Homemade CNC V-Carving




Introduction: Homemade CNC V-Carving

About: I like to make stuff. All kinds of stuff! ZepLabs HandCrafted Nikos Zepidis tonginos@gmail.com

I made an instructable a month back about my homemade cnc. It's cheap, it's usefull, it's easy enough to make and it's a lot of fun!

So after i figured out how things work in the cnc machining aspect, it was time to experiment a bit more.

I mounted a 500w router on the z-axis,made a quick(or not too quick!) internet research and decided to engrave decorative flourish pattern. V-carving style! It's much faster than 3d milling the design. The whole g-code file took about 20 minutes to excecute, and thats because my feedrates were considerbly small. Better safe than sorry.

I roughly hand-planed a pine board to use, but it was mostly to get rid of the surface dirt it had gathered during times. I didnt pay too much attention to get it square so it ended up with a high spot in the middle.( left and right sides 0.2 mm lower than the center of the board on the z-axis). So the carve progressively faded to the sides as the tool was cutting air! After the first run i decided to run the code one more, homing a bit lower (0.3mm) but when it was about to carve what it missed before, i had a connection problem!( I'm thinking that it has something to do with the 15 ft data cable i used to connect the mchine with my computer!). The piece looked satisfyingly good for a first attempt, plus it was getting late and that little router of mine can be very loud! So i decided to call it a day.

After some research, the software i used to do this is called F-engrave. Simple, free , reliable and highly recommended.

Let's see the video above and then go make one. It's highly satysfying!

Thanks for watching. It really helps!

See you next time...

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I've noticed that F-Engrave can have some trouble maintaining precise scaling. I was using it once to write G code to isolation route a printed circuit board, and noticed that things weren't quite the sizes they should be. But for decorative designs this is less of an issue.

    I know what you mean with the noise routers make. I finally had to break down and get a spindle for my CNC machine because of the racket my router makes. Listening to a router for hours on end is too much for me.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Fred!

    Thanks for taking the time to read my instructable and share some expereince here.

    Well it was my first run with F-engrave and I found it too good to be true actually! Maybe I was just lucky with that. I ll let you know next time!

    For the operation you are describing though i think I 'd use other CAD/CAM programs though,more customisable ones(Fusion360 for an example). But I'm still in the process of learning those...

    About the spindle now, definately a wise choise you made there! Especially if you have to run the machine for long hours, this router sound can drive you nuts..but I ll have to live with it for the moment! I have several upgrades I should do to the machine itself when the econimics allow it, so for me the spindle scenario seems kind of distant for now.(squeeze my teeth and listen to the blues in headphones for now!)

    I d aprecciate it if you had some good cnc realted software you can recommend. I 'm after all king of new to this whole thing.

    Thanks again.


    Reply 3 years ago

    The scaling issue with F-Engrave is very subtle. I did not notice it myself until I did the isolation routing project where work had to match up to components.

    I have heard a lot of good things about Fusion 360. Unfortunately Autodesk does not support my OS platform (except they do own Cadsoft now, but I expect them to cut support there any time - I've already made the move to using replacement software), so I do not use it myself. Good and open CAM software is rare. I can't in good conscience recommend the tool chain that I use now, as it is very limited, difficult, and convoluted. But it does have the advantage of being entirely free of any licensing issues, and cumbersome corporate entanglements. I don't like the idea of people in boardrooms making decisions that impact me personally. So I am willing to put up with some hardships to avoid being in that position.

    I sleep good at night as a result too. That could just be down to the extra effort I make though? A bit of it is peace of mind too I imagine.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Well I know exaclty what you mean about the extra effort and the night sleep.

    Thats the way it works with me too. And it's a nice realization to make. Freudic almost! Thanks again Fred.

    Have a nice one.