Need advice for sign carving project

Hi folks,

I’ve been asked (by my wife) to carve a sign. I know nothing about making signs and my feeble attempt to test carve the image below in MDF leads me to believe that I need some instruction. So here are the topics that i’d appreciate feedback on.

  1. Should I do the design and layout in Inkscape and import an SVG into Easel? It seems like I might have better control of fonts that way.

  2. Should I convert the text to “outline”, or something else?

  3. The text she selected doesn’t want to carve in Easel unless I use a 1-micron bit. Any suggestions for font styles and sizes that work well for this sort of thing?

  4. In the same vein, my test carve with a 1/8" ballnose bit looked pretty lame. What sort of bit(s) should I be using here?

  5. Should I do this as a 2-part cut with separate roughing and edging passes? If so, how do I make Easel do that?


1 - You will have a greater selection of fonts that way. You can use any font installed on your computer so you basically have a limitless supply of fonts (can find many online to download and install very easily).

2,3 - That font she selected is very hard to carve with anything besides a v bit. It will only carve those tiny black lines that outline the letter. If you want to use that font you will need a TINY bit or use a vbit ( is free to use software).

4 - V bit if you go that route or a flat end mill.

5 - You can signup for that feature with this link: Two stage cuts . Just reply to that thread saying you want to try it out and usually within a day it will be added to your account. You’ll then be able to pick a bit for roughing and detail.

Summary: If you want to use that font, use a v bit and v bit software (or tell Easel your vbit is .001 wide or something. I haven’t had any experience doing this but many others have done it). If you can change fonts, redesign it in inkscape (or use one of Easel’s fonts) and import to Easel as a svg. Easel will then tell you if it can cut that font with the bit you have selected.

What did it look like when you tested it in MDF? With the ball nose you would have had a rough bottom finish but how about the lettering? Was the bit small enough to fit inside your design? A bolder font could be helpful if not.

Even though I have V-Carve and use V-Bits often I sometime do engravings with flat end mills, usually in the 1/16" range…sometimes smaller depending on the size of the lettering.

This is an example of something cut with a flat end mill, I think it was 1/16".

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll see if I can figure something out in Inkscape, there seem to be plenty of online resources for it. To answer your question about how the letters looked, they looked incomplete and blocky, like for a stencil. I think I need to find a font that looks similar, but is bigger.

I ordered a couple v-bits that should get here Weds. In the meantime, I’ll see what I can get using the 1/8" endmills I already have.

Wow, that’s awesome! Ok, I’ll see what I can do. Will need to lookup f engrave, haven’t used it before.

Messed around with f-engrave yesterday. Seemed to do nice work, but I had trouble setting size of my project correctly in Inkscape and decided to see what I could do just in easel. Pretty happy with this result. Will explore the more sophisticated stuff again in the future, when I have less time pressure to get something done.