1000mm xcarve on the way, little advice needed

First of all, hello everyone. This is my first post here so Id better introduce myself. My name is Brian, I’m in Scotland and I build guitars, so expect to see lots of things guitar related from me if I can.
I’ve ordered the xcarve fully loaded with dewalt 611 and a pile of extra goodies, bits and the Vcarve pro software, to do more of the three dimensional stuff I require. Had a good go on easel tonight and found it very user friendly and understandable, I hope Vcarve is as simple to get to grips with. I’m a complete noob at this other than some autocad around 20 years ago, so I have no doubt I will be asking lots of stupid questions in here for a while till I am proficient.

Some simple ones to start… Easel doesn’t seem to list most of the woods I use. Is there a more comprehensive list or formula type thing that will allow me to work out speeds for harder woods like ebony or Purple Heart? Or even just the usual ash, mahogany, alder etc?

Also do I need a decent 3d cad program to design in or, Does Vcarve pro have that in it? If not can you guys reccomend the best software to go with my setup. So many to choose from in the free ones alone.

I’m building a substantial table for it to sit on in the workshop. What’s a good working height for it? Is it advisable to keep it low to make easy access to the bigger machine? What do you guys have it on?

Any thoughts or advice will be apreciated, thanks, Brian.

If vcarve does not fulfill your needs you could try fusion 360 it is free and full featured to students and hobbyist.
As for woods in easel their settings are very very conservative for a dewalt but are a good starting point. I tend to group woods in to categories for similar hardness and tweak settings from that point. Also if you would like to save some money and do not mind spending the time cheap carbide straight flute wood router bits are my favorite and can be re sharpened with a diamond whetstone and reused many times and with the correct settings can be used on soft metals. These are just my opinions and how I do it. In time you will find your own way.

Thanks Shane I’ll have a look at fusion 360 now.

Autodesk fusion360 wants money or my place of education? Don’t see anything to let a hobbyist get it?

It’s ok I’ll wait for Vcarve and it’ll do everything I need fingers crossed.

First, WELCOME Brian to the community. This is a great place to learn and share about all things X-Carve related. Regarding the table height, there is no right or wrong answer per sa. However, there are important things to consider. The first is that you should have your X-Carve sitting directly on top of a Torsion Box and not just the table itself. There are lots of threads here in the forum that talk about building one. There are also lots of videos which talk about building one. Perhaps the best known video is the one by The Wood Whisperer. I have included it below for you:

You’ll need to decide how thick your Torsion Box is going to be. The one I’m going to build is going to be 4 or 5 inches thick, but you can build one 3 inches or less if need be. The one in the video above is 4 1/8 inches. Whatever size you decide on just subtract it from your original table height. So if you wanted a table height of 34 inches, with a 4 inch Torsion Box, then build a 30 inch table instead. I’ll give Fusion 360 another vote. Great program.

Morning everyone. Thank you again guys. The torsion box looks like a great idea. Time consuming but I can understand the theory and need for it. I’m on it :slight_smile: Had a good look at Vcarve demo vids and all manner of sites before bed last night and to be honest I think it’s going to do everything I need. Will wait and see how I get on with it before confusing myself with something else.

@robert, I get you, so use the CNC to make a 1/4" channel rather than cutting out a whole body then use that as a template for the follower bit. Will definitely give that a go when I’m up and running. Main tasks for it will be neck pockets as you said, fret slots, neck profiles and pickup routs etc. It’s the repeatable accuracy everytime im after and I hope this is going to take my instruments to the next level while taking away some of my manual processes.

Is there a good place to find free downloadable projects in Vcarve? Either as a start point for my own or even just random cool stuff to try?

There is a tab on Vectric.com called “cool stuff”. You’ll find free projects in there. I think only a couple are available for the trial version.

When I first started using Vcarve/Aspire I watched a couple YouTube channels to get firmiliar with it.
“Work against the grain” is one I recommend and Vectric has their own channel as well.

V-Carve can handle 3D files, but you cannot “create” a 3D file from it. It is not a 3D CAD program. Vectric Aspire is a 3D CAD program that can create and generate code for 3D files.

If the Vcarve pro can’t do what I need it to, then maybe ive made a mistake in my software upgrade choice? Wasn’t cheap at an extra 500+ bucks. As I said before im a complete noob with all this. Don’t even know what an svg file is lol.
I’ll get fusion360 downloaded tonight, and get some experience on it, thanks for the link.

Thanks again Robert. So you remove material (like a 45degree cut or something) then use the xcarve to carve the profile?

I don’t mind having to do a little prep, but If I could get it to do the shape/profile perfect everytime I wouldn’t mind it taking a while. Gives all my guitars the same or choosable neck profiles. Right now that’s a very lengthy process anyway, and it’s one of the main reasons I bought the machine.

Oh yeah and I now have fusion downloaded. Messing around in it now. Thanks guys!

I think you made a great decision with V-Carve. Congratulations and have fun with the tutorials. Also, 3D models can be found online and imported into V-Carve. But, then again, V-Carve is the only software I ever use so take this (and most input) with a grain of salt and find out what works best for you.

Once again thanks for all the input guys. I can tell this place is going to be very helpful for me in my huge learning curve. Watch tutorial videos like crazy, Fusion360 coupled with Vcarve, that free vector program thingy, torsion box, check :blush:
Now it’s the waiting game… Practically memorised the tracking number already lol.

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I’m right there with you :wink: I at least received my parts already (except my X-Controller) and completed my torsion box so I’ll begin assembly this weekend or early next week.

One thing I’d like to throw out there regarding the torsion box is that even if it is not 100% flat, as in has no bowing or anything, then it will still work just fine since it will be a surface that does not warp over time. I built mine last weekend and I did not have the means to build it as precisely as the guy in the WoodWhisperer video above but it still turned out quite nice. There’s approximately a 1/16th bow across the surface so all I plan on doing to get it as damn near perfect as possible is to go buy some of this epoxy or something similar and pour it over the surface because being a fluid and all the epoxy will self-level and should (hopefully) dry into a pretty much perfectly flat surface.

Sounds good Andre. I’m thinking about using conti-board for the inner spars in my box. It’s cheap perfectly straight and easily availible. 18mm marine ply each side and i’tll be rock solid. I think your right tho. Just as a stand for the xcarve it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just strong rigid and level.

Andre just know that all epoxy finishes are not created equal. Some have a tendency to yellow after a while. There’s a good video on youtube where someone tests all the brands. The one you linked to was rated as good, but not great. I’ll be using epoxy on my Torsion Box too, but on the sides and not the top. Whatever brand you buy make sure you mix it for at least 5 minutes for best results. Then use a heat gun to remove all the fine bubbles. You might want to also look at this one on amazon which has excellent reviews and is less non-yellowing than most other brands;

Give it plenty of time to set and dry before using. At least 48 hours. Good luck. Post some pics :slight_smile:

Brian coati-board sounds a lot like what we call Melamine. I was thinking of using this for the top on my Torsion Box if I can find a place that sells it in black. It should work fine for the inside of your box. Standard MDF would work too.

Yes same stuff CNC3d. It’s run off huge machines and the edges are pretty much square and level. Will be a bit more expensive to build but a lot less time consuming. Can buy black off the shelf here.

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