Carving Machines

Here's a quick introduction to some of the high-tech, high-volume carving and duplication machinery that is now available. September 20, 2008

Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.

Carving machines can be used for ornate furniture parts. They can also be used for carving or turning legs for chairs such as “Queen Anne” legs that you see on some expensive chairs. Carving machines can come in a single head configuration where an operator would work off a template and produce one piece at a time. In production today, carvers can be multiple; that is, two spindle, four spindle, 12, 16, 24, or greater, thus producing an equal amount of parts as there are spindles. They are run off a central piece called a template that has been pre-made and a copier copies the original template while all of the multiple spindles, at the same time, make an exact replica of the template.

Carvers can be used in a number of ways. They can be used as a multiple lathe doing a number of turnings at the same time, as described above, or can be used to carve multiple parts, at the same time. All the parts are placed on a fixed table again being anywhere from four to 24 pieces or more at a time. The operator uses a pointer that he has in his hand which is attached to a number of routers that are at fixed spacings from each other. These routers would be copying from the original as the operator copies the original with the pointer in his hand. As an example, Italian or Chinese style three dimensional picture carvings are made this way, headboards with ornate designs, as well as some fancy drawer fronts. Individual heads would normally have a fixed distance apart. For example, if the points are on eight inch centres, you would be able to carve a 16" wide piece. Some of the newer machines are also C.N.C. controlled and the manual work done by the operator will now be done by the computer automatically from a pre-programmed program. Single head machines could be considered for low production or home hobby type carving.

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