How to carve a layered sign

As some have seen. I’m relatively new to CNC carving. My brother asked me to make a family sign for him I designed it and when I hit simulate it carved the depth of the deepest setting. How do I correct to accommodate the various depths that I set up

You need to split the overall design into different objects. If the entire design is one object it can only have one depth setting.

Depending on the design, it can easily be achieved by the Xploder-app in Easel, which break any non-contacting parts of a object into individual objects.

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Could you share your file?

I used 1/4" depth and then put lettering and symbols as an untouched depth

Here is one that I did a few months ago. Look at my depth and the bits that I used, It came out good

That’s like the ones I’d like to try but not sure of process with cnc

1/4 inch bit for the roughing and 90 degree for detail. Look on the third page in the Easel file that I shared.
I did the text in Easel so you can edit the text.


That is really awesome. Thank you. Any chance you could explain the process of how to get this as I am still in the learning stages of cnc

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Just make a box in Easel the size that you want and set the depth to .15
Then I typed out COX and put it in the center of the box toward the top at a depth of .05
Then I typed out Chris and Angie and put that in the center of COX at a depth of 0
Then typed out EST. MARCH 3, 2020, put it in the center toward the bottom and set the depth to .05
I used the hearts to fill up space and because they look good, set the depth to .05
Used a .25" bit for roughing and a 90 degree bit for detail.
Remember to set your Z height in the same spot on the material when you change to the 90 degree bit.
Practice using Easel and you will pick it up
I hope that helps
Good Luck


Thanks so much that seems way easier than than I expected it to be. I appreciate your explanation and time helping me understand

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Hi Russell, For starters I just want to say thank you for all the useful help and insight that you so graciously contribute to this forum! I am a fan for sure! Keep up all the good work…

I have a quick question for you, if you don’t mind… So I took your file that you posted for the Cox sign and I used it as a template to make a sign for my little girl’s room. It’s just a sign that says Sisters on it with their names… Your file made it very easy for me to make in easel and seem like a rockstar designer here at the house! lol… Ok. So to my question. I ordered some of the Oromask stuff and am trying to figure out a way to apply (your) that process to this sign to get a nice, clean paintjob on the sign, using a few different colors to help make the text pop. For the life of me, I cant wrap my head around how I can make it work. I know the text that is at a 0 cut depth will get painted/stained before I put the vinyl on… and that is about as far as I can get… haha. The pocket behind everything, I’d like to paint its own color but am ok if that isnt possible… but is there a way to use the oromask to be able to get that 2nd level/layer of text/detail it’s own color? I hope that my rambling here makes sense… I can include a copy of the file if that helps as well. Let me know what you think and again, thank you for all of the knowledge that you bestow!


Hi FigJam36,
You’re welcome and thank you. There is no easy way to paint multi level signs. I use a good foam brush from Lowes, the ones that Home Depot sells aren’t as good. Don’t put a lot of paint on the brush and use light strokes and if it doesn’t cover real good on the first coat then put 2 light coats. To paint the insides of the letters use a small brush and keep a rag in one hand so as soon as you get a little paint on something you can wipe it off. The only other way is to have a vinyl cutter and cut out different mask or vinyl to apply to the sign.
Hope that help

Some people might say that I cheated on this one because I used vinyl instead of paint :man_shrugging: :slightly_smiling_face:


Absolutely love that everyone here shares the knowledge of how to’s. I just wanted to say I keep checking too see if more updates. Thanks you to everyone who has contributed to help newer members learn

thanks for the info Russell! I dont have a vinyl cutter, so paint brushes with a rag on hand will be the way to go for me…

What do you mean by using vinyl instead of paint? Vinyl that you cut out with a cutter and then applied to the sign?

Yes, on the sign above I cut out vinyl and applied it to the sign.

Is it normal for a sign like that (i downloaded your sample file) to take 3+ hours to carve?

I would say 2 - 3 hours is normal for a stock X-Carve, which is what I have. When I did that sign it took about 2 hours and 10 minutes, I had the depth of cut to .1 on the roughing pass and I sped up the feed rate to 70 or 80. I had the detail bit set to .15 depth of cut and started with the speed at 50 and increased it a little while it was running.

and what bits did you use? i dont know what bit to select to make the flat part? is that a special bit i have to order? or would that come in the carving bit starter pack?

I used the 1/4" spiral bit from Inventables and a 1/2" V bit from Home Depot. The cut is 1/2" but the shank is 1/4" on the V bit.