This CarveWright CNC project is a unique photo frame that can be displayed on a bookshelf or credenza! The carved front heart doors, when opened, reveal the photo and form a tripod-like support so that the frame can stand upright on its own.
It’s a great gift item for loved ones anytime, and is especially appreciated for Valentine’s Day, wedding and anniversary gifts, too!
The project uses just the 1/16” Carving Bit and the ⅛” Cutting Bit. No other bits are required.
Closed dimensions are about: 7″ wide x 6.4” tall x 1.5 ” thick
Main items you will need:
1) The Project Files (included):
2) Board(s) with the following dimensions:
• 0.75 ” x 9 ” x 21 “
NOTE: Do not use boards that are smaller than specified above unless using an appropriate jig.
3) Two small box hinges, wooden “tie rack” pegs, printed copy of your choice of photo, clear plastic, cardboard backing.
OPTIONAL: Glazier’s points or photo-back picture frame stays, or hot glue
4) Sandpaper, drill or awl, wood glue, stain and/or paint and clear finish
5) A Dremel-type rotary tool with assorted abrasive attachments to aid the sanding process. A spindle sander and small belt sander can help speed up sanding/surface prep.
STEP 1 – Upload Project
Start Designer and open the Heart_Photo_Locket.mpc file(s). (fig. 1a)
All you need to do at this point is upload the project files to your memory card. (File/Upload). When you upload, you may or may not get a pop-up window with an “Auto-Jig” warning message (Fig. 1b)
If you do see the message, you may safely click on “Ignore” because our actual boards will be large enough that it won’t cause any problems at all. After each project is compiled, select “Normal” or “Best” for the File Quality carve setting. (I used “BEST”.)
- 35 min NORMAL
- 49 min BEST
Click “OK” and upload the mpc project file(s) to your memory card. Insert the card into your machine and load a board that measures the appropriate dimension specified for the particular mpc (see page 1 for board dimensions). Turn on your machine and proceed with the project setup in Step 2…
STEP 2 – Run The Project
You will see “Project Menu” on your LCD display. Press “1” and scroll to Heart_Photo_Locket.mpc project, and press the green ENTER button to select it. Then follow the additional LED prompts as follows…
- Stay Under Rollers – press 1) YES
- DO NOT RESIZE or SCALE the projects! If prompted, always keep the original size. No scaling!
- How To Place – press 1) Center
- Cut Board to Size? – press 2) NO
- Select Drill Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
- Load Bit:1/8″ Cutting -Insert your 1/8” carving bit, then press the green ENTER button. (homes, etc.)
- Select Vector Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Just press ENTER (the bit is already installed).
- Select Cutting Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Just press ENTER (the bit is already installed).
- Select Carving Bit: 1/16″ Carving – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
- Load Bit: 1/16″ Carving – Remove the 1/8″ cutting bit, and insert your 1/16″ carving bit, then press the green ENTER button. After homing and finding surface, the carving process is performed.
- After it is done carving, you will be prompted to load your 1/8″ cutting bit. Remove the 1/16″ carving bit and insert your 1/8″ cutting bit. Press the green ENTER button. The machine will perform the vector cuts, drills and cutouts.
Your board will look something like this…(fig. 2)
STEP 3 – Separate Parts
Separate all the parts from the board(s). Sand off tabs and fuzzies. I then applied one coat thinned Bulls Eye SealCoat overall and sanded again when dry. (fig. 3a, 3b, 3c)
STEP 4 – Install Hinges
I used painter’s tape to hold the parts together when marking pilot hole locations. I used an awl to create the pilot holes. (fig. 4a, 4b, 4c)
STEP 5 – Apply Finish
Remove the hinges and apply the finish of your choice. Here’s what I used on the sample Heart Photo Locket made from Select Pine: (fig. 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 5e, 5f)
STEP 6 – Photo-Prep and Final Assembly
Print the “Photo Pocket Pattern” (page 5) onto a sheet of card stock.
Cut out the pattern to trace onto your clear plastic and your cardboard backing material. Cut those shapes out. (fig. 6a)
NOTE: I cut the cardboard slightly oversize, so it functions as a “friction fit” to hold the clear plastic and photo in place. Otherwise, you could use Glazier’s Points or dabs of hot glue instead, to hold everything in place in the pocket, as a more permanent option.
Print a copy of your chosen photo onto some photo paper. Cut the middle of the heart pattern out to form a “window” to aid in placement over your chosen photo. Trace around the outer perimeter as before, onto the photo and cut out the shape (fig. 6b, 6c).
Glue in the trimmed knobs and reinstall the hinges to complete the project. (fig. 6d, 6e)
Materials Source Reference
3M Radial Bristle Discs
- (stack 3 discs at a time on your rotary tool mandrel)
- 80-grit (yellow) is what I use exclusively, but other grits are available NOTE: grits finer than 220 are not recommended for wood
- Purchase from:
Items Purchased at Home Depot™ or Lowes™
- Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat (same as 100% clear de-waxed shellac)
- Denatured Alcohol
- Krylon Crystal Clear Spray (Lowes)
Items Purchased at Hobby Lobby™ or Michael’s Arts & Crafts™
- Small Brass Hinges (I used a Brainerd model #5075XC)
- Tie Rack Pegs
- Clear Plastic and Cardboard Sheets
I hope you enjoyed making your Heart Photo Locket!
Michael Tyler of CarveBuddy.com