Messing around with halftone carving

im preselling these alread. would like to see finished piece. 90 v bit right? what are dimensions and time?

planning on mdf, they have some 2x4 ft sheets pre laminated

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Good news is that this also runs via Mono on Linux. Must give it a try.

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If you use “Point Retract” in addition to “Safe Z” it helps a lot. Safe Z is the height when moving large distances, like at the beginning or end of the cut. “Point Retract” is the height used moving between neighboring dots. I generally set my Safe Z height to 1/4" (6mm) and set the Point Retract height to 1/16" (1mm) with no issues.

It also helps to have a fast Z motor. I had to put a fan on my Z stepper because it got really hot running it this fast.


Hole size is really about how small you can go while maintaining accuracy, what your viewing distance is, and how well your material can hold its shape. If you make the holes too close, you run the risk of not leaving enough surface material or having it break. Melamine will chip, whereas an engraveable plastic will hold its surface layer better.

The project size limit is mostly based on how flat your material and cutting surface are. A small project will be less likely to warp or sag, and depth accuracy affects the quality of the result. If you have a solid bed with a vacuum hold down, you could probably cut much larger pieces than someone with a homemade machine.

I generally try to set my holes to be about 5 to 6mm diameter, offset odd lines, and use a spacing of 4 to 5mm. With the offset you can get away with slightly tighter spacing. I usually cut pieces that are about 24" x 18" (600mm x 400mm) and find that hole size to project size ratio works pretty well on my machine. The XCarve, being smaller than mine, is probably a little more rigid, so you might get away with smaller holes, particularly if you’re using a narrower bit, like a 45 deg.

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Feed IPM I don’t recall - Probably around 50 or so. My rapid speed is about 1000+ ipm (though the accel time will limit that quite a bit), and my steppers are 420oz-in - It’s a pretty beefy machine.

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I too wanted to try this software and some images.
Looks interesting.

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Plz tell how do you get the zero set I have yet to get it figured out. I let it start then pause after it cuts to depth and manually raise the z.


oh man phil!!

nice I just downloaded the software lol I was wonder how people were making those I will try her out

and love the idea about powder coating the mdf I am actually working on bringing that to my area right now with a local powder coating shop

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what program are you using to create your toolpaths with the point retract? or is that in the halftoner software?

ooooo that makes sense cause his name is also on the halftoner website lol

so yeah probably in the half toner software then

oookay slow kid has caught up!!

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pass taken lol its been a long day for sure

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how i can send the file to Easel thanks

You have to use universal g code sender or something similar I do believe. At least that’s what is suggested and I used it yesterday with great results! Will post later!


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It won’t let me upload pic…I’m goin to the reply box, clicking to add file, choose my file, and it just keeps loading and loading and never ends. Third time in a row.

I had to reload 4 times, but it finally loaded!
The picture part itself is 12" square.
I have pics of settings and progress etc but I’ll post those in the part from the walk through that was sent out in the email few days back.
This was on a really old beat up piece of 1/8" whiteboard I had tossed in back corner and got wet etc over time, and it still came out pretty decent!
Gonna try another one today of my little girl.
Btw this has 8500 dots and took 2h 45 min using settings with absolute min z travel 0.05" above work the bit would move over.

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Yeah, I generally let Halftoner make the paths. If you do use another program, like Vectric, it generally doesn’t produce as optimal a cutting path as Halftoner, just because I “know” what the optimal order to cut the holes is, and they have to work it out. I also do things like rapid from your travel height down to zero, then feed-plunge into the material, which saves a little time.

It’s cool to see you guys playing with it - I wrote it 5 years ago. :slight_smile:


Thanks Jason for all your advice and input.
I plan on doing a piece soon.
Will post results.

First one is about 12" square and the second was about 8" square. Both on old old whiteboard. (So old that painters tape lifted the white off in a whole bunch of little spots!) but they came out great!
Now I’m comfortable enough to do a real piece hopefully today on so,e much better material.

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