ESTL Carving - easier than I thought!

System: Low Rider 2, V-groove bit.

I was inspired by some carving YouTube videos, so I decided to try EstlCam carving for some family gifts. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the process was. Also, it is way more fun to watch the dips and dives of a carving run: the router looks like it is dancing!

Literally the first 4 projects I tried. First was natural, then I added a quick spray paint of black on the plywood, to boost the cut contrast. One crown, two attempts at a regimental crest, and Monkton village welcome sign.

I’m going to start on the real gifts shortly in pine, so any tips or suggestions for pre-or-post processing of carvings would be welcome!

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If there are any videos you found particularly helpful could you post a link(s)?

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Carving is also the most fun to watch!

I found using a wire brush (toothbrush sized) to get in the nooks and crannies after cutting helps get the fuzzies out.

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Guessing here, but I’d think any sort of sealant before and after would be helpful. Just test beforehand, as I’d imagine something that leaves a thick and/or soft layer (I’m thinking some of the cheaper polys or varnishes I’ve dealt with) would actually exacerbate any chip-out. Think stabilization of the wood fibers, especially if you’re doing fine work like those crests. (Would CA glue be useful as a stabilizer in those cases?)

Hell, I’ve heard of people slapping on a thin layer of epoxy between their rough pass and finish pass, just to make sure everything remains stable.

Perhaps shellac which dries quickly?

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I use that it works nice

Looking good keep the wook up it will keep getting better

@Paul, fortunately I’d been using EstlCAM for a little while, so the challenge was just to add understand ‘Carve’ functionality.

Christian of EstlCam had a no-frills YouTube video.

The other handy video was Some Old Guy Coding’s series on the MPCNC, Part 13 ESTLCAM V-bit carving.

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> I found using a wire brush (toothbrush sized) to get in the nooks and crannies after cutting helps get the fuzzies out.

Thanks for the suggestion: I’ll definitely try that!

> Guessing here, but I’d think any sort of sealant before and after would be helpful. Just test beforehand, as I’d imagine something that leaves a thick and/or soft layer (I’m thinking some of the cheaper polys or varnishes I’ve dealt with) would actually exacerbate any chip-out.

I like that idea, because it will also make a protective shell on the top surface. That way, if I paint with something water-based into the cuts for contrast, it should just wipe away from the top where it isn’t wanted. I’ve put together a test board to make samples, trying stain/paint/natural, and varnished/unvarnished. I’ll definitely have them test-cut this week since Father’s Day this weekend is a motivator for this. :slight_smile:

Thanks! I’ve been making some inroads but not really finding it very intuitive.

I had started testing it out and understanding how different fonts, different sizes of designs, and different bit sizes all worked together. I got some good results and then went on to different projects and I think I need to relearn everything because I forgot it all. I do think about getting VCarve every once and a while because of the visualization of everything and the setup interface.

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I think part of my problem is even searching free programs it’s like being a kid in a candy store and having difficulty picking which one to choose.

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I love V-carve expensive but it has been wonderful. Combination cad cam like a more intuitive inkscape with a cam program built in

Curious if you’re using ‘Pro’ or ‘Desktop’? And with what machine and is the CAM compatible without needing to be a computer expert to make it so?

And looking at their site I was surprised to read “No limits to how long you can use the trial software” although if it really did what I needed to do I don’t see $349 being out of the question.

I started with desktop and upgraded to pro for size desktop limited to 24 x 24 pro is not I use GRBL on ramps and with a uno and cncshield sorry not marlin but there is a post processor in the milling basics page. The trial does have a limit it only allows gcode generation of the trial projects. But you can setup anything using all the tools and preview it in V-carve it just won’t output code. If you purchase the project can be rendered on the same machine the trial was on the program can be installed on 3 machines at a time very nice

That’s certainly fair enough. I’ve been running thru Inkscape tutorials and it has some neat features but I don’t think it will do everything I’d like to do.

First I need to ponder simple things like why when I dry run a program does my router clearly travel up and down while the indicator in Repetier Host remains fixed at Z=0?

Install the trial and do some looking around I like it a lot. Iij t is a lot like inkscape but better it goes further for me it’s a extension but a lot of the tools are the same you don’t have to relearn node editing kind of things. Lots of how to video too

I will but first I want to go thru the DOCS here several times just to find what I may be missing.

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@timonjkl , I really like the feature set and reviews for V-carve, but the price is just too high for me for hobbyist use. If it was under $200 USD, or I was running my CNC as a business, then it would be different story.

Re: VCarve and raster-to-vector, it looks like VCarve Pro at least has image tracing: “Image Tracing also known as Vectorization allows you to take an imported image such as a scanned drawing, graphic design or photo and to convert colors in that to vector outlines. These outlines can then be used as part of your design to create toolpaths or to generate 3D shapes using the modeling tools. The software will import many file formats including jpeg, bitmap, gif, png, tif, it will also extract images from a PDF file.VCarve Pro information page

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If their image tracing requires less post processing than Inkscape, it might be worth it. The new version of Inkscape is better than before for tracing bitmaps to vectors, but it does take the right image and requires some work for getting the settings correct. Then there are often vectors you need to remove or reshape. Most of the time it is easier for me to just redo the whole thing as a vector from ground up if I’m designing for vector laser work.