Inventables Community Forum

New "Inlay Generator" app

This is an issue that has plagued me for a long time. If you are trying to create an inlay by making a “pocket” and a insert, you cannot just cut the insert as “Outline, outside” and the pocket as “Fill”. There are two reasons:

  1. Sharp corners: The parts of a design that are inaccessible because of bit size are not the same between the pocket and the insert. In fact, they are the exact opposite. So a new design has to be created that compensates for both the inside and outside sharp corners.

  1. Fit tolerance: Even if your design had no sharp edges, it still would not be good to cut the two parts to the exact same dimensions. Depending on the material, you’ll need to leave some space between the parts so that they can fit together.

This new app takes a design (you have to have your shape selected) and creates two new shapes: an “Outline” shape that is the cutout insert, and a “Fill” shape that is your pocket. You can then use these two shapes in your designs (and get rid of the original).

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! The exact tolerance you should use depends a lot on the type of material you are using, so you may need to experiment.


Holy Moly yes!!! I was thinking about this the other day, this is going to be amazing! Thanks @paulkaplan!

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I definitely want to give this a shot over the weekend. Exciting!

Just gave this a quick peek and it looks great! One thing I noticed though is you can only pick your bit size in 1/16th inch increments, would it be possible to change this to an input box instead of a slider? Just from measuring my 1/8" bits I found that they are actually 2.9mm (0.114").


Definitely a good idea. From a developer perspective, we are using that same “range” type property for any kind of numeric property, but really it seems like there is a difference between “unit” numbers (like lengths) and “unitless” numbers (like iterations or # points). We should probably make two separate properties, and have the one for unit values include a unit switcher (like the bit size does, between in / mm).

I’m finding that even with the tolerance at 0 my pieces are still not fitting snugly enough. Any suggestions. I spent hours last week creating multiple versions of fonts that I use to solve just this problem so I was elated to see the app, but the fit is just not quite right.

Are you setting the cut out piece to be “Outline -> Outside”? You should not do that with this app because it is already offsetting the male part.

That may have been an expectation breaking mistake on my part, sorry.

No, I used the automatic selection: on the path for the positive cut and fill for the negative. But after that did not work I tried many variations of cut paths, but even just looking at the letter in easel you can tell they are not that close. Maybe my needs are too precise. I have been cutting letters out with a scroll saw so I’m used to a very tight fit, since scroll saw blades are very small. I was able to recreate a pretty good fit on my own on the x-carve, but like I said it was very labor intensive to manually round inside and outside corners and to create two differently sized images before importing everything into Easel. I am now playing with manipulating the tolerance. Using the negative cut at 0pt tolerance and the one from a 4pt actually looks like they may nest fairly tightly. I will be giving a shot in a bit and I can let you know.

Hi I’m sorry for that not working for you, I did more testing myself and found a bug that was causing the male part to be cut about a quarter bit size too small, causing the loose fitting you were seeing. I tried again after fixing that issue and my parts fit nice and tight! Sorry about the problem.


Here is my little test, with the default tolerance it fit nice and snug!

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Dude, you freaked me out! I thought I had it all figured out mixing and matching different tolerances and cuts so that I had a perfect fit. I came back out to the shop and nothing was lining up. I thought I had gone crazy. :slight_smile: I’m super glad you figured this out. I’m about to give it another go and I’ll let you know how it works for me. Thanks so much.

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I was working on inlays last night! Saw the “apps” section, but had no internet out at my shop. Checking it out this morning, and so glad for it! Thanks for making this. It is magical. Cannot wait to try it out ASAP.

You guys rock.

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I finished this yesterday, but just now got the chance to share it. The app works amazingly well! You saved me tons of time and frustration and opened up so many more possibilities for inlay type projects. Thanks so much!


@JosephCompton that looks great. What kind of wood are you using?

@JosephCompton AMAZING! I’m so glad it worked for you, it looks awesome.

you guys are killing it with the new easel apps! awesome!

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The base is maple and the letters are black walnut. We’ve sold many of these but before the x-carve I was cutting everything by hand on the scroll saw and instead if a fill cut for the negative I was cutting this out of birch plywood and then gluing on a back. Being able to do the negative using a hardwood rather than plywood has greatly enhanced this product without effecting the cost as it saves so much time. Big thanks guys!


This will be really useful Paul. A welcome addition.

Brand new to the site. Just got my X carve. Where do you get the apps you talk about and how do you use them with easel?