75th Birthday Present Oldometer




About: Hi my name is David, I like to make things out of Wood, also like to take things apart and fixed them.

I wanted to make my Mother something Special for her 75th Birthday, and this is what I came up with. I made this last year for her Birthday, and she didn't get it at first, after explaining it, she laughed. Today, I will show how I designed it and Made it.

What's Needed:

Cad/Cam Program, I used Vectric Aspire

CNC Router, I used my X-Carve CNC

90* V-Bit

1/8" Endmill

9 1/4" x 7 1/1/4" x 3/4" Wood, I used a piece of Select Pine lumber

Rustoluem Ebony Stain

Rustoluem Matte Clear

Paint Brush

Cloth or Paper towels

Detail sander

Step 1: Design

First I made some boxes in Vectric Aspire, to hold my letters and numbers. Added the word, Oldometer in the first box. Added the numbers in the 3 boxes, putting the 4 and 5 in the same box. Moved the 4 up and the 5 down, just like a odometer on your older cars. I had to use the Vector trim tool, to trim parts of the 4 and 5, check out my video, on how I done this. Then added Days, with the number of days that you would have lived in 75 years.

Too follow along how I did this, check out the video.

Step 2: Toolpaths

I then switched to the Toolpath side, First using the Vcarve toolpath, for the lettering and days, using a 90* V-Bit.

I then used the Pocket Toolpath, using a 1/8" Endmill and 90* V-Bit, for the Year numbers.

Step 3: Preview Toolpaths

Be sure to preview your Toolpaths, to make sure everything is carving right, before actual doing the carve.

Step 4: Stain Wood

Next I stain my wood, before carving. I used Rustoluem Ebony stain. Brush a coat onto the wood, and let it set for about 3 minutes, then wipe off the excess. Let this dry for about a hour or two, then I sprayed a coat of Matte Clear. Then I let the clear dry overnight before carving.

Note I done two pieces of wood, just in case I messed up on the first piece.

Step 5: Carve

Then I clamped the stock in my CNC, and begin carving, first using a 90* V-Bit, then a 1/8" Endmill for the pocket toolpaths.

Step 6: Sand

Then I used a little sander I bought at Hobby Lobby, to sand the fuzzies.

Once sanded, I blew the piece off with a air hose.

Step 7: Clear Coat

Then I sprayed a couple coats of Rustoluem Matte Clear onto the piece, let it dry overnight.

Step 8: Finish

Then I gave it to my Mother for her Birthday. Thanks for checking out my Instructable.

Note if I had to make this again, I think I would use a piece of Red Oak wood, instead of the White Pine.



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    20 Discussions


    23 days ago

    I love it and will definitely used this idea! Just wanted to point out though that 75 years is more than 27375 days. I assume this was 365x75, but that misses leap years which have 366 days, so it's about 20 days short.

    2 replies

    Reply 19 days ago

    But as the author said, he made this last year and it also depends upon the ladys birth date


    Reply 19 days ago

    Yes, but in 75 years you will have lived through many many leap years, no matter what your date of birth.
    It's not important - it was just something I noticed ;)

    I want to make one for my mother who turns 75 this year. She is a retired math teacher and I *know* she will check if i got the numbers right hahaha!!

    There are cool tools online like this that can work out the exact number of days between any two dates: https://www.timeanddate.com/date/durationresult.html


    23 days ago on Step 8

    Okay, let's see you do it without the CNC. Sorry for the snark, but as someone who makes signs like these using only a router and my two hands, I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to someone calling themselves a woodworker when in reality, they are only a computer operator. Good job on creating the file yourself, though. Most people just download a free file from the Internet. And, it does look great! I hope they enjoyed it!

    Roanoke VFD.jpegTim.jpgVanstrom.jpg
    7 replies

    Reply 22 days ago

    Regarding Woodworking and CNCs, you might want to watch this video:
    As a furniture maker for 40 years, I never needed/could afford a CNC. Now retired, I have a small one, and it's a lot of fun.
    As a signmaker, I would think a CNC would be almost indispensable to making a living. Are you creating templates for your router, or doing it freehand? (If freehand, I commend your skill and powerful forearms.) ;-)


    Reply 21 days ago

    Rich, that video is a perfect example of a woodworker using the CNC as another tool to enhance his (already beautiful) work. My problem is with the person who uses ONLY a CNC (or laser engraver)... it does ALL the cutting, carving, etc., and they didn't even create the file, just downloaded it (usually for free) and pressed "PRINT" ...especially when that person is underselling me and calling himself a woodworker. Just because I drove my car to the shop, that doesn't make me a mechanic.
    To answer your question, a lot of the time, I will hand draw or use carbon paper to transfer a pattern to the wood, although there are times when I can use a vinyl template (Cricut), spray paint over it, remove the vinyl, then use that for my pattern. But, all the routing is done freehand, followed up with a hand-held chisel where needed. Yes, I know I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to this, and I accept that (Step 1)... but it's MY chip and I've earned it!! I can see times when a CNC--or better yet, a laser engraver--could be beneficial, but not in my sign making hobby. That I will continue to do by hand. (Oh, and thank you for the compliments... I DO appreciate them.)


    Reply 23 days ago

    I don't see where the author calls himself a wood worker. Machining is just a different method to achieve an end result. Like injection moulding or 3D printing.


    Reply 22 days ago

    He has changed the wood, altered it, worked it; that makes him a wood worker.
    You like to do things the old fashioned way, the hard way, probably because you enjoy it and get some sense of pride from that. I'm sure you use 'tools' as well.
    Others are more up to speed with modern tecnologies and modern methods of doing things.
    This man used a machine to carve the wood instead of a chisel. So what!
    Are you Amish or something? if so act like them and don't push you ides with stupid remarks onto others.


    Reply 23 days ago

    Router?? Why use electric tools. Why not carve like a real craftsman.
    In my opinion we can use any tool and still be creative. It’s a nice piece of art that will be remembered. Mush better than a Hallmark card.


    Reply 23 days ago

    Well I have done several things over the years, by hand. But now I work as a IT tech at a computer store. So I love working on Computers and Wood. That's why I got the CNC. You work is amazing, I just don't have the time , plus while my CNC is doing the work, I can do other things in the shop.


    22 days ago

    Sorry but as I approach 75 (not that far off) the last thing I want is something that reminds me of how old I'm getting!! I suspect that other "old" people won't want their age thrown in their faces!


    23 days ago

    Dang!!! I am turning 82 on my soon to be next birthday!!! hahahahaha
    Cool! I dont have time to make one of these and my grandkids are too young to do it.
    I guess they will just make paper stuff like this one.


    23 days ago on Step 8

    This is awesome!! My father is getting this his next birthday!! Thanks for sharing!! I've had a CNC router for sometime, but little opportunity to learn/use it. This will be great motivation.

    Alex in NZ

    26 days ago

    Very nicely done, and very funny :-) Thank you for sharing.

    1 reply