CNC Wood Inlays - Using Free Software




Introduction: CNC Wood Inlays - Using Free Software

Doing wood inlays with a small (affordable) CNC machine is a blast. And using free software (Inkscape for the CAD, and for the CAM side) makes it all even more awesome.

Any design either one that is created in a vector program, drawn out on paper, or snagged online somewhere can be transformed into an inlay. Basically there are two parts to doing the inlay; (1) Making a pocket or void for the inlay to seat and; (2) Cutting the insert/inlay.

Both cuts (the pocket, and the inlay) can be done with the same end mill (router bit). For this demo I used a 1/8" inch end mill bought on eBay for about a buck.

The above demo was done using a piece of pine for the pocket side and then 1/4" plywood for the inlay/insert.

The trick to making this process work with Inkscape is to use the 'linked offset' and ' break apart' tools.

The video shows the process.

Thanks for taking a look!

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    Question 4 years ago on Introduction

    Did you do this without tabs? where can I find information on how to generate tabs?


    6 years ago

    Thanks for the video and info! I would like to address one issue I fell is flawed with this method and I am hoping to have a dialogue to figure out how to resolve the issue.

    Let's say I want to do a Batman logo inlay. With this method you describe the outside cut for the piece to be inlayed would have sharp points while the pocket would have rounded cuts where the points would be due to the diameter of the cutter, say 1/8". Even in your square example the pocket would have rounded corners, albeit 1/16" radius, there would still be an issue fitting the inlay in. You would have to sand all the points.

    Would a solution have to be rounding all the points before the logo is converted to .svg and then to g-code??

    I am contemplating buying a program called Cut 2D Desktop that automatically converts an image before generating g-code. But if I can avoid spending the $150US or in my case $240CDN I would jump at it!!