problems with Estlcam and carving

Hello every one,

My wife has asked me to make her a sign, I’ve completed a few with out issue in the past, just name plates for my kids doors. But this one is giving me a little bit of grief. Everything goes will in Estlcam, I found a mistake I made the carve width is way to small giving me ridges in the middle of the letters, easy fix. But what I am concerned about is the quality of the outer walls of the carve.

As you can see in the attached photo the edges are jagged. Now I have the finishing allowance set to 0mm, but when I increase this, nothing seems to change in the simulation. Now I haven’t tried to cut it as of yet with the finishing allowance. The bit I am using is a 90 degree v grove bit, cutting diameter of 6.35mm. I have used this bit to make smaller signs with smaller letters and they came out just fine.

I’ve added images of my set ups for the carving and my tool list. If you see something I’ve missed or have any advice I would be ever so grateful.


Your bit may be getting dull. Is it a single or double flute? Is it cutting upwards? My V bits are 45 and 60 degrees. Have you used a ball end bit for your finishing tool? That’s what I would use and ESTLCAM will stop to let you change bits. Hope this helps.


I am guessing your cuts are a little aggressive and the loads on the cutter are making the tool wander a bit. I am seeing the thinner (shallower) songle cuts are okay and for the double lines, one side is smooth and the other side has issues. From which I’m inferring the first cut has heavier loads and wanders, and then the second cut is ok because it has a lighter load.

If your first pass leaves enough material to accommodate the wandering, a second finishing pass should clean up nicely.


Thanks for the responses, I don’t think my bit is dull as of yet, rather new and only used for maybe a total of one hour. as for a second pass I imagine there is two ways I could go about this, run the program twice, or could I set up a finishing allowance and then run an engrave pass on the inside of the line with the same tool?

If set up a pocketing tool being a 1/8" flat bottom endmill will it run that first then change the tool for the carving?

what I am seeing when I run the program is the v bit is cutting in a spiral pattern instead of a line to carve out the material. So I’m wondering if I should use the pocketing tool in the carve dialog.

Have you used the ball end bit to finish? When I use my endmill to finish, it leaves rough edges. The ball leaves really smooth edges. Def worth the few dollars. I’m upgrading my router to the 1/4" collet and bits to 1/4" to cut twice as much in the same time period. I’ll use the same settings as the 1/8" and use the bigger bit to cut instead.


No I have not used a ball end mill to finish. As I understand the carve function is ment for a v bit. Under the carving properties it doesnt give you an option for a finishing tool, just a finishing allowance.

Alright after much trial and error I think I have figured out the problem. I was setting a depth for the carve. I have run it a number of times trying different approaches and found the carve worked best when I didn’t set a depth limit. I also changed out the tool from a 1/4" v carve bit to a 1/2" v carve bit and got the results I was looking for. It would appear that when a depth limit was set to 3 mil and I was cutting at a DOC of 3 mill it would try and pocket out the larger areas giving me a poor result. Now that I think of it though maybe carving at the full 3 mil was my problem, and I should have set the DOC to an appropriate number as described in the tutorial…

Well here are pictures from the final, well almost final I will be running a second pass just to clean it up then adding some finish. The wife is happy and I think I’m happier that I figured it out!