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Cutting a stencil with Carvey

I want to cut a stencil of a butterfly, just the outline to use as a mold for hand made paper. I thought I would use the 1/8 expanded PVC I received in the Carving material Starter Kit and the 1/16 solid carbide bit that came with the machine. What I am concerned about is how to protect the waste board when cutting all the way through the material? I don’t want to muck it all up on my first cut.
Thanks for helping with this.


If you’re just using clamps to hold it down, put a few pieces of construction paper underneath. That stuff is very flexible and tends to pull up.
You could use double sided tape to hold it down. The thickness of the tape might be enough to help preserve the wasteboard.
You could secure(super glue and tape) the PVC to a thin piece of MDF, Plywood, or hardboard and go to town.
Best option would be to just not worry about the wasteboard. It’s a consumable.

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Thanks for your response. I am so excited to use this machine. I want to make this today. But have been doing my due diligence in reading about all the different controls, mainly which bit to use for what. For PVC I should use an upcut bit, not too fast so as not to generate heat? Or do I really have to worry about that? As for filing, I am assuming any regular wood file would work, right.

I am cutting out a butterfly from .25 expanded PVC. So basically the machine is cutting the line and the tabs are in place. But I am not sure which bit to use? My guess is an upcut bit. I have on 1/8" upcut, a 1/32 fishtail, a 1/16 fishtail and a 1/8" straight. What is your recommendation.

Given those choices, I’d probably use the 1/8" or 1/16" upcut. That expanded PVC cuts like butter, but you want to keep the chips clear (upcut). Can you share the file? It helps to determine the bit.

Hi Neil,
Thanks again. I still haven’t cut.

Here is a link to my file:

I agree, that using the up-cut bit is my best choice for what I have on hand. I want to buy more bits and have a lot of this expanded PVC so I am wondering what you think would be the best bit for this material.

I understand about keeping the chips clear but I haven’t read about if I can stop the machine midway to vacuum out the chips. Maybe this is such a simple cut it won’t matter?

I know I just have to experiment. Thanks again for your help.


Sorry for the quick response, but some suggestions:

  • Eventually look at getting a single flute end mill for PVC.
  • Make sure you choose inside or outside path depending on what the stencil will be
  • On the Carvey, with PVC, I tend to cut fast (1200mm/min) with a shallow depth (.6mm or .7mm)
  • You can stop the carve and vacuum (just press the button to pause and then again to resume)

This is key.

Happy to.

One more thing…the Carvey is very different than the X-Carve. I have a Carvey and also have a Shapeoko 3. On the SO3, I’d cut that in one pass because the machine can easily keep the speed up through the material.