Because We Can, Making Great Things With CNC Fabrication


I’ve been meaning to write about Because We Can for a while now. Started a couple of years ago by our good friends Jeffrey “Toast” McGrew and Jillian Northrup (an unstoppable husband and wife team), Because We Can is a design and build company that makes amazing things from a variety of materials using automated CNC (computer numerical control) fabrication in their in-house shop in Oakland.


Here are Jillan’s photos of their headquarters as well as some of the work they have done (she is also a talented photographer).

Maker Day 2007

Because We Can is a prime example of the kind of company embodies the Maker spirit (a term used to describe type of DIY people and projects that are profiled by Make Magazine) and they have been actively involved in the last two Maker Faire events.




Recently they completed work creating a fantastic steampunk meets cephalopod interior design for the San Francisco offices of game developer Three RingsDesign, Inc. Here are Jillian’s photos of the installation, which were also featured in a Wired photo gallery.


Because We Can

Another great project of theirs is the Interactive LED Coffee Table, a collaboration with our mutual friends over at Evil Mad Scientists.



Lately Because We Can has been working with artists, helping them to extend their work into new mediums. They worked with sculptor Michael Christian create some smaller sculptures (normally he creates his work on an extremely large scale) and they created some wonderful wooden boxes for Attaboy’s new Quezshun figures.

Maker Faire

Some of the things that Because We Can creates are available for purchase and they can also be hired to create unique furniture and interior design work.

photos by Jillian Northrup and Scott Beale

Scott Beale
Scott Beale

Scott Beale founded Laughing Squid in 1995 in San Francisco and is currently based in New York City. When not running the blog, Scott can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.