Carve vs Cut

Hi everyone, I’m looking at getting a CNC machine that can actually cut material out and not simply cut. The X-carve suggests that it can carve, but will it be able to actually cut stuff out? For example, if I have a 1" thick piece of wood, and I want to cut out the letter “A” so that I am only left with the letter and dispose of the wood that was not used, is this possible?

Is a frog’s behind water tight? You bet it is, and so can the x-carve cut out letters, even at 1" thick, and do a very good job of it as well.

Sure it can. That is what all the talk of “Tab Placement” is about.
(When cutting out a shape you leave a bit of a connecting tab so the part doesn’t pop free and get chewed up or thrown by the bit. An alternative is to hold down the whole work piece with double sided tape.)

In the V-Carve pro software this would be a “Profile Cut”.

Here’s an A for you! And three other letters. Only the letters were done on the x-carve. I recommend “ramped tabs” as they leave fewer tooling marks IMHO.

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been having some issues with tooling marks, going to have to give the ramped tabs a try! thanks for the suggestion

Thank you for your reply. You mentioned that it can do this even at 1". I understand the z-axis travel is at 2.5"… does this imply that I would be able to cut out letters up to 2.5" thick?

Thanks again

err yes…?
Profile Cutting that thick would be a challenge.
Part of it is you would need a bit that long. (This is why I have a 3" long 1/8" end mill)
The longer the bit the more cut quality issues you would have. (flex in the tool under load) So the slower you have to cut. Something soft like foam or wax would be no issue at all. Hardwood might take a bit of work to get good results.

Another part of it would be finding material that thick to cut.

If you are willing to do 3D carving, so that there is a slight slope to the cut then it becomes MUCH easier.
You can use a shorter bit, the slope allowing for the non cutting part of the bit or collet to clear the edge as it moves down and over.

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Many thanks for your informative, and helpful, post :smile:

Cutting depth is limited by end mill length and the length of fluted area which cuts.

My longest endmill is 3" o.a.l. w/ 1" flutes, and I’ve cut through 1" stock:

http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Endmills#Specific_Bit_and_Brand_Recommendations

http://www.garrtool.com/tooldetaillogin.jsp?edp=41030

Not that my opinion has any definitive standing to it, but I do concur with all the above replies to your question.

You can also cut two or more layers and laminate them together. Sand them flush and no one is the wiser. A Dremel is helpful for this.

Thanks all! You guys are just loaded with great ideas… much appreciated :smile:

This shield was cut from 1" stock. If you can find a font that allows you so use a 1/4" bit, cutting at 2.5" would be a LOT easier. 1/8" bits that long would seem dicey to me. If you need that level of detail, you can create a pocket around the letter instead of just cutting the outline. If the pocket is 1.5 times the width of the bit, it will give the bit more “breathing room” just in case there is a little runout (not perfect rotation) or if you lose a step here or there. Plus it would allow for better chip clearing and less heat.

Very clean cut :slight_smile: Thank you for sharing, and the helpful advice.