Dash is our Australian Shepherd. He’s 3 1/5 years old but has been with us only since last February when we re-homed him.

Dash’s first Christmas (with us)

To commemorate Dash’s first Christmas with us I made a plaque with his image on it. (OK, it’s an image of an Ozzie that I found on the interwebs). Here are some photos of the project as it progressed.

Dash carved

I started by importing the image into Carbide Create and designing the toolpaths for my CNC machine. I made 2 toolpaths for the head, first a pocket cut with a 1/8 in endmill followed by a contour cut with a 1.4 mm endmill. The groove around was made with a contour cut with a 1/8 in endmill. The letters were made with a 90 degree V-bit.

After sanding, I applied a coat of shellac to seal the wood to prevent bleed-through during the next stage.

Dash with epoxy

I mixed up some clear epoxy and added some black acrylic paint then applied it liberally to the carving, making sure to fill all the spaces as seen above.

When the epoxy had set for 72 hours, I put the work on the sander to remove the excess epoxy and the shellac. Once back to bare wood, I sanded the remaining epoxy with 400, 800 and 1500 grit sandpaper to bring back the smoothness.

Dash finished

I cut a keyhole on the back with my table router and added my logo (not shown) with my CNC machine. I finished it up with a couple coats of polyurethane on the front and one on the back.

Prince Reno

Strong’s Prince Reno is a horse bred and born in our barn. He is now owned by Kristen, a young lady who is close to our family. So close, we often call her our “second daughter”. I wanted to make a gift for her featuring Reno.

Reno on the run

The above picture was taken for Kristen last fall by Heidi Fast. It would be the base for my carve. I popped this picture into Photoshop and came up with the image below.

Reno photo after editing

Now I had something that I could use with my CNC. I used the trace image feature in Carbide Create to import the image and generate toolpaths.

I carved it into a piece of poplar using 2 toolpaths for the image, first a pocket cut with a 1/8 inch endmill, then a contour cut with a 1 mm endmill. Both these cuts were 1 mm in depth. Lastly, a V-cut was used for the lettering using a 90 degree Vee bit.

Reno plaque and stall name plate

Above is the finished product. I made an 2nd smaller piece with just the V-cut letters which she could use as a stall name plate. I pre-drilled and counter-sunk holes for mounting and included screws and wooden caps. The back of the bigger piece has a keyhole for hanging as well as my logo.

Both pieces were sealed with a layer of polyurethane and then hand painted and sanded smooth to remove any spill-over. An additional 2 coats of polyurethane were applied for the final finish.

Digital Signage

I’ve been experimenting a bit with Digital Signage. I have a TV set up on the wall in the basement with my Raspberry Pi connected to it so it is the perfect place to try out some signage software.

After trying a couple of signage apps, I put this together using DAKboard. They have a free to use version which allows you to create a screen with some options for layout, background, calendar, weather and news, etc.


Here I have selected a basic layout and linked my Google calendar, some local weather and I’m cycling photos from one of my albums on Flickr. There’s an option to add a news RSS feed as well, but after a while I decided the screen was too cluttered and removed it.

DAKboard is web based and thus is platform independent. I have created and edited my screen using my Windows 10 computer as well as my Raspberry Pi running Pi OS.

If you want multiple screens and more advanced features, you can upgrade to the Plus version for a monthly fee.

Some of the digital signage apps I’m looking at are: