A Tip to Be More Productive – Beginning Woodworker Tip

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→ Diamond Drag Bit (use the code JAYBATES for a discount): https://bitsbits.com/product/250-cncdrag/

My daughter will turn 5 in two months, which is crazy to think about. We like to stay active with our local community so she has a better social life than I do. And with that comes a lot of children’s birthday parties to attend.

My go-to gift for these parties has become an LED acrylic sign. It’s nothing new; these have been around for a while. But it provides an inexpensive way to make a custom gift that, so far, every kid we’ve given one to has loved them. There’s something about a gift that has their name on it that lights up that kids love. You can get these kits off Amazon for about $5 each when bought in bulk. Because I have been making quite a few of them, I want to make a quick fixture to hold the acrylic when cutting. So here’s a tip for beginning woodworkers. CNC, no CNC, hand tools, power tools, it doesn’t matter. It’s almost always beneficial to take the time to make a jig or fixture for anything you repeatedly do. ANYTHING!

Setting up for a cut on this CNC machine with dog holes for locating and t track for holding stuff down is pretty easy and convenient. There’s no need for a jig or fixture, right? It’s too simple as is. Think about a tape dispenser for a moment. A tape dispenser IS a jig or a fixture. Think about it. Someone thought, “I’m tired of finding the end of the tape on a roll. If only I could make something to keep the tape end from rolling back up every time a piece is cut off. And if I could also integrate a way to cut the tape conveniently, that would be great!” A tape dispenser is a jig that saves a tiny amount of time over and over again.

Another benefit of using a jig is that it often eliminates variables. The more you let the jig take care of stuff, the less likely you are to make setup mistakes. For example, I can only mount these to the table upside down due to the dog spacing and the small size of the acrylic blanks. I’ve made the mistake of not flipping the design on the computer before cutting, and while this is an inexpensive part to replace, it’s both wasteful in time and money. This jig, or fixture, took very little time to make, will speed up the setup process, and will prevent me from cutting upside down in the future.

Regarding making these, this is a Widget Works diamond drag bit. BitsBits, which has been a great company to work with for the past few years, sells these at the price that Widget Works sells them for. But you can use my code at BitsBits.com to knock the cost down a little bit. The basic outline designs take 2-3 minutes to cut. And these cross-hatch designs take about 20-25 minutes to cut. Either way, with this jig, I can quickly set up and knock out as many as I need with a reduction in time and mistakes.

I’ll conclude this video by saying once again; It’s almost always beneficial to take the time to make a jig or fixture for anything you repeatedly do. ANYTHING!


  1. Taking the time to build a jig is a great exercise for creativity as well .. Time saving and accuracy is a boost to your shop time .. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!!!

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