Vcarve help - recommendations for cutting multiple sides of a block

Hi,
Looking for recommendations from vcarve users, if it matters, I have vcarve Desktop.
I’m working on a pinewood derby car, and I need to cut all four sides of the block.
As far as I know, in vcarve, I have to do that as 4 separate projects.
I’m having some trouble getting everything lined up just right, for example the axle slots I’m cutting in the bottom don’t exactly match the centers of the wheel pockets that I cut in each side. The wheel pockets on the left don’t exactly line up with those on the right, etc.

Other than painstakingly going through each and every dimension, and trying to coerce them just so, are there any other ides for how to do this? Am I missing some obvious thing that would make it easier?

Thanks,
Kelly

Maybe these tutorial videos will help:

http://support.vectric.com/tutorials/V8/LeafBowl/LeafBowl_3DAS.html

http://support.vectric.com/tutorials/V8/2SidedMachining/2SidedMachining_GEN.html

For simple 2 sided you can use the hole trick from the box tutorial. Drill 2 holes all the way through the work piece along the center access of your carve.
Remove the work piece but leave the sacrifice board in place (clamped separately)
Put pins in the sacrifice board.
Use those to align the flipped work piece.

I am trying to remember the other trick I saw. Which would work better for a large block.
You have a straight edge clamped down on one side which presses against your work zero side.
You cut off the excess on the other side, based on the work center.
You can cut it off completely or just do a pocket deeper than the straight edge is tall.
So when you flip the work piece the edge your cut is now pressed up against the straight edge.
This works if you can set the inner edge of the straight edge as zero. But it can be tricky
(I guess if you could use probing to set your x and y zero you just seat you probe plate against the straight edge?)

But to do this you will need to design your carve accordingly
Using lots of the center to work piece and mirror image commands. :smile:
The tutorials should cover this.

I should have also mentioned that I screwed down a piece of MDF and used the xcarve to trim it to an L shape, to act as a corner guide. I made the wood blank as square as I possibly could.

So, I think I’m fairly repeatable in mounting the wood block.

I am also importing a 3d mesh from the internet to carve the top, and I’m using that to hollow out the inside.
For the wheels, I drew the block in SketchUp, and positioned the wheels and the axle slots, then imported that file to form the left and right vcarve projects.

I’ll watch the videos and see if I’m missing anything else, thanks.
-Kelly

You can always slice it into quarter inch thick slices and cut each slice them glue them together.

If you are starting with an STL 3D object VCarve makes it easy to slice it up.

well, i spent a lot of time figuring out how to do it from the mesh, so i really dont want to slice it up.
the issue im having getting the components for the different faces to line up.

kelly

Good luck, I have done two sided projects but four sided carving really takes it to a whole new level of difficulty.

Please let us know how it turns out and how you did it.

Heh. Well, to date, I have done it. As to how it turned out and how I did it, the answer to both is “badly”!

I’ve just about finished the two videos that @AaronMatthews pointed me at and I think that I definitely picked up some tips.
I had been creating new projects for each side and importing my models for that side into each.
After the videos, I think I’ll definitely create one side and mirror it, as well as using the create both sides option when I import the 3d mesh. That should cut my alignment problems in half, which is a good thing.

Hopefully I can get the project files (re)built before the weekend and do some cuts, derby day is approaching fast!

-Kelly

The align object tool will help.
One thing I do a lot is group multiple objects then aligning that group to the center of the work piece.

so, i’m assuming you are asking this for your son who is a scout? :smile:

Yes. We haven’t done so well in the races, but last year he won “best race car design” for a Pickup Truck that we called a Humvee, put a camo paint job on it and a machine gun on top. Go figure!