Introduction: Shop Bot Headboard

I needed a new headboard, but wasn't able to find one that I really liked and I had a very specific size that I wanted.  Using TechShop Detroit and the shopbot in their woodshop, I was able to design and cut out a headboard from 1/2" plywood that I really like.  (If you are unfamiliar with a shopbot, it is a CNC router that cuts and carves based on a computer file)  My thanks go out to Sara and Scott at TechShop for helping me with this.  Sara was instrumental in the design phase and Scott went above and beyond to walk me through the shopbot to make sure I didn't make any mistakes.

As a side note, I cannot say how much I love tech shop.  If you are unfamiliar with it, it is a workshop with the tools and machinery to allow you to build pretty much anything.  They have several locations throughout the country, but I am fortunate enough to belong to the one in Detroit.  Using TechShop, I was able to take a $40 sheet of plywood and turn it into a headboard to my exact specifications.  Their staff is super helpful and guided me through the entire process.  If you have the chance, I highly recommend you at least go in for a tour...its free and you wont regret it.  (Im not paid or compensated in any way by TechShop to say this, I just know that I would want to know about a place this cool)

Step 1:

The first step to this project is to design it.  Im sorry, but I dont have any pictures of how I used CorelDraw to create the cutting pattern for the shopbot, but I used the same technique on some of my other instructables.  To get the specs for the design, I measured the space that I would put the headboard in.  Once I knew that it had to be 84" by 26", I figured out what type of design I wanted for my headboard.  I decided on a pattern of 2" by 2" squares spaced an inch apart and laid it out in CorelDraw (available at tech shop).  After I had this designed, Sara at TechShop helped me to convert it into VCarve, a program that guides the ShopBot.  

Step 2:

After I had the program for the headboard cut, I secured an 84" by 26" piece of 1/2" plywood to a sacrifice board (a board below the actual piece being cut so it doesnt mar the ShopBot bed) and then used the ShopBot vacuum to hold it in place.  Scott at TechShop helped me to go through the program and set up the shopbot.  

I then cut the board out with a 1/8" end mill bit.

Step 3:

After the board was cut, there were still wood pieces in the squares because of the tabs that are left on to prevent the pieces from becoming projectiles during the cut (Is that a run on sentence?).  I used a chisel and mallet to pop out the pieces.  Next I used a router to clean up the edges of the cuts, followed by an oscillating sander and finally sanded each square.  It was alot of work but I'm happy with how it came out.