CNC-carved birdhouses?

I need to know if the cnc machines can make these and how. They are made of 2x8 cedar and are bird house faces. currently they are made by hand carving them but I want to make them faster.

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sorry I can seem to figure out how to attach a pic

Finally I got the pics on here. Never used a cnc machine before and could use a little help if not some coaching.


@robertgoll - I’m going to move this to “Ask DMS” in order to allow the thread of Show & Tell to continue.

BTW, your hand-carved birdhouses are wonderful!


You can do that on the Multicam CNC wood router. You have to take the class though

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This looks like a job for the
I’ve never operated it, so others may need to chime in with much more experience.
It might be best to have the CNC get the rough dimensions set for you and leave the fine detail work to be done by hand. Some of the finer details might take longer for the machine to complete than you think.


I expect that both the Multicam and Shapeoko can do this job… or at least most of it. The challenge would be producing the design in a CAD/CAM tool (unless one is already available). But, if you plan to make many, the time spent setting up the digital design and resulting G-Code will be well worth it.

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will the cnc make the program for the faces with like a duplicator probe as I don’t know how to make a program to use on the cnc?

No, you would need to use a CAD/CAM software package (Fusion 360 or Solid Works are the two commonly referenced at DMS) to make the design/model. You might be able to get a workable model from a 3D scanner, but I’ve never used it and I understand that the 3D Scanner at DMS is in process of being replaced due to damage.

this cnc does not have a digital probe. you’ll need to have the 3d model to do it.

Multicam can definitely do this. Youd need to bring your own bits or finish up by hand. Big machine, big collett. Some of it would have to be done by hand anyway like the undercuts in the nostril.

Shapeoko would be the best choice since it uses smaller bits.

As for the modeling a 3D scanner is easiest but has a learning curve for use to get a good scan and even the best ones may need some editing. I would suggest if you don’t know much about making computer models you just bite the bullet and outsource that for a bit while you learn some basic sculptural CAD programs. Putty is an easy one.

If you don’t mind losing the grain I’d probably cast them in sawdust and carve from there.


Any referals on someone to outsource this to make a program?

I’ve never done this, but it might be possible to scan and copy your faces. Software like Autodesk ReCap or MeshRoom can generate a digital 3D model from pictures (photogrammetry). That mesh can be brought into a CAM tool like Fusion360 which will create the files that run the CNC.

If you join, let me know, I’d love to give it a go.


I’d say after you join to get involved with 3D fab and surely someone amongst the comittee either does it or has industry contacts who could. First step is learning the equipment limitations.

If I join under the starving hackers club how much will it cost for my wife to join? If you cant answer this then where do Iask this

You need to email [email protected] to see if you qualify for starving hacker. It doesn’t say in the joining documents if starving hackers can have add on membership so you’ll need to ask them.

If they don’t you may want to just be a full member. Standard membership and an addon is cheaper than two starving hackers.

Unfortunately, the starving hacker rate does not qualify for family add-ons.


If I make these birdhouses to sell for an extra income due to my disability yall don’t charge extra do you?

We don’t mind people who make things to sell. There are many people who make things to sell. Only thing we ask is for users to not hog that equipment.


I have a coworker who I think has talent enough to digitize those faces. I’m not sure if he freelances or what he’d charge. I haven’t shown it to him (just saw it) but would be happy to ask him next week.