Making a sign for local store- few questions

Making three sets of letters for a local tobacco store, he wants them carved out of white plastic, they’ll be approx. 10-1/2" tall and 12" wide, 5/8-3/4" deep.
Just wondering whats the most cost effective material to use and best xcarve settings so it doesnt melt or burr up the plastic. I can buy pvc sheets at the local lumberyard or order plastic online.
Any advice or a push in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

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HDPE works well:

the Font is Minion Pro SVG file for the tobacco.

Thanks guys. So do you think itll be cheaper to order it online? I could prolly buy one 4’x8’ sheet at the lumberyard and get them all out of that as opposed to buying a bunch of 12"x12" pieces online. I was just curious if there was anything i had to do different for azek pvc as opposed to hdpe

you can do a search in ebay or craigslist for 1/2" WHITE KING STARBOARD.

Oopsie… I think there is a typo in Cigarettes… unless that’s something new to smoke. :wink:

Alright so i’m setting everything up in easel right now. Anybody have info on the best bits to use, and settings in the software?

also, how do i import the font? i downloaded a file for it its .ttf

You can’t import fonts…Easiest way is to type in Adobe Illustrator and export as an .svg

They agreed to do it in one of the easel fonts. Any recommendations on cut settings? im assuming i should set my spindle on lowest setting

Here’s my process for something new:
-Make it in MDF (preferable full-size, scale if absolutely necessary), lets you see relative depths if there are any.
-Decide what material you want to use. That will help you determine what bit you want to use. For plastics and metals, you want an upcut bit that probably only has 1 flute. For plywood and MDF, you probably want a downcut bit. For regular wood you can use upcut, downcut, or straight flute.
-After deciding what material and bit you’re using, take a piece of the material about 1’x1’ and do test cutting on it. Determine the cut depth and speed that (a) minimizes chatter, (b) leaves a good finish. One good resource on how to determine the best feeds/speeds is Just modify their procedure as you see fit.

We could give you all kinds of speed and feed recommendations, but each X-Carve is unique. You need to find what works best for you, and keep a record of that. Given that, the community has come up with a few general guidelines that tend to give the best cut while preserving tool life:
-Don’t try to cut a pass deeper than half the bit diameter. Even a stiffened X-Carve will have a hard time leaving a good finish trying to cut deeper than that.
-If you have the Dewalt 611, use the slowest speed possible. Faster speeds tend to wear the brushes, and can cause the bit to burn/melt/destroy your workpiece.
-If you have the Dewalt 611, you may need to use bits with only 1 or 2 flutes. The slowest speed on a 611 is still pretty damn quick, and you will likely end up either dulling your bits from rubbing or getting a horrible finish from trying to move too fast.
-If it melts, use an upcut bit to remove the chips from the cut path. Consider cutting a second larger path so what few chips remain can be bounced around instead of being re-cut by the bit.
-If the workpiece is large and thin, either use a downcut bit to help push the workpiece into the wasteboard or use double-sided tape to hold it down. If a large workpiece is only held down on the edges, an upcut bit can act like a screw and actually pull the middle of the workpiece up. Best case scenario, your pockets are uneven. Worst case scenario, your workpiece comes off the table and embeds itself (and a broken bit) while spinning in the nearest bag of flesh…

Hope that helps!


Huge Huge help, not just for this project but in general. I appreciate everyone throwing good info out there. I have plenty of time to work on this so I’m gathering everything I need and tweaking the machine on test runs.