Distressing with a CNC Machine

How some people use shiny new CNC equipment for beating up wood to make it look old and busted. May 23, 2007

I am attempting to achieve a distressed look on box beam panels. I program with Alphacam, and my machine is a Northwood. I am interested in knowing if anyone has suggestions as far as tooling goes. Any additional input would be beneficial, as I have been unable to find any at this point.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor T:
Having been around CNC for a while, I would suggest that this isn't the best use of the application. There are many manual ways to distress material, and based on everything I've seen, this would be the best option for you to consider.

From contributor F:
I agree with contributor T, but if you can make the patterns appear random and natural, I'd like to hear the final solution. I always consider distressing to be an art and no two gouges, splits, rubs, or scratches should look the same.

From contributor A:
Here is something you can try that should give you the look you're seeking. Take a regular tool holder with a blank steel rod with a hole or hook at one end. Attach an 8"-18" chain. Create a series of lines in Alphacam resembling a wave and scatter the lines in random order at various angles across your surface area and run the program on the machine. You can also use the canned cycle (Drilling G81, etc) and smash the chain into the material. You can experiment with various loose hanging objects until you get a desired effect. I heard of one company that mass produces antique looking furniture that uses a Fanuc robot to smash a chain on the product to create an older look.

From contributor D:
Not being a finishing guy, I took a headboard I had to the local finisher. He had one guy that had a 1" dowel rod with steel cable on the end. On the steel cable was an assortment of nuts, bolts, washers, etc. It amazed me that it matched the drawer front I took for a finish match perfectly.

From contributor P:
The best method I found was the random texturing by VcarvePro from vectric.com... Perfect for texturing beams.

From contributor G:
We [Courmatt] have made the tooling for a few firms. But I don't know what the final outcome was. What they purchased was a variety of ball ends, different angled V engraving tools, a few raised panel bits, used in an aggregate.