First real project. Glad i did a test piece first

So found a pretty good vector online. Spent some time tweaking it in v carve.

60° 1/2" v carve bit. 45in/min. Feed rate. Dial 2 on dewalt. Depth of cut. I believe was .200" per pass and total depth of of. 3/8". In a 1/2" plane plywood.
Total cut time about 1 hr 30 mins.

Had some issues. (From pic hard to see but some letters are pretty wavey and chip out on the points of m’s and middles of a’s etc.) i believe due to the machine going too deep on its first pass. Even at 45 in/min. I could see the machine fighting to keep from flexing a bit. I even had one eccentric nut on the bottom of the x carage come loose. And i did the 60min x mod. (Wich is awesome by the way and should come in the box.)

I also had some chip out problems. Again i think from going too deep too fast.

So i am very glad i did a test run.
Someone correct me or give me some ideas. But so far my problem solving plan is

  1. Make sure all bolts are seated properly and v wheels adjusted right. Then put a little loctite on screws to keep them from rolling.

  2. Drastically reduce the tools depth per pass. I know this will take longer but if i know it will be less stress on mavhine and quality than i wont have to babysit it.

  3. Maybe even reduce fee from 45in/min. To 35in/min?

  4. Figure out how to reduce chip out. Maybe soak it in my finish before i begin. Like stain or varnish or poly urithane. This might kinda glue the intnernal wood together a bit? Or maybe some painters tape on the top? I have to do some more research. Let me know what you think.

All in all. Not a total faliure. I believe i could clean it up with a bit of precision hand sanding. I am happy with the overall look and design. Just a few spots where letters are not quite right. And the chip out kinda ruins a few letters also.

See this is an impromptu fathers day present for my wifes dad. She was very sceptical at first but when I brought it in her first words were “oh wow that is really nice” I told her. “There is no way im giving this to your dad. This is my test run and im glad I did” hoping to get these issues resolved and post in here a pic of a perfect one. Any advice is greatly appreciated also any ideas on desing are always welcome. ie. The color scheam paint no paint finish?

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Yeah for some reason v carve has all its tools on a default of 100in/min feed and .200"depth per pass. At least i caught the feed rate and fixed that in design. You say .125"depth? Maybe i should try .100" to be safe? And 30in/min. Seems like a good rate. I will give it a go tmw and post results. Thanks.

Plywood is always going to be challenging from a chip-out standpoint as well, it’s just splintery stuff! I generally use 50-60IPM and a 1/8" DOC or more with V-Carve, router cranked all the way up, and it tends to give me good results.


All the way up?!

Yep. There seem to be two schools of thought here. I tend to follow more of a woodworking-type plan, and I use my router at router speeds as you would for woodworking, instead of as you would for machining. Yes, technically I am probably putting more wear on my router than I need to. But I also feed faster than most people, and I’m making nice chips, not dust, so I know my cutter is engaging well. I seem to get good finishes, and my runs tend to be fairly short correspondingly, so the number of hours on my router doesn’t stack up quite as high as using lower feeds and speeds.

V-carving, in particular, is using an extremely small effective diameter a lot of the time, so to maintain chip loading properly, you NEED a very high speed, at least to my thinking. I get good results, but I see good results with a lower RPM setup as well. Run what works for 'ya! :slight_smile:

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Awesome thanks for the advice. I think i will go with solid soft pine instead of plywood.
.100" DOC
50 in/min feed
Turn router up for rpm.
Hope that works. I will post results hopefully this week. As i might want to stain it before i start then put painters tape so i can then stain the cut portions a different color after carving.
Wish me luck.

Sounds like a workable plan to me, I’ve used more or less that same setup for quite a few signs with good results. :slight_smile:

I’ve had no luck at all with a stain-and-mask plan, though, the masking material always gets shredded and leaves huge burrs. My best luck so far has been to carve, seal the surfaces with shellac, then paint the entire thing, and either wipe down or sand off the top face to leave the recessed areas painted. Make sure your sealing is good before you paint, though, or the paint will creep sideways through the wood, right up under even good masking!

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I just cut a pine sign for myself using a 2 straight flute flat end mill. It turned out nice enough for me since it’ll be hung fairly high up on a wall, but I did notice quite a bit of chipping out on the points in the M, W, A, N, etc. I squared them up with a chisel, but I wouldn’t give it to a customer like that. My settings were Dewalt speed 2, 70 IPM, 0.040" cut depth, 0.125" total cut depth.

I know it’s not a V bit, but hopefully those numbers will help you or someone if they decide to use the same bit on the same wood. I’d probably drop to 60 IPM and 0.030" cut depth and see if that helps reduce the chipping.

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What type of material do you typically v-carve into? I don’t think I have my feeds/speeds coming out of v-carve set correctly. I always get little pieces that hang on.

I most often use cherry, sometimes walnut or pine. I also get a few little fuzzies, usually directly at the bottom of the carve. I’ve found that a toothpick with the end cut off to a chisel point works superbly for removing it.

I’ll try the toothpick! I get them at the start/finish of the cut.

Got a 20" x 48" x 3/4" glued up piece of pine from menards (this was my undoing)
DOC .080"
SPEED 4 on. Dwalt dial ( higher burned the wood a bit)
FEED 55 in/min
About 3 hrs.
Finish first spray clear coat. Then black paint in cut. Then sand off excess paint.

This resulted in a much better cut. Very happly with results.EXCEPT FOR!!!

The entire peice bowed up. So the middle was much higher than the edges. So. The cut was too deep in areas. Affecting the small letters making them too close together and too thick lines
Also just to make me mad im sure. A little chip out happend. No where near like before but just a spot.

While I am happy this is greatly improved. I am determined now to get it right. I know if i get a really flat board this will work.

Here is my first pic the test piece with some paint. While it has issues the smaller letters look much better. May have to zoom in but you will see what i mean


poplar plywood is a beautiful light plywood that has a pulpy core that machines extremely well.
It is my go-to for plywood projects on both the SO2 and my lasercutter

Poplar plywood.? See i had some issues with the plywood i did the test cut on. Lots of chip out and stressed the machine. We think the laminated glue is too hard for it.
So im going back to the big box store tonight. I will check it out. I just need something that wont chip is completely flat and machines well. Maybe I should just steal a slab of aluminum from work :wink:
Lol. Dont think im ready for that yet. But this sign in aluminum would be awsome.

Cannot post pictures out of windows 10. Any idea’s

I just drag and drop into the reply window.

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Out of curiosity are you working with vcarve pro or vcarve desktop?

Desktop. And im just starting to play with it. Can’t wait to get into some 3 d stuff with my ball nose bits

The only restrictions i have come across so far is if project is over 24"×24" than have to “tile” the g code. Which i believe it is easy enough to do but i havent tried it yet.

And when i tried to get the key hole gadget. I couldn’t because i didnt have pro. But i just used and modified the key hole g code someone wrote in here.

In short i really like v carve and haven’t found anything restricting that i can’t work around no need for me to spend the extra on pro. If this were my job than maybe but even then. No real need to. JUST IN MY OPINION :slight_smile:

Dont worry the final product is comming soon. I found out that no matter what the very small letters at the bottom just kept tearing out. So i made a seporate tool path for just the very small letters using a 1/16th" straight bit. With pretty slow speed and feed and they loose a bit of that v carved effect. But they are so small. They turned out perfect. Will hope to post in a couple days when all the stains and paints are fully dried.