School Project

My sister works for one of the local school districts and has asked me to offer a competitive bid on a possible commission.
The pictures below are 1/3 the size of what the school is looking for. I did this as proof of concept using MDF. (I was thinking about using Poplar, but since I haven’t used it as a carve material, I am unsure about tear-out and fuzzies and such. Does anyone have any opinion or experience using poplar from the local building supply)

If I get this commission I’m totally going to use Phil Johnson’s advice and let the job pay for the software upgrade (VCarve Desktop to VCarve PRO) that will be required to get around the size limitations of Desktop.



For soft woods, the best way to minimize fuzzies is make sure you have a sharp bit. It’s hard to avoid them completely, especially when running with the grain.

You can use a wood hardener or sanding sealer to prep the surface before cutting.

I guess my angle of attack will all depend on what the School is looking for in way of materials.

The size of the job is supposed to be approximately 25 x 36, so there will be much more clarity to the fine details of the images. They want to mount the shield and banner on the front of a Podium for events like Graduation and such.

As stated, I’ve not put Poplar on the Xcarve, so I don’t know how it cuts… I know that Technically it is a hard wood, but I also know that its workability is ALOT like pine…

Use maple instead; it cuts rather clean.

Yes, it’s technically a hardwood. It cuts very well on the X-Carve.


Thank You…YES, It will be painted school colors, which is why I was leaning towards MDF (that’s what the PoC sample is above…)
Do you think I can get the appropriate level of detail with a 90degree ?
The proof of concept was done with a 60… And I could totally factor in the cost of cutter into the bid…

Not related to the project… but where are you? I live in Temple and the mascot is the wildcats…

You are Correct sir. Temple Wildcats.
I’m in West Temple…(Technically Belton ISD…My kids are Tigers)

Dude! I live in the BISD school district… My kids are still fairly young so only one is a Tiger at the moment…

Almost perfect, good job. Double your spindle speed for V bits to eliminate those blade marks.

A friend of mine asked me to do a piece for High Point Elementary for an auction they had a while back to raise some money for something… I did a Texas outline with the BISD logo in it…

I need to find a picture…


Really? Spindle Speed? I was thinking my feed rate was a bit low. That and the cheep Chinese V-bit

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Looks good. I currently have several projects on the list… a huge set of gears for a local church’s youth center, various Birthday and Wedding gifts…

Thanks, I haven’t worked much in MDF / Poplar so I’m going to follow along and see what the others recommend… :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice… since I need to re-run the banner portion of the sample, I’ll try upping the RPM and IMP.
I’ll have to check, but I think I was running around 55IPM at the lowest RPM setting.

Yeah I ran my xcarve with vbits at 3 but at 100ipm… I buy bits from ebay from a seller named Drillman1… He is based out of Georgetown and if you want you can pick them up, but with shipping I get them the next say since he is so close…

I’ve gotten a lot of bits from Drillman…based off of the advice from this forum…
He’s pretty reliable… and quick to correct any shipment mistakes (only happened once).
I know he’s in the G-Town/Round Rock area, but I didn’t think he had a storefront for pickup…

I went there once… It isn’t really a storefront… You walk in and there are people sitting at desks… they look at you like your crazy and you tell them what bits you want they go into the back and pick them up… Also I haven’t been yet but on i35 there is a store called Richards Supply… The web site shows they sell endmills and such…

Low feed rate helps to clean as well as spindle speed. It’s not about bit quality, V bit have two straight blades to cut edges, if not turning fast enough(we’re not talking about crazy speed) you’ll see blades marks. Just experiment. Touch to spindle/router and feel vibration. Increase and decrease your speed while it’s cutting. You will fell sweet spot when it start cutting like a butter.

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For profile cuts I like to use a downcut bit, even on solid wood as it puts all the fuzzies on the bottom edge which is much easier to sand.

For the detail you can just run the print twice, especially when using a v bit. It will take twice a long of course, but the second pass will clean up a lot of the fuzzies.

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