So, I got my x-carve up and running about 2 weeks ago. The only carve I have done is the one Inventables has you test with after assembly. Since then I have been focused on learning VCarve and continuing to read these forums to that I can absorb as much as I can.
Today I did my first full-cycle project (idea, design, carve, improve idea, improve design, etc) of a 1.25" Round Tuit. Although this may seem like a trite exercise, it did provide me with many challenges and opportunities to apply what I had been reading about into a tangible item.
I did the design in VCarve. Although I was stumped from time to time I found the tutorial videos VERY helpful. That, along with an easy-to-use interface allowed me to work through tasks such as importing a 2D graphic (the funny shape in the center), placing text along a curved vector, and the many options in the tool path arena such as creating multiple tool paths. For the tool paths I created 2 of them - a v-bit for the letters and a 1/16" upcut end mill for the funny shape and the cutout.
I then exported the g-code and imported into Easel and carved. The trickiest part there was making sure I didn’t screw up when changing bits.
I wouldn’t call what is in the picture a done item - there are some changes I want to make (back to my full cycle comment above) so that I can improve the item and, also, my knowledge:
The funny shape in the center does not need to be so deep
The letters do not need to be as deep as they are (such that to help prevent some smaller pieces from chipping out). I suppose cutting a slower rate and doing 2 instead of 1 pass will help also. (It is 1/4" plywood so I expect some chip out on pieces that small.)
I need to get and use a down-cut end mill
To cut the piece out with the profile end mill tool path, I set my depth slightly more than the thickness of the board. My mistake was making that same additional value the same thickness at the tabs I used to hold each piece in place.
For my next round, I’ll spend more time looking at the feeds-n-speeds that everyone is always talking about, get a better understanding of what is going on with this particular project, and how, if any, of the rules-of-thumb apply to what I am doing.
Thanks for letting me share my comparably small project achievement.