I’m building a meat carving station for my band, to be used at an upcoming competition. Aside from trying to figure out the logistics of building a 2’ x 4’ x 3’ table with adjustable-height collapsible legs that also looks cool (different challenge for a different forum), I thought I’d up my game and bring some CNC into the mix.
So, having already designed the logo, I decided to stretch my legs and create a relief carving of it.
Here’s the most recent prototype:
The top and bottom rocker text was V-Cut using F-Engrave. The relief was cut using a 1/32" 2 flute upcut bit, 2500mm/min, .5mm DOC. The profile was the same settings but with an 1/8" straight bit.
The final piece is about 11" square. I used 12" square by 6.5mm thick plywood. The plan for the final piece is to use hardwood.
So, to create this piece obviously there were several different tooling strategies at play.
First, I found the center of the workpiece and marked it all the way from corner to corner so that once the relief was carved I could re-find the center point in case I lost it along the way.
Next I loaded it up into the machine and set my 1/32" bit on the center.
In Easel, I selected all my artwork, clicked the center domino button, and then entered 0,0 for X and Y. This put the center of my design on the origin, or 0,0 point of Easel’s workspace. It will still generate toolpaths even if the artwork is “out of bounds” so I used this method to trick Easel into using a center origin.
After letting the first carve finish, which gave me all the different depths, I loaded up my V Carve files into UGS.
(I tried using Easel but it doesn’t like all the commentary that F-Engrave puts into the gcode file.)
I used one file for the top rockers and one for the bottom, since they were at different depths.
I set the Z 0 point based off of each rocker, re-zeroed the machine, and let 'er rip.
F-Engrave, doesn’t respect artboard boundaries, so to get everything to line up right I’d have to manually and numerically enter an offset for my objects, so rather than do the math I made “crop marks” to borrow an old printing term. Marks that define the outer edges of the artwork so that F Engrave can align the different files properly.
After cutting each rocker banner, I reset the zero point and loaded my third bit for the outline. After that I just cleaned the edges up with a razor blade as a scraper and some 400 grit sandpaper. The plywood is really stringy and I had some nasty chipout along the profile edges. Hopefully that won’t be as likely if I use a proper hardwood like walnut for the finished piece. And, there was a big knot in a middle ply that caused part of the design to blow out. But I kinda like it. It gives the piece character.
I’m on the fence about whether to just stain the wood or have it painted to match the graphical logo. I might do both, one in nice stained hardwood and one painted plywood.
Anyways I’m very happy with how it turned out, it was my most complex job I’ve done with the X-Carve so far, using 5 pieces of software (Illustrator, Inkscape, F-Engrave, Easel, UGS), 3 bits, 2 carving styles, all on one piece.
So what do you think?