I have picked up quite a few pieces of electrical insulation phenolic strips of about 4.75 mm thickness. These materials seemed to be good for cnc milling as they were harder than wood, and yet not as hard as metals. Furthermore, they were thermosetting plastics which do not melt when hot. Also the external surfaces were smooth and shiny and looked attractive.

Unfortunately, they were cut off from somebody’s project and came in as narrow strips of 38 mm width. I had to choose designs which could fit into that narrow space.

I chose to carve “ICHYTHUS” the symbol of a fish of the Christian tradition. ΙΧΘΥΣ in Greek which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour” looks like a good starting point after I had tried and failed to engrave words from the Bible into small tablets which I had wanted to make into fridge magnet pieces.

The latter project could not materialize successfully because the phenolic board material was quite brittle and could not be carved into small letters within the spaces of a small fridge magnet, even by using V-end engraving bits.

Indeed, my first attempt at carving “ICHYTHUS” was also not very successful, as the tail of the fish, being too small for my 1/8″ end mill bit was partly cut off.

Ichythus Jesus son of god, saviour

Ichythus Jesus Christ Son of God, Saviour milled together

But there is still hope for this small fish.

Ichythus Jesus son of god, saviour

Ichythus Jesus Christ Son of God, Saviour showing the broken tail

I had ordered smaller diameter end mills which could perform just right. But while waiting until then, I decided to design a bigger ICHYTHUS.

After some adjustments in the sizes of the design and with careful placing of the location of the home position of the tool relative to the work piece, I managed to carved out a reasonably good ICHYTHUS.

The video below showed the milling process:



The total length of the fish from the mouth to the extreme tip of the tail turned out to be 100 mm while the width was 36 mm. The thickness of the piece was 4.75 mm, while the lettering were 1 mm deep and 3.175 mm wide.

Ichythus Jesus son of god, saviour

Perfect Ichythus Fridge Magnet

More projects will be coming soon …