Sapele wood 13.5 x 14.5cm. Started w/ 100mmx25mm PAR planks. Pattern comes from a cool picture I found online, cleaned up and vectorized in inkscape. Ran on the CNC mill w/ a 60 degree engrave job (my own tool, but ran on the makerspace’s mini-cnc). INVALUABLE help, guidance, jokes, company, contributions and supervision by @kyle and @Julia . Took a bit more than 30 mins on the CNC.
- Even thought the planks were PAR, they were really warped so I effectively went through a meter to find two planks that connected better. If I knew how to use the planer it would have saved a lot of heartache.
- Due to a short deadline, we decided to use dowels+glue to secure it and get to the cnc quickly. I messed up the dowling correspondence pretty bad :D, so had to enlargen the 4th hole to make it work at all. In theory a dowling jig would help us get it right, but in practice I’m not sure since I didn’t have a great straightedge, and I feel that the guide on the pillar drill moves just a little bit? And in these cases, a little bit = it won’t work at all, jig or no jig. I’ll think a bit more about how to improve this for the next one. Recommendations welcome!
- Used poly glue for the first time. Love it! Dries in 30 min really well.
- We used VCarve’s default 60degree tool profile. It is incredible how fast it wants the path to go… something like 1700mm/m or so (am I remembering that right Kyle?). We were worried that was WAY too fast, so we cranked that down to 700 or so… but since the cut depth was pretty shallow, the wood wasn’t getting strained at all, so we went back up a bit by overriding the speed while the piece was getting cut. We were paying constant attention to make sure the speed was accurate throughout the cut.
- The piece was 18cm wide, which should (in theory) work on the mini-cnc, but since the gate is put a bit higher than the absolute bottom, we realized the design ran off the top of the piece. I had to rescale it down, which worked like a charm. I think I went too small, but o well, it was “get-it-done-o-clock”, so my tolerance for iteration was low.
- We need a better way to move files in the space! I finished the design on my laptop, moved it over w/ a flash drive to the Windows cnc machine to export the gcode from the Vcarve pro, then moved it to the linux cnc machine. We repeated this last step several times correcting tiny details, resizing, perfecting some of the paths etc. And each time, it’s a copy to flashdrive, move to local, over and over. This would be MUCH less painful if we had some networked location that all the tools could make reference to.
- The handwriting (both english and persian text) had to be converted via Object-to-path, and then when we brought it into VCarve, we had to combine some of the letters into joint entities, but that was fairly easy to do.
- On the wood, there was also a tiny difference in z-height (due to the lack of PAR, even after I planed and sanded it quite a bit) which made some of the text slightly deeper than the rest… but it’s not TOO notable. Well, maybe a bit in the date, to be fair.
- I did find it difficult to calibrate the z-axis on this 60deg bit… for some reason it was really difficult to identify the exact spot where the tool touched the wood. I think it would be better to use a probe (or maybe I need to get better at everything).
- I’m kind of surprised how easy it was to vcarve Persian text. Just google-translated it, verified the translation w/ real Persian friends, copypaste into inkscape, and done. ??? OK, cool, I guess?
- In terms of how it turned out: I think it turned out nice. We were worried that 60deg would be too fat (I could have gone down to about 20deg), but the final product looks ok, even though some tiny amount of granularity in the pattern was lost. When I was rescaling the project I got nervous and brought it to close to the edge of the piece which caused two problems: 1) it made the non-rectangular issue more evident, but more importantly: 2) it doesn’t have enough white-space! There should have been at least 1-2 cm of wood on all margins. I had that much wood to play with, so the fact that my impatience let me make a bad-decision is really unfortunate. Not sure how to mitigate that in the future… potentially carving a rectangle around the piece which represents my cut area? Maybe that’s not a bad idea, will think about it.
- The font is called “Carolina Mountain” and I think it looks great for something like this… it’s elegant and stylized but doesn’t appear effortful. Lends itself well to vcarving.
All in all not bad! And this is the shortest turnaround I’ve ever had. I had done some image research ahead of time, but considering that I didn’t even know what the final pattern was going to be when I came in, to leaving w/ a finished piece later, yeah, not bad. It really helped to have other people to talk it through with.
I like the makerspace