Save a botched 2 stage carve - type of fill?

Roughing bit: 1/8"
Detail bit: 1/16"

here were settings used.

So it looks like your 1/8" bit was cutting deeper.

You can try just the detail pass again with the 1/16" bit only set Easel to do a full depth cut with the 1/16" bit (if your total cut is 1/8", set your depth per pass to be 1/8"). It should reduce your carve time. Reset your Z zero and see what it does. If it is still too shallow, you can always adjust your cutting depth in Easel to be deeper to compensate. You could use a caliper to measure the difference between the different bit’s cutting depths.

Now, if you’re not probing, you could alter your X/Y position and cause a whole other set of problems though.

It also appears like you are cutting deeper on the right side than the left side, which could indicate an out of square type problem as well. It might be camera angle but it appears deeper on the “RS” than the “BEE”.

How were you planning to finish the sign? Paint? Stain?

You could use a resin to fill in the lettering which would hide the problem.
If you’re going to be painting you could use like wood glue to fill in and then paint over it.
You could try some wood filler if you can get it in there.

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Great points @JustinBusby thanks.

I’m using bits I got on eBay that look like this where they have the collar to set them to the same depth. So the hope was that i didn’t have to reset my zero, just swap the bits and keep that collar touching the collet.

I also have noticed that the right side of my XC wasteboard is deeper than the left, so it may cut correctly on the left side, but will be shallow on the right, so you are correct. I don’t want to mess up the nice silk screen to level the bed, but guess I don’t have much choice to do that or cover it up with another MDF board and then level it (expensive bits… 1/4" is the biggest i got so guess it’ll just take some time)

I definitely know I can’t paint finish it, that wood glue trick is a good idea I haven’t heard before. I like it!

The sign is going to be dark stained with the letters being white. So my best idea so far was to get some sort of epoxy/resin/whatever that is white and pipe it into the carving area until it’s level. Then it’ll hide the problem spots. Then do a final sand with higher grit to get smooth and any epoxy spills, then stain (carefully around letters).

Is there a preferred epoxy/resin/whatever? A Home Depot/ Lowes type product, or Michael’s/Jo-Ann’s type product?

I have used a dark coloured wood filler before on projects which is easily sanded. You could use lightweight filler \ spackle to fill it as well.

Make sure your Y rails are parallel/level to each other. There’s enough play in the screws connecting to the base extrusion that you can adjust the end plates and maybe level it out. I had to do similar.

do you know of tips or vids on how to do this calibration?

Is there a recommended type/brand of fill that people use? I just spent way too long at Michael’s & Joanns looking for options.

Michaels had a Poly Resin that was clear, but didn’t have any dye/tints. And from what I read on here, Epoxy Resin is better as it doesn’t shrink. I was most intrigued by E6000 Allure . Kinda reminded me of those 3D paints you used as a kid to draw designs on t-shirts and it made a thick/flexible design. My concern was that it wouldn’t be fluid enough to fill the carve since it’s made to stand up and be 3D

Joanns only had acrylic paint…

Am I going to the wrong stores? Or do the better carve filler products only exist online?

In my mind, I’m not looking to do a over-pour type application, but was thinking I could find something like these little bottles with tips (below). And then put the thick paint/resin/epoxy/ihavenoidea and carefully pipe it into the carve.

If you get yours online, where it is that people buy and what do they buy for this sort of application?

short answer. time!

this is a side job/hobby. no clue how long it’ll take to calibrate everything with y axis, get a board and bit for bed leveling, complete the level, then the 3hr carve again (assuming it goes correct the next time, still don’t have a Z probe).

I’ll check the auto part store, thanks. Is this ever used in an applicator like I showed in my last post? All I ever see with epoxy folks is just pouring the cup over all the dang thing. Looking for a little more accuracy.

I’ve seen syringes used to do the same. Before it cures, it should be fine.

The clear resin/epoxy can be tinted a few ways, I think even the craft acrylic paint can be used to tint it. As mentioned previously, Google can be your friend.

As for calibration, not sure if a video exists. What I did (which others may cringe at) was move the X axis close to an edge and check the distance between the board and the X axis on each side. But you can also put a level on the X axis and it should show it not being level. It works best with a digital level so you can see actual numbers and also, if your wasteboard isn’t sitting level, you can adjust the axis to be level to the board via numbers. Loosen the Y end plates at the extrusion and adjust up/down for level. Then I did the same/similar at the other edge of the axis. I put the X carriage in the middle to semi-balance. My machine may not be spot-on accurate but it’s good enough for what I do for now. Eventually I’ll add a 1/2" MDF board and skim it for level.

Just for a status report on progress:

I went the ‘old school’ route and instead of google, I asked a human! haha. One that is an art major grad from the local college. Based on description, they recommended just doing a few coats of acrylic paint for the fill (and gave a small lecture on the toxicity of resin and to be careful). So I just finished the first coat. Put a fine tip on an acrylic bottle and dispensed straight into the carving. Was a fairly easy application and definitely easy setup!

The bottle + tip used (paint available at any craft store, got the tip in a 6-pack from Joann).

The paint is expected to shrink up a lot so I filled the carving as full as possible. So far, happy with the results! Wasn’t that difficult and easy water cleanup for mess ups.

Will update once it dries and if there is another coat needed

I used to hand-carve my signs with a palm router before I got my CNC. If you have this issue in the future and you have a router, big or small, you can simply place the base of the router on your board and lower the bit until it touches, Then slowly and carefully trace it yourself so you can have an even surface when finished. It may not be the popular answer, but it’s one that can serve you in a pinch when you are pressed for time. If you haven’t done this before, practice on a scrap piece first. It takes a few minutes to get used to the process. Hope that helps.

great tips! And also greatly appreciate all the videos. Know that is a timely process so thank you for your efforts in helping the XC community with these videos.

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If you have time to wait for it these bits can be used for skim cutting and I wouldn’t call them expensive.

Also as far as epoxy resin goes most of it is no more toxic than any other item you may use made from plastic. It’s generally only toxic when not fully cured. If I am using it to fill something on say a cutting board or other item that will have food on it I go with an FDA compliant resin just to be safe. This one works well.

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Thanks for the links. That is a cheap bit! I was looking at this one since it was only $20 and 2-day Prime shipping, but the $10 price on your China bit is nice if you have the time.

Also thank for the resin tips!

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If there is an Artist Warehouse near you they will have resin products.
You should look at smooth-on as well.

Guess I shoud’ve asked their GPA not just trust they graduated an art major. Haha

Just checked on it after 24hrs and already cracks everywhere. Large surface areas still super wet.

Was trying these alternate options as I hoped to deliver in 2 days when I see them in person (out of town client) but guess that’s just a bust. Not sure how to salvage from here. Guess I have a really nice shooting target now. Ha

Thanks to all for the tips and links

Here’s a visual of the cracks for the record:

Thanks for the encouragement and idea. “Picking it out”? Like. With a tool or liquid?

24"x30" sign so would be lot of picking by hand


If it ticks ya off, ventilate it!

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to update the post, started off the morning with redoing the 3hr carve after installing the wide makerslide and z-probe

compared to the close up shot from earlier, this came out much better! (after sanding. turned flash on to try and show all detail inside carve)

pretty dang close to what it should be! I’m very happy with the results

Also, had a lot of concern about bed leveling, but after inspection last week I realized my XC was warping since it was just sitting on my table. So I countersunk a screw in the 4 corners and 1 in the middle and that leveled it out A LOT. Visually, I can’t see the cut depth difference anymore. So that was a great ‘upgrade’ as well!