We have been getting allot of questions if PicEngrave Pro 5 can generate gcode for Spindle engraving photos and the answer is yes. PicEngrave was developed years ago for the need of a precision image to gcode program that could spindle engrave Lithophanes and wood photo engravings. Laser engraving photo options in PicEngrave came later. Since laser engraving photos was so much easier with no spindle screaming in our ear and no wood dust everywhere, our promoting and creating examples took a different path.
When spindle engraving photos in wood or Corian, there are some image editing involved. The min & max depth settings controls the depths of cuts and is calculated based on shades in the image. When engraving on wood, the darker shades need to cut deeper and the lighter shades cut shallower. With Lithophanes, it’s the opposite and there is a “Lithophane” selection in the “Rotary Spindle” profile in the “Engraving Options” to reversing the depths of cuts based on the shades in the image. With Lithophanes, the light shades need to cut deeper and dark shades need to cut shallower.
We set our 1/32" ball end mill’s zero at the top of our material and in PicEngrave we set our min depth of cut at -.02" to ensure any lighter shades would cut encase the wood was not flat. The max depth was set at -.08" so there would be a total depth of -.06" cut for the engraving.
After the spindle engraving was done, a dark stain was applied and let dry. Careful sanding was done to the highest areas to bring out the lighter shading in the engraving and then an air blast was used to clear out the dust. Afterwards a coat of crystal clear enamel was sprayed on it for sealing the engraving and to make the shades/depths in the engraving stand out more.
This was engraved on red oak and the grains really stood out, so it was not the best wood to use.
This one was done on Poplar and which came out better. The first picture is the image after editing for generate the gcode in PicEngrave and the second picture is the result. Using a slight Gaussian Blur to the image will smooth out the toolpaths.
It takes some trial and error with editing the image, settings, staining and sanding afterwards, but spindle engraving photos with PicEngrave Pro 5 is very doable.
This one was done using a depth map image to get more of a 3D effect. I did not stain or sand it, but consider the endless possibilities using PicEngrave Pro 5 to generate your gcode to engrave photos.
You have seen this one before in this thread.