Retail display bust prototype

This is a unique and challenging project to make a high-end retail display bust. Here are some shots, including the design process, of a prototype bust we made from Ontario hard maple for Stacklab. Click here for more information.


  • Impeccable surface finishes typically require very fine finishing passes, which translate to long machining time and high costs for the customer.
  • Wood is an inconsistent product which requires special attention during machining.
  • Machining such a complex shape requires special fixturing and multiple orientations.
Finished bust front

CNC made maple bust – front

CNC maple bust - back

CNC made maple bust – back

How we did it…

We began by analyzing the part for tool access given certain fixturing choices, and designed tool paths around our findings.

We decided to machine the part in two distinct orientations but completed both roughing and finishing tool paths for the first orientation before moving to the second orientation.

Maple bust - side one machining access

Green indicates tool access for the first machining passes

Maple bust tool-path simulation

Tool-path simulation

To deal with the difficulties of working with wood, we exploited the huge spindle speeds achievable on our machine along with custom designed tooling. We achieved a consistent surface finish regardless of grain orientation and knots.

Roughing tool paths

Roughing tool paths