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I see a lot for folks using “tapered” ball nose , what’s the difference/advantage over the ballnose bits that inventables sells ?

Tapered ballnose bits generally have a longer cutting length and are much stronger than a straight ballnose bit and allow for a longer/deeper cut.

Ahh ok that makes sense! Thanks for clarifying

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make sure that you are using a software that allows you to program in the taper angle of the ball nose bit for the best results

For those of you with V-Carve, here is a nice little project I found on Youtube that does 2 sided cutting.

I cut my blades from 1/4" Corian and used African Padauk for the handles. I need to glue it up and sand.


Well, here is the latest upgrade I am working on.

I bought the 3.8 watt laser from J-Tech Photonics ( ).

I printed the mount posted by @JasonWest on this thread: Jtech laser mount

Everything is on the mount and it comes off of the system with 2 screws attached to the left side of the Router mount. Very easy to put on and remove. I still need to clean up the wires (mostly shorten as they are way too long).

I added a bit of complexity to the connection of the laser by using a much more powerful power supply to run my system. I have a 48v 12.5 Amp power supply running everything, so I have to pull out the old Inventables powersupply and use that one in conjunction with my Gecko G540 supply. I will wire up the power supply, and configure Mach 3 this weekend.

One thing to note about J-Tech Photonics…Jay Johnson at J-Tech has been a huge help in getting me to understand how things get connected. Every question I sent was responded to very quickly. Great service @JTechPhotonics!
More to follow…

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Everything is wired up and I did a couple of tests. I will go through the focusing process and try the cuts again.

These are done at 75 IPM at 2" from the workpiece.


More laser tests…


Two more test pieces…

Focused the laser one inch from the material, much cleaner lines, nice and crisp. The etching should be a bit darker, but I am pleased with the results. I think once I oil the board the image will really stand out.


That is awesome! I need to get my 3.8 back out and do some more testing. I got mine around Thanksgiving last year and set it up and did some initial tests. All went decent…but I’m partially color blind so focusing the laser is harder than I thought. I tried staying as close to the 3" focus as I could with ok results. Maybe I need to move it down a little more. I gotta find some more time to test!

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I did some test at 3" and I just wasn’t happy with the results. Once I put the laser at 1" above the workplace the focus was much crisper and I could get a thinner line.

If I was doing a large piece, I would probably move to the 3" mark, but for really fine lines the 1" seems to work best for me.

Bear in mind, I’ve had the laser up and running only for a few days so I have more testing to do…

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Thanks for the info! At 3" I was getting a thick line in one axis or diagonal…and a thin in the other. I got it more to try and cut through 1/8" ply for the jewelry I make for my wife’s business…but haven’t been able to test enough getting that deep. Hopefully soon!

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Here’s a good instructable article on working with lasers.

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A laser test on the cover of a journal I use to take notes on carves.


That’s neat!

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@ErikJenkins - in your experience so far, has the 1" focal length worked the best for you? I bought the 3.8W laser almost 4 months ago, and I spent about 2 hours playing with it before I had to pull it off and go back to cutting paid projects. I’m hoping to return to it in Feb, but the biggest issue I had was getting a decently focused beam. I know his docs say 3", and my eyesight is awful, but I just wasn’t impressed when I was testing with that distance. I also tested some fonts on MDF, and the results were less than spectacular, have you found a good test medium (eg. plywood, pine)?


In my very limited experience with the laser, I find etching with the laser 1" above the material produces a finer/cleaner line. 3" above didn’t give me the crisp clean line I wanted.

I have made test etches in MDF, bamboo, maple, masonite and padauk. I have gotten really good clean lines in all of them.

You really need to turn the power all the way down on the laser to get a good focus. I put on my reading glasses and really made sure the focus was as sharp as I could get it. it does not focus to a pinpoint, it is a small rectangle shape.

Another focusing tip courtesy of @picengravertoo. Black anodized aluminum is your friend. :grin:


I didn’t check to see how old this post was that I’m commenting on but how do you carve on a piece you have already cut out and finished I thought once its done its done. (note I have not bought my X-Carve yet

Basically, it you can clamp/attach a piece to the x-carve you can work on it… Which post above are you referring to and I can be more specific.

This post is way too long now… I’ll start a new one on my next post.