Any tips for terrain relief carving?

Built a MPCNC over last Christmas break and been lurking ever since, but finally joining the forum hoping somebody out there might share some their experience with getting a nice finish on a relief carving.

I’m using Estlcam to create the gcode from an stl with most the settings cranked up to get high detail. Using a 6mm end mill for roughing out to 1mm stock allowance and a tapered carving bit with a R0.25 ball end for the finishing pass. This carving is in western red cedar.

Generally I’m happy with the result, but I’m getting fuzzy things in some areas that don’t break off with the plastic gun cleaning brush. Is it better to do the finishing pass with or against the grain or maybe both? Is there a better tool for detail clean up?


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@bnauman try and ajust the stepover in Estlcam

If my guess is right those are just going to keep happening with that species of wood. I am still a noob at this wood stuff but that was my first thought. The way I see it is those fibers from the rings are tough and flexible. So as the bit goes by it just gets knocked around then flips off the bit as it leaves. A sharper bit might help but I doubt it. If you can find some wood that is either softer or more brittle I imagine it would be cleaner.

I typically do a 5% stopover for the finishing portion.

5% stepover on a 0.5mm bit is going to be brutal. Maybe use a larger bit, as large as you think you can get away with while keeping enough detail. Then use small stepover.

I was using a 2% step over and couldn’t figure how to manually make it lower. I ended up creating a 2nd finish pass that went cross grain and shifted my z down 0.2. Sometimes it looked like it wasn’t touching, but half dome isn’t as fuzzy as it used to be.


Overall pic.


That is an amazing job! Beautiful creation!!
But you are using pine that will always give you some “fuzz” that will need to be sanded.
You could try some other wood like Poplar or Maple, you will not very little “fuzz” if any.

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