Not long ago, we visited Bill Bode in his garage shop on Long Island.
Mike Sloggatt had said about Bill: “Wait till you see this guy’s shop! He’s the exact opposite of me. You can eat off the floor of his garage.”
“What’s he build,” we wanted to know, “fine furniture?”
“No,” Mike laughed. “He makes speaker boxes! Out of MDF.”
We don’t know about you, but one of the things we hate most about MDF is the dust. It gets everywhere. That was the first thing we noticed about Bill Bode’s tightly organized shop. No dust. None. But it didn’t use to be that way.
Until he finished building his own CNC machine, Bill cut and routed all the interior support panels for his speaker cabinets with a handheld router and templates. You can imagine the MDF dust. Collecting dust from a router, especially when routing inside shapes, is notoriously difficult. Cleanup is exasperating. And even though router templates are easy to use and they produce precise parts, making too many of those parts isn’t good for your mental health. Besides, Bill wanted to spend more time with his daughter and less time doing mindless chores in this shop, like routing out the hundreds of interior braces he uses for his speaker cabinets.
With the help of a kit and instructions from www.JoesCNC.com, Bill solved a lot of problems by building his own CNC machine. But don’t think that just anyone can pull this off. Building your own CNC machine isn’t like making a model plane. Plus, once you build it, you need some serious computer skills to know how to use it! But the advantages are sweet. Bill can now setup several pieces on his CNC machine, then leave the shop and play with his daughter. When he comes back, there’s no mess to clean up!
And other than a little touch up with a flush-cutting bit to remove the alignment tabs, the pieces are picture perfect and ready to install.
[Editors' note: Our thanks to Bill Bode for inviting us into his shop for this story.]
Growing up, Bill enjoyed working in his dad’s shop, where he received a solid background in all types of woodworking. Later, Bill found work as a car audio installer, and particularly liked the constructive aspect of the installs. He soon became the main fabricator because of his carpentry knowledge and background. However, after many years of endless wiring and climbing in and out of cars, he found himself going back time-and-again to building subwoofer enclosures because he enjoyed that aspect of his job the most.
Now at 43 years of age, Bill has a business designing and building enclosures exclusively. No more wiring and climbing into cars. Eventually, he decided that a CNC would be needed to produce the volume and quality of products that his business warranted.
Bill is constantly finding new uses for his homemade CNC machine. He is an active participant in online CNC forums, and is constantly seeking to expand his knowledge of CNC automation. He now cuts everything for his enclosures on his CNC machine and could not imagine having to do without it.