So, you've just finished your CNC router/mill build, and you need something to make.  Try the hand bowl, which is extremely cool.

For your next project, try this one.  I always had a fondness for the works of M. C. Escher, so i decided to make the reptiles out of wood.

I started with a dxf from here, but quickly found that the 1/8" diameter end mill couldn't hope to cut out the sharp internal corners, so I had to modify the drawing to allow for the tool diameter.  For those of you with a laser cutter, you can just ignore this instructable all together and cut away.  The laser definitely has some serious advantages here:  zero material waste, perfect sharp internal corners, etc.

This instructable will show how I started with a non-CNC-able tessellation and modified it to allow for CNC-ability.  It's not as simple as it seemed at first. 

For this, you'll need:
  • A tessellation pattern to start with (I used the M.C. Escher reptiles)
  • A CNC router/mill
  • A parametric 2-D (or 3-D) CAD program with the ability to place multiple identical blocks.  I used the free and quite good SolidEdge 2D Free.  
  • Some wood.  I used 5.2mm (.2") birch veneer plywood from Orchard Supply.  It's $10 for 24" x 48" x 1/4".  Real solid hardwood would be much better because the birch veneer tends to fray and peel.
If you simply want to download-and-go, you can grab my DXF, or even the gcode.  Both the DXF and gcode are made for a 1/8" end-mill.  You can download the SoldEdge drawing as well if you want to change the tool diameter.

A quick index of attached files:
  • Etch.ngc:  the gcode to etch the lines on top of the reptiles
  • Outside.ngc: the gcode to carve the outline of the reptiles. 
  • *.dft working files for tracing the reptires.  
  • lizard final.dxf:  the .dxf used to create the g-code.

Step 1: Import Your Image Into Your CAD Program

This instructable will use SolidEdge 2D as the CAD program.  There are probably other/better ways to do this, but this is how i did it.  Let me know if you have a better way!

Take your stating image, say a reptile, and import it into SolidEdge.  I use the 2D model view for just about everything.

Insert->Image.  Get it sized to the size you want to print it.  In this case, about 2".
<p>1/8&quot; radius is NOT 1/16&quot; diameter; 2 * 1/8&quot; == 2/8&quot; == 1/4&quot;</p>
Heh, oopsie!
<p>No problem&hellip; _LOVE_ the Escher Geckos! Gonna give it a go on my CNC router. Note: Although you can't cut out a point (because of the diameter of the drill bit) you can round off the piece that fits into where you can't cut the point so it's the size of the drill bit (and fits perfectly!).</p>
<p>Hey, I never saw that you made this! Very cool. Looks great.</p>
Plenty of detail here, where do I vote for this one?

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