I have been looking for a way to create more artistic designs (as opposed the the more geometric ones, which are also cool) for my sand table. I’ve developed a nice technique and workflow that allows me to create interesting designs stuff fairly quickly. When I get time, I want to create a full-blown set of instruction for this, but in the meantime, here is a brief overview, if you would like to try it.
What You Need
Inkscape - open source vector graphics editor
Eggbot tools - plugins for inkscape - https://github.com/evil-mad/EggBot/releases/tag/v2.5.0
ESTLCAM - this is what I have, you might try something else
- Open Inkscape.
- Open File>Document Properties.
- Change Default Units to mm.
- Turn off Show Page Border.
- Close Document Properties.
- Draw box the exact size of your drawing area.
- Save file as Sand Table Default. This is your starting point.
- Open your Sand Table Default file in Inkscape.
- Choose the fill tool and fill the square with any color.
- Open Path>Path Effects.
- Click the plus sign to add an effect and select Hatches (rough).
- Open Extensions>Eggbot>Preset Hatch for Fills and Apply.
- Choose the Edit paths by node tool.
- Rotate/compress/stretch the hatching by dragging the tiny green square around.
- Select Edit>Duplicate.
- In the path effects window, click the minus sign. This removes the hatching from the duplicated square.
- If the border of the square is not visible, open the Fill and Stroke tool and add a stroke to it.
- Save file as a DXF.
- Open DXF in ESTLCAM.
- Select the hatching lines and the square outline.
- Place the Zero point where you want it (I use 0,0)
- Save the CNC program. The simulator will pop up.
- Click play in the simulator and click FF several times to speed it up.
- If there are travel moves you don't like, you can play with the machining order or add little helper lines to move the ball where you want it before it starts the next line.
- Save and test again until satisfied.
Hope this helps some others to get started with this technique. Please share your designs once you’re made some!