Introduction: How to Make a Woodcut From... a Photo of a Woodcut Using Your CNC Mill

My dad was just visiting, and he asked me if I could use my new CNC router to make a woodcut.  That got me to thinking... sure, why not?  

He sent me a photo of a woodcut hanging in my sister's house, and in a few hours I was able to make this woodcut!  Very neat. 

Unfortunately, this instructable uses the incredibly awesome, and extremely non-free Vectric Aspire software. 

Stuff you'll need:
  • a CNC mill/router
  • a 90 degree V router bit
  • a photo
  • a hunk of MDF or other flat wood
  • a buddy with Vectric Aspire or something similar.  Somebody let me know if there is some free software that will do this!

Step 1: Crop Your Photo and Invert

Open your original photo, crop it, and reverse black & white.  I re sized it to 500 pixels wide.  This helps reduce the size of the traced image.

Step 2: Import Into Aspire

Open a new document in Aspire, set the document size to the size you like.

Then, import the photo.

Step 3: Fit Vectors to Bitmap

This is pretty simple -- just click the Fit vectors to bitmap button.  Choose 'Black and White', and slide the slider around until it looks good.  When happy, click 'Fit Vectors'.

I like to delete the original bitmap so I can see the vectors more clearly.

Step 4: Create Your Toolpath

Choose Toolpaths->Create V-Carve/Engraving toolpath.

Select a V shaped bit, select all your vectors, and 'calculate'.  

Then you can do a 3-D preview.

That's pretty much it!  Export your g-code and carve.

Like I said, Vectric is pretty awesome.

Step 5: Make the Print

So, I sent this to my dad, who actually made some prints.  Here are the results!

Looks like it worked quite nicely :-)

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge