Introduction: CNC Flight Tray

About: Wood working and electrical engineering....oh yeah and building stuff

Here is finally a classier way to serve up your favorite drinks to your favorite people. This flight tray holds three 3" glasses all supported by two metallic handles that blend in with the color of the curly maple.

If you are interested in the 3D file I used click here:

The feet and handles can be found here:

As I have been getting more into woodworking my projects have become more and more profession looking, I believe this to be a prime example of that. The cliff notes of this project are as follows:

  • The Flight tray was milled on a CNC machine
  • Sanded to 360 grit
  • Finished with Danish oil and Poly
  • Handles attached

Step 1: Tool Paths

Setting up tool paths for the first time can be daunting especially for a beginner. I will help walk you through step by step so by the end of this you will have learned how to create tool paths as well as have a fantastic piece to add to your home.

The tool paths I used are as followed:

  • 2D part trace - this is used to trace the part
  • Face - flatten the material in reference to the machine
  • 2D pocket - mill the pockets that hold the cups
  • 2D pocket 90deg - this operation is the same as the last except it is rotated 90deg to remove ridges left by the bit.
  • edge - mill the round over on the edge of the piece
  • edge 90deg - remove the steps along the edge by rotating the tool paths 90deg
  • part trace - cut out the part from the stock while leaving tabs.

Each of these operations used multiple passes to achieve the desired depth.

Step 2: Milling the Part

I didn't take any pictures while I was milling the maple so while I was milling a 2nd piece out of some Jatoba I snapped these. A few items of note here, I was using a 1/4" straight cut bit so it doesn't entirely look like the model in cad, this was because I didn't have a smaller diameter or a ball nose bit at the time. Also you may notice the amount, or lack there of clearance. It was a nail biter while the CNC was making its first pass.

  • After milling this operation 2 times i have a few tips so that yours goes better!
  • Mill out a trace of the part first, this will allow you to double check that your stock is big enough!
  • Use a smaller diameter bit for a better final texture
  • Don't mill out the round-over along the outside edge of the piece. This can be done easily with a 1/2" round over bit.

Step 3: Finishing

Sanding was done by hand from 120 grit to 320 grit to give a smooth finish. After dust was removed the tray was flooded with oil and left to sit for 30min. Then I came back wiped the excess off and applied another coat, this process was repeated every 15min for a total of 4 coats. Then the piece was left to sit for 72 hrs so the oil was able to dry completely. The Polycrylic was applied for a total of 4 coats with a light sanding using 320 grit paper in-between coats. The handles and feet were then added after the final coat had about an hour to dry.

Cliff notes:

  • Sand
  • Oil
  • Wait 72hrs
  • Poly-sand
  • Assemble