Art at the Crossroads with the CNC Machine

"Technology has, indeed, developed with giant steps lately. Still, the creativity of our modern artists is catching up with slow but sure steps. The perfection of the artist's skills matches the precision of the CNC Router. We, definitely, live in incredible times and are witnessing a first of its kinds crossroad, between two essential dimensions - the art and CNC woodworking."

Art at the Crossroads with the CNC Machine -

by B. Diaconu & A. Cemertan

How Woodworking Became a Trade?

Woodworking appeared out of necessity and formed roots along human evolution and development, adding value to practical and aesthetic concerns. Wood was among the first materials worked by early humans, along with stone, clay, and animal parts. Used for making hunting gear and carving vessels in the Stone Age, crafting folding chairs, and carving coffins out of tree trunks in the Bronze Age, sculpting animal statues and idols in the Iron Age, wood was a material easier to work, and at the same time durable enough and cost-effective in terms of energy invested into working it.

The ancient Egyptians invented the art of veneering and were the first to use varnishing for finishing. The ancient Romans used wood for most of their needs - buildings, ships, and carriages, household items, pipes, waterproofing materials, and energy for heat. The ancient Chinese are famous for their intricate furniture joinery that used no glue or nails. Although little information is available about carpentry in the Medieval Epoch, the Age of Sail, is when woodworking flourished, as the ships built by the shipwrights helped explorers, traders, and scientists shape the world. Even after the Industrial Revolution, woodworking still succeeds in adding practicality, comfort, and warmth to the objects crafted, especially furniture and decoration.


The Art of Relief Carving: Now and Then

Carpentry and wood carving go hand in hand in delivering works of art besides practicality and comfort. The patterns that decorate the object distinguish the owner in terms of status, taste, preferences, and personality. Relief carving has always played an essential part in telling a story and shaping the ambiance.

This process implies using hand tools - chisels and gouges - to remove the excess wood around the creation imagined by the artist. The design is the artist's creation. It takes forms initially on paper and is transferred to wood with carbon paper. The artist's vision comes to life when the excess wood is roughed out to model the object and enhance its details. Sanding and finishing are the process's last steps that elevate the creation to its highest quality and value.

Starting with the 1940s, technology has developed exponentially. For the first time in human history, the art of woodworking has met modern technology. The traditional elements of the woodworking crafts have mixed with advanced technology and formed one tool - the CNC Router machine. Nowadays, the CNC Router has revolutionized woodworking because it bears with it the creation of the artists and woodcarving capacity of the highest precision. A high-quality design and such accuracy in carving result in absolutely perfect masterpieces. The CNC router has succeeded to the present day in helping at doing various high precision works previously done just by hand.


The Meaning and Importance of a Design

Humankind has produced a variety of design patterns throughout history. The art of sculpture has diversified in space and time and in what concerns style. Over time, each epoch and ethnic group has developed specific techniques and design principles. However, proportion, balance, and orientation are often thought to be the essential principles in most cases. Each time, mathematics has played a vital part in defining the height, width, and depth of a sculptural decoration, its equilibrium in what concerns the visual weight of the compositional elements, and their relative positioning in relation to one another when forming a harmonious structure.

In the meantime, a good design communicates a specific idea and has a meaning behind it. Its existence is the triumphant expression of an artist's perspective. Its purpose is meant for the perceiver's senses. An appealing design is a design that can satisfy an aesthetic need. That brings a distinct level of awareness to the space it fills. Nowadays, the art of relief carving is more accessible. The artist's artwork has become a working tool for infinite wood replicas. Thanks to Human ingenuity, a CNC router can carve absolute masterpieces and versions of art.


What Is the CNC and Why Would You Use It?

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and automates a machine's work with a computer. It is a cutting machine operating via a computer. It can work with different materials like metal, stone, and especially wood. CNC Routers can produce everything a human can. Actual examples of its capabilities would be furniture, wooden frames, decorations, musical instruments, and more.

Usually, there are two software applications necessary for operating a CNC router - a CAD (computer-aided-design) for creating the design of the object to be carved, and a CAM (computer aided-machining) for instructing the machine how to cut the design along the XYZ axis, in order to give the carving height, width, and depth. A CNC router has a remarkable degree of automation and productivity while delivering high quality, even with complex shapes. It can carve 2D and 3D models, while the CAD and CAM elements are relatively easy to implement. But for a CNC router to start carving, a 3D model has to be ready to enter the "stage".


Preparing a 3D Model for CNC Carving - What Are the 3D STL Files?

A 3D model for CNC carving is a file in which it is coded the design or shape that the wood must acquire on the CNC router machine. A designer-artist created this design using CAD software with extensive computer skills and complex software knowledge. The files containing 3D models for CNC come in various file formats. The most popular one is the STL file format. The 3D STL files, besides computer-aided manufacturing, are also used in rapid prototyping, and 3D printing. These files describe the tiled surface of the future carving, usually coded in binary.

When using the 3D model for CNC carving, it is still essential to understand how to program the tool paths for the CNC router and the wood base in which the carving will occur. However, a professional CNC woodworker knows how to exploit his machine to the max, creating beautiful high-quality artworks. So at a time when computers are used everywhere in production, the arts have also benefited.

A CNC router is an excellent way to do business or hobbies. With the CNC Router and digital designs at your disposal, you are the master of your own life. You make this world a better place by enriching it with stunning art that gets people amazed for decades, and leave them with beautiful memories. The modern technological possibilities seem to have revolutionized the world of art also. Because the digital art world has become so common in our everyday lives, we get used to it being a standard and take it for granted. Needless to say, digital art is an essential part of CNC wood carving because, without the artist's initial creation, there would be no masterpiece in real life.

The most crucial element, without a doubt, is the design itself. Nowadays, technology offers the artists the possibility to digitise their creations so that they are understood by the CNC machine. With the "design in mind," the CNC Router removes the excess of wood with a precision that exceeds humans and gives life to the perfect wood masterpiece. To achieve this perfection, you would need a design of the highest quality possible to match such an advanced precision.

Creating a complex digital artwork of such perfection for the CNC Router is a very specific work. An excellent example of 3D STL Models for CNC Router of the highest quality is the 3DWave collection (, consisting of almost 3000 unique and original designs. When using 3DWave models, CNC owners create masterpieces of the highest quality.


What Is the Big Picture?

Technology has, indeed, developed in giant steps lately. Still, the creativity of our modern artists is catching up with it with slow but sure steps. The perfection of the artist's skills matches the precision of the CNC Router. Definitely, we live in incredible times and are witnessing a first of its kinds crossroad, between two essential dimensions - the art and CNC woodworking. Together they gave life to a wave of cultural creations and an enormous potential for change. We have just started to see the beauties it has to offer. In the end it is always a question about human creativity.

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