App for Planing Boards - Back to Front only

I’m interested in hiring or helping to fund an app that assists in planing boards.

I envision entering the bit size, the step-over (or use cutting settings), board size and Z depth per pass.

In my experience, planing is the smoothest cut from the back of the machine to the front, so I’d want it to plane back to front, lift, move to back, drop, and continue.

Is this something that is possible with apps?

@MattSlaga1 Does it have to be an Easel app?

Not sure, what are the other options?

If you need something more customized, I think that could be done without learning Easel app development.

Well, since I teach students on how to use the X-Carve Pro, I try to stay with just Easel instead of multiple platforms. It would be best to possibly do this in the Easel platform as to keep training streamlined.

Doesn’t Easel pro give you the option to pocket along only the Y?

Yes, it does, but I’m looking for one that only carves on back to front, not front to back. Flattening router bits aren’t made to go that direction. It typically doesn’t show on board flattening, but really shows when flattening end grain cutting boards. You can see the striping in the attached pic. The planing is smoothest from back to front.

Hi Matt,

Apps do not support generating custom g-code, so what you are looking for cannot be done in an app. Do you have more information on why the direction matters for this use case?


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Pretty easy to do using Easel. Just look at the settings, you just carve a pocket that is bigger than the material, you do not need to lift, if you don’t want the router to cut the cross grain at the ends, just take the bit past the end of the work to step over.

I think what he is getting at is the cutter works best going in the direction it is intended to be run at but when you go back the cutter is not working as intended and the cut is not as good. At least that is what i am understanding and it makes since no matter what the bit size it cuts better in one direction then on the back side.

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Yes, @WayneHall, you are correct. It’s less that the cutter isn’t working as intended, as it doesn’t matter what type of flattening bit I use. They are designed to cut in a certain direction, and do not cut as well in the other. On edge board flattening, it doesn’t appear very much. But on end-grain, it definitely shows - clearly visible in the prior picture. It requires a lot more sanding to smooth it out, and is frustrating as only the cuts in the front to back direction really need the extra work. You can also see it when I flatten the waste boards, stripes based on direction. No ridges, it’s still nice and flat, just striped.

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Ok, I get it. Climb vs Conventional.
I know you want to use Easel, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Would something like a web app work?

What do you teach?

I run a nonprofit called ‘Future Tech Skills Inc’ (, dba of that provides technical certification scholarships to aspiring future tech leaders. Entry level certifications mostly, help our scholarship recipients obtain a certification and then help them prep for resume creation, interviewing skills, etc. Kind of a career launching endeavor. In addition, we also provide occasional technical vocation classes, such as woodworking, CNC, 3D printing, IoT, etc.

So, back to your response… A web app that would generate the G-Code that I would then import into Easel? I think that would work. Happy to help fund if needed.

I use my X-Carve Pro on occasion to help with creating cutting boards that we fundraise - as a product-for-donation. It’s such a great tool for flattening, and of course, all the other things it can do :slight_smile:.

What kind of bit are you using.
I use low cost bottom cutting bits and am getting very good results. If run at too high feed speeds with too deep a cut, I get a little visual machining marks that are too small to measure or feel. Typically use 3/4" bits with a 40% step over. Probably should re tram the machine to get rid of the marks.

I am using a high quality 1.5" flat bit. It cuts very well on regular boards, but not so great on end grain planes, only on the front to back. Cuts fine on back to front. There is no ridges, so tramming doesn’t appear to be an issue. It’s more of a bit design cutting, as it doesn’t matter if i use a .25, .5, 1 or 1.5 inch bit, I get the same result.

The x-carve pro is trammed quite well, i get barely a whisker when testing.

I could try to do something simple that I think would work. Surfacing toolpaths are pretty basic. Creating an easy to use interface is a bit more challenging. I was playing around with this earlier, but I’ll give it more effort.

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I use Freecad. Easy to program what you want.

What I believe would be a simple way to do what you want just using Easel.
Material size example 12 X 8 inches.
Select cut on line, 13 X 19 inches.
position the cut line on the material edge.
Set depth of cut.
Select all, copy & paste
Position rectangel 2 so that the toolpath is overlapping the first rectangle by an appropriate amount.
Rinse and repeat until you have covered the work with tool paths that suit.
Place a rectangle pocket cut with zero cut depth over the tool paths that are outside the work piece.
You should be able to select the direction of cut by choosing which tool paths you run.
You could make the original flattening file the full size of your machine, then just adjust any zero depth rectangles to suit the current work piece.
Safe the file & use whenever you want a board flattened.

Interesting idea, but I wonder what it would decide to do on each recursive cut. I know sometimes it doesn’t behave the way I think it should, or the order of cuts that it will take. It might cut rectangle 1 first, then 7, then 2, etc. @NeilFerreri1 wrote a g-code app to do this, and it works beautifully. I think he is considering how to share it.

It saves me 15-20 minutes per end grain cutting board of sanding. The cut direction makes a tremendous difference.

I’m new but this looks like those marks could be fixed with proper tramming