Picture of Piggy Coffee Table - CNC Router

As a furniture designer + maker I like to be surrounded by beautiful furniture. When I joined Instructables as an Artist in Residence at Pier 9 we had recently moved to a new office space that had no “lounging” space except for a sofa. We really needed a coffee table to go in front so I decided to design and make one for our new lounge.

Concept: I wanted to make a table that would resemble an animal, in this case a pig. I didn’t want to create a flat surface on the top because by crossing the plywood every two inches or so would give me enough area to rest a plate, cup or anything you want. The overall result was a really sturdy and strong table. I hope you follow along and make one yourself!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials


  • ¾ inch black melamine plywood
  • Shopbot
  • ¼ inch End Mill
  • File + Sand Paper
  • Orbital Sander (optional)
  • Wood Glue

IMPORTANT: measure the thickness of your plywood! I purchased the black melamine plywood in 0.75” thick (19.05 mm) but as you can see from the photo, it was 20.16 mm thick. This is really important to take note because the design has locking parts and we need to accommodate for a thicker material.

LanaM6 months ago

very cool

domenic31 year ago

creative design

hragatron1 year ago

Were tabs omitted to save time? Just not sure if letting the pieces just break loose is that great of an idea.

Actually I just read the note about tabs - gotcha. I highly urge them, you don't need that many, maybe like 2 per piece on a flat edge to make it easier to sand down. Definitely worth the time trade-off vs. potentially beating up the edge of a piece by an endmill. The kinds of edge knicks typically can't be sanded out because they cut into the piece where as a tab extends out, and you can easily sand it out.


what software did you use to design this?

alepalan (author)  Phantomgetu1 year ago
I used Rhinoceros (Rhino), check step 2.
macrumpton1 year ago

Very Nice! I think it would be even more visually interesting if you varied the thickness of the material, adding thinner ribs in between the thicker ones, and maybe make the intervals between the ribs change, denser on one end than the other.

alepalan (author)  macrumpton1 year ago

That is a really good advice!! Changing the intervals from a middle point in both axis could make an interesting effect!

ohmdaddy1 year ago

Really like this one. I have thought of this kind of design for a table, but had not quite put the idea over the hump. Looks great

alepalan (author)  ohmdaddy1 year ago
BLR_RAVI1 year ago
i loved this article..but cnc machines will be costly isnt it?

If you have building skills one can be made for ~$3,000 to ~$4,000. I did one over the winter with 4'x4' bed for about $3500.

alepalan (author)  MoserLabs1 year ago

Cool man! I want to make one for myself too but never have enough time! Is there a kit you can buy online?

The one I made was the Joe's CNC. He sells the plans and by purchasing them you have access to his website. TONS of info on what to use and how to build and bill of materials for costs.

Haven't come across many kits, most would probably either DIY from scratch or buy premade.

alepalan (author)  BLR_RAVI1 year ago
I used a Shopbot Buddy with a worktable of 48 x 24. I looked and found a price list http://www.shopbottools.com/pricelist.pdf
They go for $13K - $15K.
MoserLabs1 year ago

Super great instructable! I downloaded the cad file and will work on making my own. I've done the same style with a stool and took a few go's to get it functional. Where does one score black melamine? I have 4x8 sized in white but it's not ply center it's pressboard.

alepalan (author)  MoserLabs1 year ago

Nice stool, I just saw your instructable. Stay tuned for some chairs I will be posting over the next couple of weeks. I ordered the black melamine plywood from Macbeath http://www.macbeath.com/ in San Francisco.

Asamati981 year ago

Very nice instructable, I just did something kind of similar, using a CNC machine to make furniture with interlocking parts that is, although mine was a chair that I made for my engineering class (IED). Our objective was to create a chair that is self-supporting with modular interlocking parts and that can hold up the weight of our teacher. I think these CNC machines are very cool and I like your design you created too, thanks for sharing! (here's my chair too)

alepalan (author)  Asamati981 year ago
Thats awesome! Great chair! I made some chairs that I will be putting up next week. Stay tuned!
wonder indeed