Newbie question - Can X-code carve on a sphere?

Hey everyone,

I’m new to the forums and X-Carve. Before I purchase one however, I want to use it for carving on rounded/spherical surfaces. Is this possible? I’m sorry if this has been answered already but I’ve searched for a while and could not find the answer I was looking for.

Thanks in advance!

I believe that all depends on how you want to do the carving. Using the right software, you would be able to carve letters and such into part of the sphere, but ultimately you would only be able to carve wherever the bit could touch.

Without major modifications, it can only move in the X and Y axes, and straight up and down in the Z. It can only do 2.5D, not 3D, which means that the router bit should always be perpendicular to the table surface. So if you wanted to carve on, say, a billiard ball, then you would probably only be able to carve decently on 1/3 of the exposed area on top (with the right bit). You could go farther out, but at that point it would be cutting “down” and not “in”.

As Robert says the stock machine can not engrave on a cylinder or spherical surface with good results.
With the right CAM software you can generate a hemisphere or half of a cylinder and with some creative work holding you can do the other half.
You can also do some engraving along a cylinder but you can not engrave around a cylinder on a standard machine.

If you want to engrave all the way around a cylinder than you will have to Mod the machine. This would include raising the gantry so there is more that the 67mm the stock machine has.
You would also need to upgrade the stepper drivers so you could add the 4th axis as a rotary axis. You would also need to come up with the equipment needed for the rotary axis. A small rotary table that has had a stepper added so it can rotate under software control can be used.

The next big problem is CAM software that will deal with the 4th axis. When you go from 3 to 4 axis the cost of CAM software goes up rapidly.

So can it be done on a stock machine not very well. On a highly moded machine it is doable at a cost.


Thanks for the replies! I’ll continue to do research.