Router duplication has been around a long time. Early machines used stiluses to follow the shape of
a pattern or master, while on the other end of the
machines, routers did the carving. In a similar but
computerized fashion, CNC routers are also capable
of duplicating existing carvings and furniture parts. A
digital “touch” probe is first used in the CNC to sense
the surface of the object, while the probe’s accompaning
software creates a digital image of the part.
The digital image is then coverted to a 3D model and
used to program CNC routing paths for a replica. To
test the capabilities of this technique, I hand carved
a traditional scallop shell measuring about 4" x 4" to
use as my original. My test revealed that a CNC digital
probe is quite capable of accurately recording the
shape of an object, with one exception; due to its ballshaped
tip, the probe rounds off the inside corners of
fi ne details such as the veins on this shell. A little bit
of hand carving easily adds the missing details. The
three carvings in the photo below are duplicates of
my orginal (photo above). Watch the digital probe in
action at AmericanWooodworker.com/CNC.
Click any image to view a larger version.