Chilli Bowl With CNC Text Using Fusion 360

Introduction: Chilli Bowl With CNC Text Using Fusion 360

The first thing to say I guess would be I am British and we do spell Chilli with two l's so hopefully it won't stress too many people out thinking that I'm unable to spell as I am aware only one l is used in the US. I should really make an Instructable comparing GB/US spellings and words I think it would be quite interesting.

Anyway.....I love spicy food and heat in my food, unfortunately my children aren't as enthusiastic about heat as much as I am, although as they get older they can handle it more and more. If I can cook a single dish that I can split and make some not spicy I'll always try to do that and if they are not eating at home it's always going to be spicy food. I often have fresh chillies in the house and always have frozen chillies in the freezer so they are always available.

I haven't up until now had a specific place to keep them but now I have made this holder/dish I will always know where they are. I made the dish body with some Ash wood I bought last time I was at the timber merchant, it's got some lovely patterning on it so thought It'd be a good piece to make it with.



Ash wood

Superglue (CA glue)

Reinforcing filling powder





CNC machine (I have a small cheap one I bought a while ago from Amazon))


Step 1: Cut Out Final Chilli Shape

I then made a quick pencil jig out of a few thin bits of wood so I could sketch the outside of the chilli at a constant distance from the edge. Once the edge was drawn I added a stalk and cut the final shape out with the bandsaw.

Next I swapped the router bit over to an ogee bit and routed a nice curve on the bottom of the bowl.

I smoothed the outside with an oscillating bobbin sander and also sanded the faces with a random orbital sander. I then sanded the inside by hand.

Step 2: Cut Out Template and Prepare Wood

I initially thought of making one by carving with chisels, which would have worked out ok if I was any good at wood carving, but I'm not!!

Therefore I decided to cut out a template and use a router with guide bushing to remove the material from the dish.

I got a piece of MDF a sketched out a chilli which ended up being just over 300mm (12"). I then determined where the recess would be, sketched that out and cut the inside out with a bandsaw. The ash wood I had was rough sawn so I put it though the thicknesser (planer) to neaten and flatten the faces.

Step 3: Router the Dished Part

I then attached a bushing to my router and inserted a long 1/2" straight router bit. Holding the router on the template and wood I determined the final depth of the router bit and set a stop so I couldn't go past this point.

I fixed the MDF on to the wood with hot glue and couple of brad nails with a nail gun and cut out the chilli shape in several passes.

Step 4: Create CNC File From CAD and Fusion 360

To add the work chilli I decided to use a CNC machine. I bought this not long ago and have been messing about with it working out how to cut out shapes and engrave words. This is the first proper item I have used it for though.

I started off by inserting a photo in to a CAD program and, using a reference line, I scaled the photo to the correct size (using the scale/reference command). Using a polyline I sketched the inside of the bowl and saved the drawing as a dxf.

I imported the dxf in to Fusion 360 and using the sketch/text command and inserted each letter one by one. Doing this you can then adjust the individual letter size, position and rotation. I decrease the letter size by 2.5mm each and positioned them on a curve that followed the line of the chilli. I then switched from model to manufacturing mode and created a new setup. For the time being I left all the inputs to the default. I then created a 2D contour and adjusted a couple of the defaults. In the tool dialog I created a tool to loosely replicate my CNC and added a 3.125mm ball end router bit (which I changed later to 1mm). In the geometry dialog I selected chains and selected the insides of the letters. In the heights dialog I changed most of the offsets to 5mm (as my CNC is so small) and the bottom height to -2mm. In the linking dialog I unchecked the lead-in and lead-out boxes so the router bit followed the letters exactly. All the others were left as they were.

I then simulated the cutting to make sure that nothing was going weird (i then changed the router bit to 1mm) and then pressed post process to get the cn. file.

Step 5: Cutting the Text

I attached the CNC machine to my PC and opened up the program 'candle' which came with the CNC and loaded up the cn. file. It looked all alright apart from the origin point was way off so I went back in to Fusion and adjusted the UCS with (I think anyway, as I tried a few things) 'Tool orientation'.

I placed a piece of offcut chipboard on the CNC machine and did a test run to make sure everything was working as proposed. To orientate the text in the correct direction I took a rubbing of the chipboard text and took two points on the text which I then drew on to the chilli bowl. I could then move the CNC cutter so the position on the bowl and in the program were coincident, I then knew it would be just where I wanted. I then secured the bowl with a couple of bits of hot glue and wedges I screwed on to the waste board I have on my CNC base. I then pressed send and the CNC did it's magic!

Step 6: Filling the Text and Finishing

Once the text had been cut I needed to fill it. I looked at a few different methods including PVA glue with red dye, sawdust from purple-heart and epoxy. In the end I used some reinforcement filler and superglue (CA glue) which I had lying around already as this method was fairly neat and was the easiest to sand to a good finish.

Once I had poured the filler in it just needs setting with a few drops of CA glue, it only needed to be left a minute before sanding. I then finished the sanding for the remainder of the bowl to 180 grit and finished with some tung oil.

Step 7: Finished

Here's a step mainly for photos of the finished bowl.

I am really happy with it anyway and hopefully it will have a long life!!!!!

If you enjoyed this Instructable please vote for it in the spicy competition. Thanks!

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    3 years ago

    The technique you used the fill in the letter outlines is really clever :D