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08-28-22: New subcategory, currently just a collection of randomly motivated posts.

Topics on this page:
    Carve Default
    Carve Pocketing
    Carving Autoselect
    Text Along a Shape

Estlcam v11 Carve Z0 Offset Calculator

The Estlcam v11 Carve tool assumes a pointy V-bit is being used (v12 has tapered ball and chamfer/flat tip tool options). Accurate depth/width cuts with flat or ballnose tips requires setting Z0 some distance above the material. The calculator works for flat tips, for ballnose tips subtract the ballnose radius from the calculator results. The calculator can also be used to calculate pointy V-bit cut width (b) at a given cut depth (hb) or vise versa.

V-bit Z0 Offset Calculator

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Carve Default v11

Carve DefaultWhen creating carve paths, the default Maximum Carve Width is set to the tools maximum cutting diameter (needs to be manually changed when changing to a tool w/ a different diameter) and the Depth Limit to Automatic (Ask in v12), i.e. to the maximum width and depth that the selected tool can cut. This works fine as long as the carved width is never wider than the tool diameter.

With the default settings (image left) the edit window won't show when/where the carve width is wider than the tool diameter. The only visible way to tell that the carve width is wider than the tool diameter is to look for parallel and closed shape paths (which result in funky little islands) in the preview window.

Increasing the Maximum Carve Width will show if/where the carve is wider than the tool and where paths have been added to carve Depth Limit flats (image right). If the flat areas/pockets are big enough, using a flat Carve Pocketing Tool will cut them faster and smoother. To avoid pocketing use a tool with a larger diameter and/or angle. If pocketing is unavoidable, decreasing the Depth Limit and/or v-bit angle will enlarge the pockets and make adding a flat pocketing tool possible. See also: Carve Pocketing.

This is a non issue with v12. V12 defaults to maximum width and will automatically cut any flats (gray hatched areas) using the V-bit unless a pocketing tool is selected.
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Carve Pocketing

Carving Raised TextIn a nutshell, getting this to work well depends on the Carve Pocketing Tool diameter, the Depth Limit, the angle of the v-bit, and the font. Maximum Carve Width includes the pockets and will need to be increased (it cannot be too big when carving enclosed areas).

The main window is only vaguely helpful with the pocketing showing up as gray. The Preview window is much more useful. Select the v-bit tool change path to see how much v-bit pocketing needs to be done. Select the flat pocketing path and increase Maximum Carve Width if needed. Tweaking/previewing larger projects requires some processing power and can be slow.

Carve PocketingCarve pocketing inside the letters is pretty much the same, including the only generally informative edit screen. For the relatively small "test" (~5" wide) I used a 45 degree v-bit so that I could pocket with a 2mm flat bit. The result is enough room for the pocket paths and very little V-bit corner cleanup/pocketing on the carve paths.

...My goal with all carves is to minimize the amount of pocketing that needs to be done with a V-bit. V-bit flats will never be truly flat and they take a long time to cut. Minimizing V-bit cut flats takes some experimentation with different V-bit angles and different diameter flat bits. If using a pointier V-bit and smaller Depth Limit won't provide enough room for a Pocketing Tool, the only way to minimize V-bit pocketing is to increase the V-bit angle/diameter and set Depth Limit to Automatic (...Ask w/ v12.005).

...A real project example.
...Estlcam Carve Pocketing Relief Text (CAM) - YouTube
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Carving Autoselect

Carving AutoselectUsing Automatic Functions : Create objects automatically (autoselect) and selecting the "Carve inside only" option works pretty well for text - minimal path deletions/additions needed (e.g. islands). Unfortunately the carving options do not include weighted inside/outside options, e.g. the weighted "Create holes and parts" example. The easiest way to get the same results when carving between the lines is to use the "Carve inside and outside" option. Unless its a real simple drawing, autoselecting and deleting unwanted paths is significantly faster than manually creating the paths... It's not as fast/easy in v12 because the new mouseover path highlighting adds a noticeable delay when trying to rapidly select and delete a lot of unwanted paths... The v12 algorithm seems to have changed as well, different and slower selections.
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Text Along a Shape v11

Text Along a ShapeText Along a ShapeI haven't used the Estlcam text tool functions much, but it turned out to be the easiest way I could carve the pictured 4.5mm tall numbers. The tricky part is getting the opening and closing tags, that define font size (s=size), justifications (l=left), etc., correct. It's real easy to get multiple definitions (e.g. for right and center justification) in the wrong places (e.g. 'l' open and '/l' closed tags not to the left and right of the text), etc... To prevent those issues, always highlight the whole line when making changes. See also: Estlcam Text Tutorial (YouTube).

While choosing a Style from the drop-down menu is important, most of the other options (path properties) can be left at their defaults. As with other functions (e.g. setting point to point paths), where the mouse is first clicked determines the starting point. Once everything is setup and defined correctly, selecting all the text and using Edit : Group will allow single click path property editing of multiple text objects (56 total in this case).

...I have since figured out how to do this with AutoSketch (CAD). While there may be cases where the Estlcam text tool is useful, I prefer using Inkscape or CAD for text.
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