CNC capability helps turn a hobby into a business
July 6, 2020 | 10:45 am CDT

A Canadian maker of signs, displays and custom pieces is making what was a hobby into a business.

Jose Tamayo starts by doing whatever the customer requested.
“I do a bit of everything, on one end a lot of home decoration, signs and displays for my online store and any customer request,” he said. “But in the other end I do special requests for other companies, like designs and cuts for them if they bring in the file. I like the idea of creating products using CNC. There is an endless list of all what you can do with both.”

Tamayo, who grew up in Cuba before moving to Canada, said that he believes he is good at finding solutions, and is not to be afraid to learn new things.

“I spent a year learning computers, electronics and audio systems, but life brought me to the carpentry world, (and I) know with CNC I can put it all together,” he said.

Today his company, Tama CNC Designs in Burlington, Ontario, not only uses CNC technology but combines different materials to create attractive designs.

The company is dedicated to CNC-based design and fabrication services, both for custom and large production. The company’s abilities allow it to conceptualize, manufacture, and finish any desired project for interior and exterior purposes.

What makes a good-looking sign?

Tamayo said it depends how far your imagination can reach. Everything can be important at some point of your design, including colors, style, and material. One technique he has used is to rout out a design on a wood piece and then pour colored epoxy resin into the routed area.

“For now, my customers are just regular people and other small businesses,” he said. “I am in the middle of the transition to move from hobby to business, and soon it will be full time.”

Previously, Tamayo worked full time as a scenic carpenter in the film industry.

Tamayo said that inspiration may come from different directions.

Sometimes, he can’t sleep because his mind is full of ideas.

“Sometimes I start one design and it ends as another,” he said. “(Or) simply thinking what would happen if I put this with that and how it will look, things like that.

"Axiom is my first machine and my beginning in CNC world,” he said.  

In his shop, Tamayo uses the Axiom AR8 Elite Series CNC router as his primary machine to cut intricate areas, create new designs, and cut materials such as epoxy resin, plastics and brass in addition to wood.

Also in the shop are a table saw, chop saw, DeWalt planer and a jointer. He has everything to prep the material before the CNC router, and after routing for the finishing process. Amana Tool CNC router bits are used to create the designs.

Tamayo did not pursue woodworking when he was younger and lived in Cuba.

“(I did) not at all, but I am a numbers lover,” he said. “I went to the university for computer programming. From there I learned (about) audio equipment and I did work for years as a sound engineer, setting up the audio system for bands to play at festivals.

“In 2014 I moved to Canada and started working as a scenic carpenter in the film industry, learning every day.”

On his own, Tamayo has kept busy in his shop. Unfortunately right now he is not that busy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“After everything gets back to normal (I plan to) work hard, and keep spreading the word around about my shop and Tama CNC Designs,” he said.”

“But like I said every day is a good day to learn. That’s my main plan, learn and become better in the CNC and carpentry business.”


Tama CNC Designs

Burlington, Ontario

Products: Signs and specialty products

Employees: 1


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About the author
Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at