RV Mod Using My New CNC Router!

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So, I let it slip in a video a while back that I was getting a new CNC router.  It’s true, that happened.

So now the next thing (which we all should have expected), has also happened.  I’ve started using the CNC router to complete RV mod projects.  This one completes the mods required to create a private washroom for Mel.


It’s a pretty simple mod, really, and that makes throwing a CNC router at it the very definition of overkill.  I was just looking for something to get my feet wet with my CNC router, and this seemed like a good excuse.  Plus, by including one more project in the list of “things I’ve done with the CNC”, I’ll be able to amortize the cost of it over more projects.  So it will look slightly less ridiculous.  (Because using a spendy tool like this to make a shelf for your cat to poop on DOES seem a bit ridiculous.)

Besides that, this video is a pretty good representation of what it’s like to hang out in the shop while I’m working on an RV mod.  Except for the swearing.  I edited out the swearing.

The router I have is the I2R8, from Imagination to Reality CNC.  I do hope to get faster with the tool so that I can use it for more RV mod projects going forward.  Now that I’ve started tearing apart our EKKO, it’s giving me some ideas of ways to use it.  If you have questions about anything else you see in the video, sound off below in the comments, and I’ll fill you in.

Well, that’s about it.  Enjoy!


PS – if you were wondering… Mel seems to really care less about all the mods I’ve made for him.  Yeah, he uses them, but he actually seems more grateful for cans of wet cat food…

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    21 thoughts on “RV Mod Using My New CNC Router!

    1. Jack Parker

      I came back to watch this video again because I plan to adopt a rescue and remembered your modification. One question: Is there any ventilation in the litter box area to help with the smells or haven’t you found it necessary?

      1. James - Post author

        We didn’t put any ventilation in that area.It seems to work out OK with just the air gap around the cat door. We can still tell when Mel uses his restroom (just like with anyone), but it’s not overpowering.

    2. Jim Rollins

      Hi James, enjoy your videos. I am also a woodworker and see you have a new
      CNC machine from IR2. I have been considering a CNC for my shop and was wondering how you like yours. Also heard you say that you are a drummer. Interesting that many woodworkers are drummers.We must like to pound on things! If you have any +/- on your CNC would love to hear about them. Thanks for all the videos.

      1. James - Post author

        Hi Jim –

        I like the I2R just fine. It’s about what I expected. I don’t have much in the way of positive or negative about it, since most of the successes or failures I’ve had I can attribute to things I’ve done right or wrong.
        The software is what really makes or breaks the machine. I’ve been using Fusion 360 (just because I already kind of knew it). The 3rd party/open source software used to control the machine is OK. Nothing great.
        I might like it more if I were to use one of the Vcarve packages instead of Fusion. But I didn’t want to buy and learn them.
        But for me, that’s OK, since I mostly do utilitarian things – just following paths and whatnot – and not wall plaques or relief carvings or whatever.

    3. Dave Piotrowski

      Hi James, We pick up our Ekko on Dec 15th. Like you and Steph, we want to travel with our TWO cats! Would you be willing to share the file for the divider in the outdoor kitchen compartment so I can have one CNS cut here locally? I’m going to replicate your cat door mod and litter box install? BTW…just bought the Americanizer off Amazon. Thanks for that!

      1. James - Post author

        Honestly, this was the first CNC project I ever did, and I didn’t have my workflow down yet. I don’t seem to have saved the .nc file.
        But even if I had, it wouldn’t help much. Without the same milling bit, and the same machine settings, and the same size blank, and the same thickness of plywood, etc. etc. etc… they would have to recreate it anyway.
        And since the tolerances are pretty tight, if your EKKO was built slightly differently from ours (hose clamps secured in a different place, for example), it might not fit.
        I just never planned for making he design available. Sorry!

    4. Phil

      It warms my simple tools heart to see you making brackets the same way I do (except for the drill press I don’t have), with aluminum angle, a hacksaw and a hand file alongside your new CNC router. Two little switch brackets completed for our motorhome in the last few months, not to mention a compressor fridge back panel out of a sheet of HDPE with nearly the same tools. Hope you continue to mix push button fabrication with simple hand tool work!

    5. Judy Gremmel

      Never thought of custom ABS boxes. For those of us without great tools, TAP Plastics sells and cuts it. Five 10″ pieces for a box would be about $30. I checked out the first company that came up on Google.

    6. Adam Shinbrot

      What, no magazine rack? What’s Mel going to look at while he’s in there? Oh, wait, his phone, never mind.

      1. James - Post author

        He keeps complaining about his phone, too. How I need to get him the newest iPhone, more storage for his pictures, etc. etc. etc.

    7. Dan

      As someone who does some video work, I had to laugh at the title slide-in. Oops! I hate when that happens.

      I like how it will be easy to clean this out from outside and the supply cubby underneath was a great use of space. Looking for forward to your future CNC projects.

      What’s the black piping above the box? Any concerns that this is something the cat will chew or scratch at?

      1. James - Post author

        The black thing is plastic conduit over some wire.
        Mel’s not really a wire chewer, and he doesn’t hang out in his litter box for long unless he’s using it. So we’re not too worried.

    8. Don Wilson

      I watched intently as you added the brackets. My thoughts were adhesives for the main wall and riser to raised floor. Then screws through side wat into shelf. All in effort to save weight and neat looking. Also no holes except in new wall. Many ends to a means.

    9. MJ Remy

      Very professional, James. The details make this outstanding. Its excellent design work and finishing touches. Loved your CNC machine, what a beast!

      All the European RVs have bath mats cut on CNC machines, out of one piece of teak or acacia. Acacia is as good as teak for water resistance. You may want to do that for your next mod. Typically, it fits the bathroom floor contours perfectly, so you never step in a puddle of water. And of course, you can now cut sink covers and cutting boards with ease. Such fun!

    10. Jim

      Are those 5 Lithionics 320 batteries?

      As part of your 20K project will you add to/replace/increase the solar panels?

      I look forward to that video.

    11. George

      I like the toy collection, especially the CNC router and the result is A+. I do have a couple of questions.

      – When you stomp on the accelerator to race the Class A next to you at the traffic light or slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a deer crossing the road, it looks like the litter box will slide backward or forward. Are you going to shim the box or let Mel go for a little extra ride?

      – Doesn’t the whole compartment still end up being Mel’s by the time you include a supply of fresh kitty liter?

    12. Artem T

      Another Idea! Instead of having brackets supporting Mel’s shelf, you could have made slots in the main wall that would support the shelf 😀
      It would, however, require both pieces to go in at the same time and no easy way to remove the shelf without removing the wall either.

    13. Terry H

      So basically you spent about $4K (my guess) for a litter box. Tim Taylor would be so proud. One thing that surprised me, you could have used the CNC router to rout out some of the wood not needed for structural support to save maybe a pound on your OCCC. Maybe another episode. 😉

      1. MJ Remy

        Not really. You have an issue of dry litter pellets flying around, and the everlasting smell of cat poop on anything stored below it or on the side. It has to be an airtight chamber and aired out when RV is parked with storage door opened to the outside. This was perfect, don’t overthink it.

        1. T

          You don’t create holes, just remove some of the wood depth. What a lot of RV manufacturers do so there is more OCCC left.

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