My first introduction to “3D” carving (if you can call it that) was a very simple exploration of the Super Gradient Generator by Ethan Kinney. I used this to make a simple catch-all tray with a sloped recess. You can view the project here if you’re interested: Catch-All Tray | Inventables
I had also been playing with some roadmap carvings, and wanted to try my hand at topographical maps next. I used this awesome site to create an STL of the topography I wanted to capture. Once I had the model, I brought it into Fusion 360. I followed some helpful tutorials, but I still felt a bit overwhelmed by the CAM capabilities in Fusion 360. After lots of trial and error, I finally had the CAM set up and was able to export the g-code. I brought that into Easel and voila! Unfortunately, there were so many CAM settings available to adjust, that I ended up toggling one and not understanding how it would impact the carve, so the final product wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but it was close. All in all, this process took a long time and was pretty stressful, and in the end, I was not completely satisfied with the results.
And then Easel 3D came along! I was blown away by the ease of use. Even in development, it has been vastly easier to navigate than my prior experience with Fusion 360. I decided to try another topographical relief, but this time around, of an area with more dynamic features. I chose a mountain with sentimental value and grabbed the STL from the site linked above. This site was shared by one of our developers, and it was very helpful to reduce my STL file sizes to keep them under 20Mb. Importing the STL into Easel was quick and simple, and the CAM settings were just enough that I knew what to do but didn’t feel overwhelmed. After setting it up in Easel and simulating the toolpaths, I decided to mock it up in Fusion 360 just to compare. The setup in Easel was much faster, and the toolpaths generated from Easel even resulted in faster carve-times. I was impressed, and even more so when I hit ‘Carve’ and got to see it in action!
I made two models of this mountain, both in MDF. One model shows the roughing pass results, and the other shows the finishing pass. The “finished” model is not completely finished, as you can see that some of the roughed edges remain. Ideally, these would be removed for a finished model. The roughing and finishing passes each took a little over an hour.
To summarize, Easel 3D has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for makers. The process is simple and intuitive, and the results are beautiful! I am very excited to see what else Easel 3D allows me to create!