Many photographers start out with a simple point-and-shoot camera. Over time, they may desire higher-quality photos and more control over their art. Similarly, your carving projects may start to demand more professional results as you advance on your maker journey. You may want more from your carving projects or your time may begin to become more valuable to you. For this reason, we developed Easel Pro: a membership-based cloud software to help established or burgeoning makers take the next steps in advancing their business.
V-carving is one of Easel Pro’s most powerful features. Built upon the same easy-to-use interface as our free Easel software, Easel Pro simplifies v-carving from design to final product. Easel Pro removes the barriers to designing your file by automatically generating v-carve toolpaths. There are no complicated feeds and speeds algorithms or steep learning curves. If you can use Easel, you’ll build incredible projects in Easel Pro.
There are some helpful tips and tricks for obtaining certain v-carve effects in Easel Pro. Whether you’re new to v-carving or you’re familiar with other v-carving software, this article is intended to help you get started designing projects in Easel Pro.
Selecting Your V-Bit
Just like in Easel, we suggest entering your material dimensions, material type, and bit type before beginning any project. For both Easel and Easel Pro, you can set material dimensions and material type the same way. In Easel Pro, you’ll notice is the addition of v-bits in your Bit Selection menu. You can select the 90-degree or60-degreee v-bit from the menu. These are the v-bit sizes we sell in our store. If you have a v-bit with a different degree, you can select “other” and check the “v-bit” box to add the specs of your v-bit.
For fill shapes, v-bits carve as deeply as possible to the intended cut depth as long as the bit does not go outside the boundaries of the design. In other words, the bit will always attempt to carve down to the design’s cut depth. However, if carving to the indicated depth jeopardizes your design, the bit will not carve the full depth.
The bit yields to the design’s limitations first and foremost when carving fill shapes. In Easel Pro, fill shapes include any shapes displaying as “fills” in the Cut/Shape menu.
Text elements added using Easel Pro’s text tool qualify as fill shapes, as shown in the above GIF. Treating text elements as fill shapes allow v-bits to carve deeper on thicker parts of certain letters and shallower in thinner areas—even on the same letter.
Notice how the depth of the text in the next GIF doesn’t change, even when the depth is set considerably deeper on the Cut/Shape menu. This is because the bit cannot carve any deeper without going outside the boundaries of each letter’s design.
Click here to learn more about Easel Pro's font library feature.
For outline shapes, a v-bit will always carve to the indicated depth set in the Cut/Shape menu. This means the width of the outline will change depending on the depth.
If you have a shallow outline, the toolpath narrows because the shape is carved by the narrowest end of the v-bit. A deeper carve will have a wider toolpath. As the machine carves deeper into the material, the v-bit carves using the wider part of the bit. This results in a wider carve.
Pockets and Two-Stage Carves
One of the perks of using v-bits is carving toolpaths with beveled edges that come to a point at the deepest part of the toolpath. However, sometimes your project requires a flat surface at the bottom of a pocket but with beveled v-carve edges.
To create a pocket with a flat bottom, we recommend using the two-stage feature. You can carve the majority of your project with a flat-bottom bit and complete a finishing pass with a v-bit. This feature is coverd in the video at the top of this article.
Using two-stages carves in this way is an effective technique for carving out large pockets quickly while still taking advantage of a v-bit’s unique toolpath.
The degree of your v-bit determines a variety of factors related to your carve.
Generally speaking, the smaller the angle on your v-bit, the deeper the bit will carve. This is because a smaller angle equates to a narrower angle. Bits with a narrower angle are able to carve deeper without going outside the bounds of the design. Since a narrower bit angle can stay within the boundaries of the design as it carves deeper, you are able to achieve deeper depths when a bit has a smaller angle.
A 60-degree v-bit will carve deeper than a 90-degree v-bit because it can carve deeper into a design before the design’s limitations prevent the bit from going down further into the design. Likewise, a 30-degree v-bit will carve deeper than a 60-degree v-bit.
Compare the Easel Pro detail previews of these different v-bit angles (30 degrees, 60 degrees, and 90 degrees):
Here are some other examples showing the differences in the bit degrees when the text is elevated inside a pocket.