Carving and cutting

So we are trying to carve a letter into the MDF board to make scrabble look alike blocks with letters and we have everything set up etc. the bit we use has spirals going up and down to make a smooth cut on the out side but 1. Do we need to use another Bit then the upcut 1/8 bit to carve the letter in the cut out block? also 2. Can we speed up the time without breaking the bit because we need this project tomorrow and each board (theres 4) takes 6 hours. but we cant wait the 6 hours each board. and 3. how do we tell on the stimulation time frame where it will start ? will it carve first then cut out the block or will it cut out the block first then carve because it always cuts through the tabs and we dont want to mess it up.

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1 - Sounds like you have a compression bit. Its designed to go full depth but the Xcarve may not be able to do that anyways.

2 - Hard to say without knowing your particular machine. Have you tested the upcut 1/8" to see what kind of depth per pass/feed rate/cut quality your machine can achieve?
What are your cut parameters now?

3 - In Easel you cant choose order, it will be “random”. Your best best would be to duplicate your main project (Cutout and Lettering) and separate Cutout from Lettering. For instance run Lettering first, then run Cutout. That way you have control of order atleast.

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Can you share your project?

If you are cutting through your tabs something is not set up correctly. Are you using the probe or are you setting it manually. You shouldn’t be cutting all the way through your tabs. Have you confirmed when you tell your Z to move 1" does it actually move 1"? you can change your tab specifications to make them thicker and taller as well. (see pic)

Typically Easel will cut the through cut last. I generally cut .04 for what you are trying to achieve for the letters. I set the cut to run in two passes . Set your depth at 40ipm/40ipm with a depth cut of .03 under custom. this will clean up your bottom. MDF is very soft so you can generally push your feeds and speeds. I would run it as a two stage carve. Do the letters first as described above then run your cut out pass at 40ipm/40ipm depth at .1.

This is how I would do it,it depends on your machine and how well it is setup. Steve


Whenever I intend to cut through I always use the spoil board for reference.
If the material is say 12mm nominally (it will always have variations) I zero off the spoil board, then jog the bit 13mm up and use that as Z0. Depth to be carved is then set to 13mm.

Using this method remove the true material thickness, and its variations out of the picture and the bottom of the cut will be exactly at spoil board surface :slight_smile:

This would also ensure that defined tabs dont get cut through.

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So we are trying to carve the letter into the block and then cut the block how do we do this ?

and speed up the time to not be 6 hours and what bit do we use for carving and cutting and how do we know if the bit will carve and cut and which steps will happen first?

i replied to other guy as well you may be able to help me now that i screen shotted it and uploaded it… we arent cutting through the tabs now thank you i changed all that

First of all, I´d recon a 1/4" bit would be much better suited for a job like this due to the size of your objects. You can also increase step over from the Easel default 40% to 80% so each letter will require shorter tool path, as its “chugging wider bites”.

Here is a screenshot of what I was thinking:

  • Run letters first
  • Run outline last, select “Use previous home position” in Easel

With 40IPM and DoC= 0.05" per pass Easel suggest 2h30min for a 1/8" bit for the project shown below. (Thinner letters than yours so not a direct time comparison, but my point remain)
Same carve but with 1/4" gave me 1h50min
Same carve with 1/4" and 80% stepover gave me 1h35mins

Width of letters and their respective final depth vs depth per pass will affect carve time considerably.

Shown below, left to right:
Main project, duplicated twice in full -> Letters only (Carve) -> Outline only (Carve)

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You are absolutely awesome!!! Thank You Very Much!

Haldor’s sample is how I would do it, I like to run my letters so it does it in two passes I just feel the second pass cleans the bottoms up for a nicer cleaner look. I also always choose one of the pro setting so it cuts horizontal or vertical. The font you chose is what is killing your times alot to clean out.

I set my material thickness .03 more than the actual material thickness to fool Easel to cut deeper so it always goes though, I always use a spoil board as well.