Inventables Community Forum

Les paul top carve - in Easel?

Hey all,

A local luthier has asked if I could carve the rough stages of a les paul top carve. He currently does this by hand but is looking to save time. I understand plans can be purchased for CNC ready files, but as we’re only roughly contouring the body they aren’t necessary. I have the topography image and know the depths of each layer.

Initially I was thinking I could export as an .svg and use easel’s fill function do to each layer, however, as the paths need to be joined, this makes things difficult as the paths would share boundaries. I COULD make separate files for each layer and cut them individually but that seems like more trouble than it’s worth?

Does anyone have any ideas or input?

Thanks in advance

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If your looking for as a rough stage like steps then would be sanded down to give its look you can use fusion 360 to run a toolpath for roughing the shape out. Then you know everything will be perfect and not take as much time with easel and messing around with different things where fusion will show you how everything will work out with your design before you do it.

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Hi @BrendanCoutts - Similar to @JoshuaEnos comment, modeling the contours in an application like Fusion360 is the way to go. Creating the CNC paths from the model ensures you get what you expect.

If you use Easel, I believe you’ll have to translate the contours into grayscale values. I’ve never tried this and cannot comment to it’s ease or accuracy. But, It’s possible.

Speaking as a Fusion360 user, the image you shared could be used to extrude a simple model for the body. The contours can be extruded as well to the exact depths you already know. From there, you setup a rough clearing operation, export the gcode, and your good to go.

You could also do a test run on pink insulation foam to ensure you’re getting what you expect.

SVG of each layers.

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I believe the best way to do it would be to import an SVG of each layer in, and give each one the proper fill value. Stack them correctly, and it should not cut through one layer to the layer below. Give it a test though, at least a small-scale test on MDF or foam should tell you whether it will work correctly.

That’s a good idea. Each outside layer will be deeper than each layer it encircles, so it would be an interesting workflow to set up.

I’m with the other guys though. Fusion 360 is the clear winner for me. Creating the file you want would just be a matter of importing the images and creating a loft from each step to get it at the correct height. It might take a half hour or so once you get it all figured out. Then you can generate a single toolpath that you can import into easel or your other favorite software…

Now, should you really get going with it, you could, as @PhilJohnson said, create or download a full 3d rendering in 360 and cut the top so that it would only need a light surface sanding afterwards. Given the slope of a LP top, you wouldn’t need a very fine bit for the finishing pass, so doing the whole thing on the X-Carve should go fairly quickly.

Keep us posted on this. I am really interested to see how it turns out.

Thanks so much for all the replies guys. I messed with fusion 360 once before and really didn’t have a lot of fun, but i’m willing to give it another go, or perhaps play around in rhino as well. @B.F Thanks so much. I’ll have a play in the next week or so and post the results.

I don’t like drawing in fusion either. It is not very intuitive. I usually start in autocadLT and extrude it in F360. I think you can get a free trial of LT and just keep renewing the trial it every 30 days.

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Take the original drawing posted at the top, set top layer as “no carve” if you want, then fill each layer with a successively slightly darker gray tone, scaled to the depths you want to cut. Am I missing something?

Does someone have a file of the Les Paul Guitar they would like to share?


I’m somewhat new to Easel but I used the same file above (from user Ex Nihlo on a guitar forum) to make each layer, and added a perimeter which cuts the piece out. I would love some help refining this.

Ideally I’d model this in a mesh form rather than layers, but I don’t yet know how to do that.

I havn’t used but I believe you could upload your SVG and specify a cut depth for each level. If I wasn’t at work I’d try it for ya!

Please give this a try next time you have some free time!

I created a new file that uses SVG flies:


Do you have an X Carve program for these layers that you can share?

Do you have a program for the XCarve to make these cutouts for the LP? or can you tell me the dimensions of each layer cut?

This opens in Easel. Log into Easel. Click on the blue rectangle. Set up your machine…

If you would rather import your own lines into your own 3d program, you can find the pdf carve template set in here: