CNC routed cat tower

Andrea asked me to make a cat tower as a gift for her niece.

I might have got a bit carried away.

Version one failed user acceptance testing. This is version two.

I wanted this with no screws at all, just wood that slotted together and locked itself in place. I also wanted it to be easy and obvious to assemble correctly and impossible to assemble wrong. That part turned out ok.


Packs down for easy transport.

The cut-outs were generated using the Ready reaction-diffusion simulator and the Grey-Scott algorithm.


Ready has some weird glitches that left me scratching my head for a while but I worked out a suitable tool-path. Start with the component in Fusion 360.

Screenshot that and turn it into a bitmap mask.

Import the mask into Ready and run the simulation and tweak the parameters until it looks ok.

Take a screenshot into Gimp and simplify.

Take that image into Inkscape and trace bitmap to get paths. Save those paths as an SGV.

Insert that SVG into a sketch in Fusion 360.

Extrude to cut the component.

And then repeat for different parts with different parameters.



Andrea finished the raw ply with linseed oil to avoid anything toxic and old carpet cut out and stapled on. It was cut in cat shapes, in case anyone hasn’t worked out the theme yet.

Smoofy approves.

Plywood gifts for Chur

Chur is a sound system/theme camp/workshop centre/temporary community/group of awesomely inspiring people.

Designs by Simon Crook, routing by the Vertigotech router in my basement.






Allegedly, Islamic artists deliberately introduce mistakes into their art, as only God is perfect. Well, I screwed this one up without such an intention. Spot the bit I forgot to cut out.

Router-made signs for KnowYourStuffNZ, Kakariki and Sanctuary

I’ve been making a heap of signs with the router.

Turns out my favourite technique is to mask off, cut the signage through the mask, and then spray the cut areas. This gives coloured inlaid lettering which is resistant to getting scratched when bouncing around in the back of the ute on the way to festivals.

The best guide to this technique that I’ve found comes from totrand on Youtube:

For a mask I’ve been using the self adhesive film from Bunnings. I’ve been using spray on shellac to help the mask stick to the ply and to stop paint from bleeding from the cut areas along the grain.

The tool for most of these was a 1/8 inch down cutter. I had got up to 700 metres with the first one with no visible wear before I rammed it into a clamp and snapped it off.

KnowYourStuffNZ can’t have a sign that says “test your drugs”, so I made a heap of alternatives.

They ended up all over the place.


And some art, in the style of Gordon Walters.

One for the Sanctuary, with lettering from Melissa Mepham. This one I did in melamine-coated chipboard. This gave great sharp edges that looked good in sunshine. I thought it might have problems with humidity from being outside. Turns out it cracked horribly. Oops. Won’t do that again.

And some for Kakariki Brewing Company at Beers at the Basin.

…and now I’ve a few more to do.