After doing some simple things like cutting out round ornaments and doing some basic signs, I decided to do something more complicated for a secret santa exchange.
First I needed to cut the jig. I did this design in AutoCAD, exported as DXF, imported the DXF to Easel, converted the circles to drill points, and then cut it out of 1/2" plywood. I only made shallow indentations for the holes and finished on the drill press. There are 3 “extra” holes because I forgot to switch to a second part in Easel. I stopped the cut and then selected the right one.
1/4" bolts are used as axis of rotation and index pins. I hot glued the part to be carved to the hexagons.
Next I ran a series of processes repetitively.
I cut the small end first and did this by removing material vertically from the sides. This allowed me to have a curve since Easel only curves in the XY plane. I needed a 1" long 1/4" bit to do this. I used the top of the jig as the Z=0 and the XY 0 was along the axis of rotation at the front of the handle. I ran this 6 times rotating through the various sides. When I had a chunk of material that could be sawed off that is what I did. Cutting like this saved CNC time, though I ended up with quite a bit of “just cutting air” time as material had already been removed in places in the previous cut.
Next I flattened each of the 6 sides of the main part of the handle.
I used the same XYZ origin. This was a “traditional” pocket type cut. I switched to a 1/2" long 1/4" bit.
The third process was using a 90° V-bit to make the hatch pattern.
For this the XYZ origin was at the “V” at the front of the flat side near the taper.
The pattern was almost perfect. The diamonds are almost “continuous” around the sides.
The final process was using a 1/32" bit to carve out the name.
I messed up on the first attempt at the first step by not having a long enough bit and forgetting that I would not have had a flat aligned with the index holes. So the first run was a learning process.
Instagram post with short video of the completed CNC process
Instagram post with a picture of the jig setup - first run mistake piece
The finished piece: