Here’s some more proof that this machine can do some really serious work. I made these from 1" thick Extira (similar to MDF, except instead of urea formaldehyde as a binder they use phenolic resins and zinc borate - because of that water doesn’t affect it like MDF and it’s actually meant for exterior use), it’s a little harder to cut than most MDF but still completely doable with a DW660. I’d recommend a vacuum system first - the dust is extremely, extremely heavy and will just sit on your work piece heating your bit up (as it continually recuts it) without one.
Very impressive! I’ve been looking for an affordable exterior grade sign material. I’ll have to look into extira. Thanks!
Very nice. What software did you do your layout in? What software did you use for the gcode?
Those look amazing, I bet that one job paid back the cost of the machine?
They have some nice detail! What bits did you use?
Karltinsly: The first sign I did actually got put out right before we had a quick freeze, inches of snow, and then by the next weekend it was 70 degrees and all the snow was gone. It held up good during that - and that’s some pretty extreme weather swings for it to have soon after being put into use. The paint is Behr Hi-Gloss Exterior Enamel and it hardens to a thick shell so that probably helps too.
Curt: To go a bit off topic, when I first got my 3D printer I struggled with the free program that came with the printer, I eventually flashed Repetier onto it, and decided to go ahead and buy Simplify3D. Now, $150 sounded crazy to me, but I took that leap. I discovered - good software makes a huge difference. I’ve never regretted spending that money. I approached the CNC in the same way - good software makes the difference. I really recommend Aspire’s Vcarve line of software (Desktop, not Pro - Pro lets you do larger than 24"x24"). They have a free trial, and I’ll attach the post processor file I use (I do things like issue a M84 S0 to make it so that when it finishes it doesn’t turn the motors off during idle - if I want to change the tool and run another toolpath I don’t want it losing any positional accuracy) It’s pretty easy too. Pockets and Vcarved text in 2D designs are so much easier to do than 3D design IMO - I’m definitely being more creative with my CNC than I’ve ever been able to achieve with my 3D printer.
Vicious1: They actually needed 5 now, and 5 later, so that’s just some of the ones I made - yes.
Bryan: I’m normally a big fan of cheap bits, but for this particular project I went for some higher end bits - I used a Whiteside RU2100 here (Vicious1, feel free to add your Amazon affiliate thing to the link - I don’t have one, and Amazon might as well pay somebody if people use the link). 1/4 inch with 1 inch cutting length - very important for cutting the final sign out because when it’s cutting 1 inch deep into Extira the cut Extira will get compacted into the cut, and eventually cause your machine to get jerked out of position if using a small bit. The dust is very thick and heavy with Extira so a 5HP vacuum can’t suck the dust out of a 1/8 inch cutting path, the wider 1/4 inch cut lets you vacuum it out much better. The text was done with a Whiteside 1540 V-Groove 60-Degree 1/4-Inch bit here.
@ualdayan Can I ask how you managed the painting? Did you paint the white, then mask and cut, then paint the brown? I’m still learning to make signs and hope to eventually get such great results as yours. Thanks!
I actually came into it not knowing any more than you - and I tried all those you mentioned. I painted the white, then tried to use painter’s tape - no good, the bit hit the tape, and left ragged edges that then the vacuum pulled up (and I really can’t recommend trying to cut MDF and especially not Extira without a vacuum going). I then tried contact paper - it had more adhesion to the wood, but still, no good - if the bit hit it just right it ripped whole sections up. I then tried spray adhesive along with contact paper - it worked, but left a mess on top, so that was out. If you were JUST carving letters into wood, and then spray painting - contact paper works. Try to do a pocket, and text standing up in that pocket and the paper just doesn’t have the adhesive to hold onto the small surface of the letters while everything around it is getting cut down.
Then, I came across this video that told me exactly what I needed to do - I modified the technique slightly to use a ultra smooth FOAM roller (you definitely want foam), and I’d get a little paint on it, and roll it back and forth until it almost seemed like it was barely painting. Then, I went over the top (you’ll do several coats, with sanding in between, but thin - you want no running at all). So, I did the pocket color first, and THEN the top white part. It sounds like it wouldn’t work - but watch the video and see how he does it with a foam brush and how well it works for him.
Awesome! I’m off to buy some foam brushes! Thanks!
Do you have that post processor file? I also use simplify 3D and agree good software is worth it. Granted I have made some neat stuff with ESTL cam and Inkscape but am thinking I might want to try vcarve desktop out. Here are some signs I made for a local wildlife organization. I think it is the nicest looking thing I have made to date
That looks pretty good! I did attach the postprocessor, but when I look back at my post I see this:
MPCNCwitharcs.pp: Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.
So I guess the forum software isn’t showing the upload to you?
@ualdayan If you zip the file you can attach it to a post.
Trying again with it zipped up this time, when you open the program the first drop down list will have ‘Open Application Folder’, put it in the postprocessors subfolder after unzipping. It’s a plain text file with a .pp extension.
MPCNCwitharcs.zip (857 Bytes)