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February 18, 2012

Create a Maori knife design for CNCone cutting

Written by M. Storm


This time a different project, no tattoos, but a design for a knife. It's not a normal knife for cutting your meat, but more a kind of artistic/decorative design. The final piece will be cut by a friend, who is using CNCOne at work. He needs a special kind of file format, a .dxf file.

This means that I need to use Adobe Illustrator to export the linedrawing of the knife, so he can import it into CNCone, a CAD/CAM software program, used to instruct a carving machine to make objects from all kinds of metal, wood and plastics.

For more information on CNCone, you can visit a blog called

Well, first I started of with a pencil sketch and scanned it. Placed the file in Adobe Illustrator and used the pen tool to trace the image. Here's a picture of the first knife I designed:

Then I used the 3d filter to add some depth:

The file was exported as a .dxf file so my friend could use it CNCone, but there was a problem with the design, especially the inner parts. 

The spindle that carves out the metal is round with a minimim diameter of 4 mm, so it can not carve all the sharp edges of the design. The outer shape was not a problem fortunately.

So I had to adjust the knife design, back to the drawing table....

I made another sketch, and used some other patterns inside the knife/blade. You can see that only half the patterns are drawn, it's simply a matter of mirroring the design and voilá!

Exported the linedrawing and to test the .dxf file I opened it in Rhinoceros 3D. 
To show you the full process from sketch to a ready-to-carve file I recorded a video:

When the final design is carved by a CNC machine, I will post some pictures or a small video.

Any questions? Just let me know.

Kind regards, Mark Storm

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