Estlcam strategy

Well, I bought some models, but they come as STLs, which Fusion REALLY doesn’t like very much. I’ve managed to get them into ESTLCam, and sorta figured out how to add tabs, but I’m struggling on how to get it all done.

It’s a model with a wavy top otherwise projected straight down. The sides are vertical. What I’d LIKE to do is rough/finish the top, then make some profile cuts around it, leaving tabs. Can’t figure out or find a decent youtube video to separate these steps. The rough/finish wants to drop the tool at the edges to give me an accurate representation of the STL, which is neat, but is probably adding a ton of time and motion, and I can’t tell from the preview whether it preserves the tabs.

Is there any tutorial or instructions you all enjoy that I can study? Thanks in advance.

After typing this and letting it sit (which I usually do because it helps me think) I read some more, watched some more, thought some more…didn’t find an answer but…

I think I could set the cutting depth to the bottom of the topside features and capture the edge for working in 2d to cut around. That could solve SOME of the problem. I’ll try it now, but I’m posting this so it has more time to collect views. Thanks.

Download a free program called Inkscape.

Inkscape has hundreds of extensions to use. both of these are free. Below is an online converter. You can trace and do other 2D work with it from pictures, etc.

.stl is 3D so you have to convert it to 2D first I put a link below to the online converter.

Estlcam uses SVG for 2D cutting (mill or laser) best. I don’t have a lot of experience with it but there is a tutorial for ESTLCAM at: and

To convert stl to svg to use in Estlcam go here:

Good luck, Mike

Is the svg to create the outline of the STL? I think I found what I need under block machining, though, anyway. Guess I’ll have to go grab a piece of foam to find out for sure.

You can’t cut, carve a pic from the internet. It’s pixelated. It has to be converted to vector format. Solid lines instead of pixels. Machines can’t read the pixels but it can read svg or Scaled Vector Graphics. Then you open the svg file in Estlcam and create the pathways to cut. Save the completed file as computer code and then upload into your LCD card reader. Set zero and go. Look at the tutorials for Estlcam. They’ll show you how to use ESTLCAM.


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OK. That’s not at all what I’m trying to do. I have some STLs that are causing Fusion to have fits. I have some gcode now, so I’ll report back as soon as I actually run it. Tomorrow (Monday) if I’m lucky.

I completely appreciate your frustration, Sorry

If you do a waterline scheme I don’t think it would add too much time. Other than that you can make an outline or mask (I believe that is built in to the 3D portion) so you mill the face, then slot/finish the actual cutout. Two separate files. It has been a while but that is off the top of my head.

Mike, I 100% appreciate your time and effort. Remember, even if it doesn’t completely solve my problem, it might help someone else reading this. That’s where I learned the most already. Did get me thinking, though (which is sometimes useful) , and I believe it might help with Ryan’s second suggestion.

Ryan, I think you’re right about the waterline, but it was wandering all over the place until I toggled the “enforce strict” box. I thought the parallel paths were better because those are what I see in videos, but maybe they are just faster.

As for the mask, I’m trying to find a little more detail. I did see the video of the bear mold (looked like a gummy bear when it was done). I’m thinking I might be able to export the outline as a dxf and then use that for the mask. That would be really cool, but I still have to try. Wasted too much time yesterday trying to ‘fix’ the model and had a pool party to get to at night. I know…rough life, lol.


My pleasure. Here’s something odd. I’m using Aspire and installed the test 5 post processor. When I run my project, instead of the bit going up, over and down, then start carving. It’s carving in reverse. The bit goes down, across, then it rises up above the wood and starts carving the air above… ain’t that something? And I can’t figure out what to do to fix it.

Well, waterline did the trick, but I ended up using a 1-in piece of foam instead of the 5/8 I told ESTLCam so it ended up not cutting through. Just as well, because it doesn’t look like it left me any tabs. The timer to export code is getting longer and longer, and I’m still not sure if it will be efficient for me to use, so I’m going to wait for a day when I have less to do before messing with that part any more.

Mike, I wish I knew anything about Aspire, but I couldn’t even tell you where to start.

I think I figured Aspire out. Thanks Tony.