im more of a trail and error kind of man, sooooooo no computer for me.
thebeef21 year ago
Sweet dude! I might have to try this. Nice guide!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!