How to set up this carve?

Okay, here’s one I can’t wrap my head around. I know I need to use my 1.55mm bit to get the detail I need on the lettering and the leaves. But I want to step it down so the lettering is at the material surface and the leaves are a couple mm lower…oh wait. I think I just figured it out…

I can set up using the 3mm to do a rough cut and surface and then a clean and then swap in the 1.55 to go back in and cut out the itty corners left behind, right?

Any suggestions for other ways I might do this other than flat? What if I outline the leaves a good 3 or 4 mm and then go back in with my V bit to shape the insides? How would that work on the parts that have the text overlapping the leaves? See image two.

These tiles will flank the main carving all around the archway. Any suggestions on wood for this kind of detail? It doesn’t have to be thick wood - 1/2" overall would be PLENTY.

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Just saw this in the other thread too - I think that’s the way I should try the tool change this time around instead of the manual way I have so far. Can you tell me what the code for this is (or teach a man to fish and tele where to look it up)?

I then assume I need to make sure the bit goes in at the same height as the old one or all hell will break loose? (Z-height cannot change) And the “un-pause” is just a click on the LCD right?

…when I ask and then find the path to the answer so easily (thanks Google) I feel like a schmo…

Okay, so thats how I’ve been doing it - separate code files, cycling the power between. I use hard stops in that I just run my x and y right to the extreme 0,0 of the x and y travel until the assembly bumps into he corners. I’ll have to just make sure that I set the files to the work surface (for my setup) since I don’t typically load material in at this 0,0 point on the machine.

So that’s settled. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on how to best carve those parts rather than just flat levels?

So you want the letters raised and the leaves cut in? I also use hard stops but I adjust my stops so 0,0 is over the front left corner of the work so I can set Z. It’s not perfect but it’s perfect for what I use it for.

I’ve played around with one of them in ESTLCam and I think what I want to try is the following (please feel free to suggest different orders of events - I think this is “safest” the way I’ve thought it through):

V-Carve the inside of the lettering but leave .5mm allowance from the edge of the lettering for a little detail ridge. Then I’ll switch bits and machine down everything but the lettering 5mm using a 3mm flat cut bit.

Switch back to the V Carve bit and sculpt the insides of the leaves right to the edge of the shape and then do an engraving cut, just .5mm deep to give the leaves a beveled edge. [ This is the part I’m not sure about where the text and the leaves intermingle…]

Switch back to the 3mm flat cut bit and machine the background down another 5mm, leaving the leaves raised.

Switch to the fine bit and go back up to get the corners on the lettering and the leaves.

I’ll try it in foam first to see how it looks but not sure how the foam will handle the details.

Please, if anyone has any other suggestions I might try in terms of how I could cut this sort of artwork let me know. I’m open to try anything here. And if you have any recommendations on what wood might be best that could be the more important question based on the level of detail I’m hoping for. If I could do this out of pine I’d leave a sharp edge on the leaves so I could hit it with my torch to char the fine edges which once sanded down gently would leave a nice natural soft edge. I just have a feeling the details will pop off if I use pine. Can’t hurt to try I guess…

There’s ten of them to do and the piece needs to deliver December 6th so I’ve got some serious earmuff time coming…

Maybe I am missing something but in Estlcam you can v carve the whole thing but select another tool to do the pocketing. It will them do all the hard work (figuring which tool goes where) for you. One tool change and done.

I might not be explaining it perfectly either. I had assumed that machining down (surfacing) would be quicker with a 3mm cutter as opposed to a pointed v bit cutter just because of the stepover alone.

I think I got what you were suggesting earlier Ryan and have been setting up all the V Carve parts at their varied depths and then setting up the pocket/hole operations but that’s where things are falling apart on me. I need a smaller bit. My smallest is a 1.5mm so I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck using finer bits like from a Dremel toolset?

The screen grab shows you what I’m running into. I’ve already had to switch to three different typefaces because I couldn’t get the letterspacing to look good but still give me the clearance I need to get the cutter between all the shapes. Thing like the corners of “v’s” were getting cut off by the neighboring letter forms etc (I was using serif type). I thought I had it here with this typeface but sneaking into the gaps in the individual letters is now messing me up this time. The catch is it’s for a k-4 school so I can’t use script tpography and must use upper and lower case. The overall space I have to work with dictates a font with roughly a 1.5mm width to it - just coincidence, nothing to do with that being my smallest cutter.

If others have had luck with finer Dremel cutters, which ones? Even if they burn out quicker than a better bit I can at least get enough of them to get this job done.[attachment file=76891]


A carve operation and a V bit should handle those letters just fine. Do you need to cut them all the way out or something?

I tried it this afternoon - I’ll get a photo when I get back. Question though - see the line art above? How do I get the v bit to surface all the white space down between the leaves and the edge of the “rectangle”? Is that the max carving diameter? And then it’s kept in check by the maximum depth? I’m willing to let the v bit do the job to eliminate the required tool change to do the surfacing with the 3mm flat mill. It’ll take longer but one tool, one run seems a better plan here for me and I do like the look of the v carve result.

Yes, yes. Do not pay too much attention to the what the vcarve screen shows (other than you are looking for overlap), If you look at the toolpaths they are completely different from the small circles. You might really get down and dirty with a small test file to get the hang of it. One letter in a square or something.

It’s either this or set all ten panels up as a 3d carve - both will take equally as long to run IMO. I’ll try the V Carve again first. Here’s the pic of what the V Carve did - of course the art wasn’t set up for the V Carve alone - it would have had some surfacing passes to do afterwards hence the “plateau” the text is sitting on.

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Once that’s run I can use my sander to knock back the leaf edges so the text really pops up. I think this’ll work.

The toolpath isn’t what I expected to see there. This looks like my bit is 75mm in diameter…I can see the middle toolpath line there…[attachment file=77039]

As a follow up…it gets awful busy once the carves pile up on each other. Can I fine tune the max width so things just overlap “enough”? I’m changing my mind on maybe doing a V Carve and surface run…

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Sorry. Ignore me. I see the tool path lines on the preview. We’re all good. Going to test this. One letter and one leaf (inside and outside).[attachment file=77045]

Like I mentioned, the circles do not say much about the actual tool path.

You should be selecting the outer square as well.

The blowout past the upper edge of the leaves is bad and the file needs to be fixed.

If you upload the path vector file here I can try and help you out a bit.

Typically a carve is much shallower than you are using, You really should not be going deeper than the edge of the V on the V bit.

I’m trying to limit this to 10mm deep which should be shy of the top of the bit. The lettering is at the material surface. The leaves are 3mm down from that and the negative space is another 7mm down from that then. I think I explained that right. hahah

Re: the blowout you see there. That’s all “off the art” area - I had to extend the ends of the leaves where they left the cut area so the v bit wouldn’t lift up at the edges. This panel joins up with a matching panel but I want to cut them one at a time.

I’ll save your lifeline offer if I can’t figure this out tonight. We’re just headed out for dinner but I don’t plan on sleeping until I have this solved and know I can run the MPCNC all day long tomorrow. But thank you as always! It’s looking ok so far.

About all the overlapping though - do I fine tune the max diameters to try to overlap just as needed? Or will the CNC program limit the redundant/overlapping tool paths?

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