Many of us are vexed by the question our non-machinist friends love to ask, “What do you make with all those fancy tools?”  All too often the answer is, “More tools.”  That always leads to the perplexed friend wrinkling their brow, shaking their heads, and moving on, not understanding what the obsession is.

Sometimes we get to making something related to another hobby, and that can certainly be satisfying.  It seems like the rarest opportunity of all is to make something a loved one really cherishes.  I got a real kick out of this jewelry box project when I came across it.  The idea was to create an heirloom quality jewelry box that had a special and very unique compartment where an engagement ring would be placed.  The box would then form an integral part of the marriage proposal.  The case itself is awesome, and I called this article “A Little Bit of CNC Goes a Long Way” because it was made on a very modest Shapeoko CNC machine.  Here’s a photo essay that shows the project coming together:

Shapeoko

Here’s the little Shapeoko CNC used for the project…

Boxes

The lid, tray, and box bottom were all whittled out of oak burlwood using the Shapeoko.  The oak itself was sawn from an tree with a chainsaw…

CuttingGears

Cutting gears for the mechanism.   Yes, with the right techniques and a little bit of care you can cut aluminum even on a machine like the Shapeoko.  See our CNCCookbook article for some great tips on how.

Iris1

Here’s the special mechanism.   A key with a heart operates the iris on the left…

Iris2

Once opened, the engagement ring is revealed nestled inside.   Very nice!

Have you done any machining projects that delighted your significant other?  If so, please share some photos in our comment section.  We’d love to see what you’ve done.

 

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