Help with 3d carving

alright this might seem like a stupid question but can someone please help me with making my first 3d carving from an image

In basic i want to take a photo or graphic and make a 3d carving in wood

Softwares that I have include

Fusion 360
Universal Gcode sender
f engrave

please let me know how i can make this happen I am looking for help with a step by step process

here is an example of an image i might want to use for my first 3d carving



this is a 2D drawing :slight_smile:

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Well, could be 2.5D. :wink:


If you just make a profile cut through the wood all the around it you would have a 3D object.

What you are asking is like showing a line segment and asking how to turn it in to a 2D object


Here is an stl file, Fusion 360 should be able to import. test.stl (1.6 MB)

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I would like to know how do you take a 3d picture and convert it in to a file to cut out I have programming experience for parts but have never just taken a pic 3d rendering and made a cut file out of it can this be accomplished useing vcarve pro and if so how would you?

V-Carve Pro/Desktop can import an STL file. You can use most 3D modelling programs and generate an STL file. V-Carve is not a 3D modelling program, the modelling must be done in different software.

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I have solidworks got it from work as a freebie when we bought a new cnc mill but I use inventor for programming at work so never have used solidworks would any one be able to walk me through the process of modeling and makeing a stl file again I program parts on cnc mills and lathes but have never had to do any 3d modeling and would like to learn how to

I just tried this in Estlcam for grins. Not bad…


Alright thank you I will try that out in fusion and see what I get

So how did you do that?

Thats what I am after I see everyone all over the net cutting 3d images and I want to do the same now I know that the image that I provided was 2d so I am glad that you where able to do that but I am still confused on how

But next question is how do I take a 3d image and turn it into a 3d model which I then can use fusion 360 to do the cam

So far all I have figured out how to do is create an original 3d model in fusion and by original I mean an object from scratch but if you where to create what you provided from stratch in fusion this would take a long time I am looking to convert any photo or 3d image into a carving basically I guess and 3d image or photo into a 3d model so I can use fusion 360 cam

Thank you for your help I look forward to figuring this out

I guess a different way of asking the same question lol

How did people make these?! I want to learn how to make 3d carvings and i have no idea where to start


The simple answer is 3D clip art like from . Either that or a lot of artistic ability.

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There are lots of 3d modelling programs out there. Blender is a popular open source modeler and can be used to create models like the ones you posted. There are a lot of great tutorials on YouTube that will guide you through the creation of 3d Models.

The one I posted above was quickly done in Aspire, but you could do that in a lot of programs. Most modelling programs have a steep learning curve, but stick with them and go through all the tutorials you can find (there are tons of them) you will be creating great things soon enough.

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That is a much better question! I would recommend you start with a free program like Sketchup it can create 3D components that can be imported into Vcarve,

I am still working on how to design nice 3D shapes myself and unfortunately just like being able to draw nice 2D pictures it takes some artistic skill (which I am sorely lacking). What I have been doing is taking a 2D image and then extruding it upwards to get a blocky basic 3D shape. Then comes the artistic part, you need to start smoothing edges, using the 3D form modifiers to push and pull the shape (like you would modeling clay) to get something that seems right. Sometimes you can just take the blocky 3D shape and apply a curved surface to the top and it will look fine, other times you need to tweak it for hours.

There are hundreds of hours of tutorials on youtube showing how to do this in Sketchup and Fusion360.

The easiest way for me is to just search ebay for STL files and buy completed 3D files that someone else (with more talent than me) has created. You can find people selling sets of files for pretty reasonable prices (a few dollars each)


A full 3D model is involved as you need some kind of 3D modeling software to create it.

With the 2D clipart you have to start with there are a few ways to go.

The easiest is 2.5D. That is the 2D art given some height. (Raised or recessed) You can mix and match different levels for a layered effect.
The Easel program is made for this. It now has an app that can trace images and you can them make adjustments to cut depth.
For more advanced 2.D creation and tracing I use Inkscape (a free program) to trace and layout the SVG file then import that into Easel.

Another approach is to use a V bit. This is a V shaped cutting but that will add that chamfered / beveled look to the carving. This is often done with the lettering on signs and create and very nice effect with minimal effort.
Because the effect is obtained by using a shaped bit you technically do not need any special software to do it. (you can still use ease, just lie to it about what bit you are using)
But you will need special software to preview what it will look like.
VCarve is one program that does this well. Though I believe there are some free stand alone programs out there for creating V-Bit gCode. (Who knows? Maybe someday Easel may support this as well)

Finally there is true 3D. This is a lot more complex as generally you will have to build the model from scratch using your original for reference. There are several programs out there. I have not had a opportunity to try them out.
Other commenters on this thread have done a good job of pointing out the most popular and available programs.
YouTube tutorials will be a great help here.

Once you have the 3D model you will need to convert it to gCode using a CAM program. Again there are several programs for this. I use VCarve (Free trial with select premade projects) .
MeshCAM looks like it may be a good inexpensive alternative (Free trial)

Finally sending the gCode to your mill. UGS(Free) is one of a few programs that you can do this with. It can be tricky to get working the first time, but is easy to use once you get things configured properly. There are several threads on the boards that outline this in detail.

alright yeah I really didnt know it was so involved on the artistic side I to struggle with drawing complex objects I will go back to youtube and try and do my learning there thank you for all the reply’s

I would love to get aspire but at 2000.00 (more than the 1000mm X-carve) thats a huge investment just to start out

I was hoping that is was a bit more easy but I will research it further and see what i come up with

and i tried that 3d model that you created in Aspire in Fusion and it didnt work to well because its made of triangles not nurbs so it wont let me convert it easily to a 3d solid

You can start with Sketchup, it is free to use and is pretty easy to get started with. Plus there are lots of help files on youtube for it.

Hey Evan, If you can wait until tonight, i’ll put together a quick 10 minute instructional video for you, and you can figure out the rest from there.

I’ll go step by step for you, from taking a regular piece like what you got there, to creating a cutout in Fusion 360, or a coaster, or whatever. If you give me some background on what you want to do with it, I can probably tailor it for that…

Also, what kind of bits are you using?



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