So, you've just finished your CNC router/mill build, and you need something to make.  Try the hand bowl, which is extremely cool.

For your next project, try this one.  I always had a fondness for the works of M. C. Escher, so i decided to make the reptiles out of wood.

I started with a dxf from here, but quickly found that the 1/8" diameter end mill couldn't hope to cut out the sharp internal corners, so I had to modify the drawing to allow for the tool diameter.  For those of you with a laser cutter, you can just ignore this instructable all together and cut away.  The laser definitely has some serious advantages here:  zero material waste, perfect sharp internal corners, etc.

This instructable will show how I started with a non-CNC-able tessellation and modified it to allow for CNC-ability.  It's not as simple as it seemed at first. 

For this, you'll need:
  • A tessellation pattern to start with (I used the M.C. Escher reptiles)
  • A CNC router/mill
  • A parametric 2-D (or 3-D) CAD program with the ability to place multiple identical blocks.  I used the free and quite good SolidEdge 2D Free.  
  • Some wood.  I used 5.2mm (.2") birch veneer plywood from Orchard Supply.  It's $10 for 24" x 48" x 1/4".  Real solid hardwood would be much better because the birch veneer tends to fray and peel.
If you simply want to download-and-go, you can grab my DXF, or even the gcode.  Both the DXF and gcode are made for a 1/8" end-mill.  You can download the SoldEdge drawing as well if you want to change the tool diameter.

A quick index of attached files:
  • Etch.ngc:  the gcode to etch the lines on top of the reptiles
  • Outside.ngc: the gcode to carve the outline of the reptiles. 
  • *.dft working files for tracing the reptires.  
  • lizard final.dxf:  the .dxf used to create the g-code.

Step 1: Import your image into your CAD program

This instructable will use SolidEdge 2D as the CAD program.  There are probably other/better ways to do this, but this is how i did it.  Let me know if you have a better way!

Take your stating image, say a reptile, and import it into SolidEdge.  I use the 2D model view for just about everything.

Insert->Image.  Get it sized to the size you want to print it.  In this case, about 2".
Plenty of detail here, where do I vote for this one?

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