Surframe V2 - Surfboard Photo Frame

It’s a Sunday…and it’s raining! So why not revisit one of the old projects and see if we could make some improvements! I’ve had these pine panel in the workshop for months and figured it was a good time to do some revisions. Every time I have made a photo frame like this the photo tends to get drowned out. So we went big! 12″ x 28″! That’s 304mm x 711mm for us metric minded people. Going that big had me playing with the size of the board and no doubt you can tell by the pics where I made the errors. Can you spot them?

CNC - The lazy man's router...

The CNC router has served me well. Even though I don’t really do a lot with it, it sure makes cutting 2D items super easy and quick. For this design, I decided to widen the board slightly so that the corners of where the photo and acrylic sit is a bit stronger. I was a bit worried that where the pine is laminated it could split apart. However, after cutting it seems to be pretty strong. The laminated panels I’m using are 450mm wide and somehow, as you can see I managed to cut outside the panel slightly. This was because I got a bit lazy and didn’t measure properly. (I also assumed my ‘zero’ reference points were wider than the cut…obviously not!)

Also, not sure if you have spotted it, but I had to use the ’tile’ function in my CAM software as the router is not long enough. This can be tricky, but having one straight edge is good to slide the panel through. This keeps everything aligned.

Manual Labour

I still have not figured out how to do a bevelled edge on my router, so against my will, I did this by hand. This gives the frame a bit more of that actual surfboard feel. It’s the little things that finish it off. Oh, I also sanded a whole lot. 250grit, 120 grit and even 1200 wet and dry to see if I could get that ultra smooth look.

okay, okay, so I made two frames...

As you may have noticed I did make two frames. The first was only 12″ x 18″. I felt the picture was drowned out a bit by the board, so I went to the larger format which I think will be a much better setup. The first frame I finished in a clear coat stain. I wanted to try and make the Pine ‘pop’. I am still undecided on this and will try some different stains over the next week or so. Anyhoo, I am sure you are sick of reading my babble so check out the progress pics below.

Look Dad, I dug a hole... (Movie: The Castle)


JX-1212 CNC Router

A year or so ago we managed to import a 1200 x 1200 3 axes Chinese built CNC router into Australia. Obviously, you get what you pay for, this beast came in at under $7k landed. However, the build quality has been pretty good with only minor issues. But these have not affected the machine’s output at all. If we were to go again with a router of this size, I think we would have to go a full sheet size (2400 x 1200). The additional charges/costs would not be too much greater, but having the flexibility to put a full sheet down could save some time. I guess it just comes down to what your intended use is and how large the end product is.

JX-1212 Specs

  • Cut area 1200 x 1200
  • 3Kw Spindle
  • Hiwin linear bearings

  • Vacuum Table
  • Rack and Pinion X axis
  • Dust Brush/Collector

  • DSP Controller with remote.
  • Collets, Router Bits and a few other accessories.

Software and Firmware

The CNC came with a RichAuto A11 DSP. To be brutally honest it is not the most user-friendly interface. However, it is usable and after a bit of manual flicking, you will understand what the controls are. You can find more details about the RichAuto DSP here:

On the software side of things, I use Aspires Vetric CAM software to generate my tool-paths and convert to a format the CNC/DSP can understand. So a complete project flow might involve designing the 2D part in solid works, then import the DXF into Aspire to create the tool-paths. From here I export the tool-path to a USB drive and bring it up on the DSP controller.