Earlier this year, I received a significant sum of money in a settlement for a lawsuit. This settlement was enough to pay my lawyer, with a bit left over, which I had earmarked for a car since I’ve been sans vehicle after the unfortunate death of the Adventure Van (which needed new parts that are no longer manufactured).
I had earmarked some of the settlement for a cheap used car, when I was captured by Facebook. I spotted an ad for a desktop CNC metal-milling machine for almost exactly the amount I’d set aside for the car, and I thought, if I can machine aluminum, I can make molds for sex toys without having to 3D print them any more! The molds would be higher quality, last longer, and produce better toys!
So of course I ordered the CNC machine instead of the car, and arrived home from Barcelona to an enormous shipping crate…
They call it a “desktop CNC machine,” but I don’t own a desk large enough or sturdy enough to hold it—the thing weighs in at almost 120 pounds(!). So it sits on my bedroom floor, still in the bottom of the shipping crate.
And My God, what an adventure.
I didn’t fully realize what I was signing up for. Carving 3D models out of metal is nothing like printing 3D models on a 3D printer. You don’t give it the model and say “here,carve this.” You have to specify the tool to use, the speed, and (this is the difficult part) the exact path the tool will take, over and over and over again, to carve the shape out of metal.
As one wag on Quora put it, “Dude, what you’re trying to cut requires graduating from trade school plus four years of apprenticeship.” (Whoevel writes an AI-driven expert system to automate some or all this process will become ridiculously wealthy, just sayin’.)
Anyway, I’ve been teaching myself CNC milling, and the learning curve is a cliff. This is quite possibly the most challenging thing I’ve ever attempted in my life.
I’ve worked out basic engraving…
…and I’m teaching myself Fusion 360 and Lightburn (it has a built-in laser engraver too). My wife has come up with some very cool projects to help teach myself, like tentacle fans with metal blades, which I’ll probably start selling once I’ve worked out how to make them.
But at the rate I’m going, I’m still quite a distance off from carving metal sex toy molds.