Will 3D Carving raise the price of Easel Pro?
No, the price of an Easel Pro Subscription will be the same as it was before the launch of 3D. 3D is now included with Easel Pro.
Where can I learn how to use 3D?
You can check out our 3D Carving Instructions here.
We also have an overview video available.
Is this 3D design software?
No, this is 3D CAM software that allows you to import 3D STL files and quickly and easily generate toolpaths to carve on a CNC router. You cannot create a 3D file in Easel.
How do I create a 3D STL file?
You can create STL files in software like SketchUp, Fusion 360, or other 3D modeling software. You can also buy or download free STL files. There are many STL files that are used for 3D Printing, and these have a full 3D shape. These kinds of files will work, but for CNC router applications, relief-styled models work best.
What is a 3D STL File?
STL is a 3D file format native to CAD software created by 3D Systems. It can be used for cutting that changes height to achieve details at different depths or with CNC machines that can move in all three axes at the same time (like X-Carve and X-Carve Pro). The format is commonly available, which is why we chose it for 3D in Easel Pro.
Where can I find 3D .STL files?
You can find a full list placed to find STL files and information about them here: 8 Best Sites to Download STL Files
Files from Thingiverse, Etsy, and similar sites can be used at your own discretion. Keep in mind that not all 3D STL files are optimized for CNC routers.
Note: When you use a file, make sure to comply with that file’s license. Some files are for personal use only or require purchasing a commercial license. Please respect the file creator’s intellectual property.
What dimensions or units does my file need to be?
Easel will scale STL models to fit the material upon import. You can then set units and re-scale models to specific dimensions within Easel.
What is the largest file I can use?
Easel only supports importing files under 100MB in size.
My file is over 100mb, what do I do?
Easel only supports files under 100MB in size. To make your file smaller you can use the mesh simplification tool here: https://myminifactory.github.io/Fast-Quadric-Mesh-Simplification/
To use this, simply upload your file, and drag the slider to set the size to 100MB or under, and then download the file.
Which bits do I need to use?
You can use normal flat end mills for 3D roughing passes. For 3D Finishing passes, we recommend using ball nose end mills. Right now, the toolpaths are optimized for normal ball nose, but will work well with other bits. We have seen early success running finish passes with V-bits, tapered ball nose, as well as even end mills!
The toolpaths generated will work with tapered ball nose, or 20 degree V bits. You just have to enter them as "other bit" and enter the diameter.
We will be rolling out toolpaths that are optimized for 3D carving with other bits, starting with tapered ball nose bits soon. This will also allow users to enter the taper angle.
We focused on making 3D easy for all users, which is why we only launched with normal (non-tapered) ball nose bits.
How do I know what works best for my project?
For the roughing pass, we recommend using the largest bit possible, which will clear out the larger elements of the design. The appropriate size will vary depending on your project. For example, using 1/2 bit" for the roughing and following it up with a 1/8" may not be optimal. The roughing bit should do as much work as possible.
For the detail pass, use a bit small enough to reach the finest detail of the design.
Will Tapered Ball Nose bits work with 3D in Easel Pro?
Yes, for the finishing pass. See above
Can I use custom bits?
Yes, you can enter any bit into the finishing pass - all you need to do is set the tip diameter.
Does Inventables sell Ball Nose bits?
We currently have 4 ball nose bits in stock here.
How long will it take to generate the toolpath?
Toolpath generation will vary depending on the complexity of the model. You can see a rough estimation of the carving time without needing to generate toolpaths.
My project is stuck on “Generating Toolpath,” what should I do?
In some situations, toolpath generation may take longer than desired. Contributing factors are:
- the complexity of the model
- the area being carved
- diameter of the bit
As an example, using a small bit and stepover with a large, complex model will result in more movements in the toolpath. The more movements there are, the longer it will take to generate.
If your project is stuck on toolpath generation for longer than 10 minutes, consider adjusting the settings.
What is a typical/expected carve time?
This varies greatly depending on the project size, material, and recommended cut settings for the machine being used.
My 3D carve estimate is very long, how can I speed up my carve?
To reduce the carving time, try:
- making the model smaller,
- use a larger bit for finishing like a ⅛ or ¼
- increase your finishing stepover to 15%
- adjusting the Depth Per Pass so it is set to the largest value possible given the machine's capability. For example, on X-Carve it can go up to half the diameter of the carving bit. For X-Carve Pro, the full diameter of the carving bit can be used.
What is “step over” in 3D finishing?
Step over refers to the amount of overlap in each raster pass. You can think of it as mowing a lawn, and overlapping each row of mowing. The smaller the stepover, the more overlap, and the longer the carving time. The larger the stepover, the smaller the overlap and the shorter the carving time.
Stepover is also related to the surface finish of the carve, since the tip of a ball nose bit is round. A smaller stepover will result in a smoother finish than a larger stepover, which will likely have lines and ridges. We recommend doing carves with 10-15% for fast carves and 7-9% for slower more detailed carves.
Why is there no depth per pass in 3D finishing?
In the finishing pass, the bit will be cutting at the full depth of the model surface. The majority of the material above the model surface will have already been removed by the roughing pass. Due to this, there will be a much smaller amount of material removed in the finishing pass. This allows for a full depth of cut.
How big are the auto-generated tabs?
They are ¼” by ⅛” nominally. At the moment, auto-generated tabs cannot be customized.
What do the different Finishing Tool Path directions mean?
Finish toolpaths are available in 4 angles of raster direction. You can carve in the X, the Y, or 45 or 135 degrees. This is to allow for aligning the pass with the grain direction of the wood. Sometimes carving with the grain will produce a better result, and sometimes carving across the grain will produce a better result. Your surface finish quality will vary based on the quality of the bit as well as the species of wood and grain direction. Having 4 options for direction allows you to adjust to what works best for your setup.
Will this work on my ___ CNC (3rd party machine)?
3D in Easel Pro will work on the following models of Inventables Machines: X-Carve, X-Carve with Upgrades, X-Carve Pro. It will also work with grbl based machine, but keep in mind we have only formally tested with X-Carve and X-Carve Pro.
What are the minimum system requirements?
You can view our system requirements here:
What are Easel's System Requirements?