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Monday, 16 November 2015

Cut 2D Inlay toolpaths

In the new desktop version of Cut 2D they have added several additional features to improve its functionality, included in these, is the new Inlay Toolpath commands.
I was interested in this particularly as it was a further way of adding numerals to the clock dials.
To test what it could do and to ensure that my new CNC router was capable I designed a small test piece that is shown below. It is simply 3 separate numerals and a small rectangular plaque with numeral shaped pockets, machined to fit the numerals into.

First step was to set up Cut 2D with a blank size and a thickness, which in this case was 90mm x 90mm x 6.2mm thick, and then load the DXF file and centre it in the blank using F9 function key.

The Inlay Toolpath command, is the new addition to the Toolpath operations menu shown below.
Clicking on the end icon brings up sub menu allowing you to choose which operation you want to do first. The first two choices are for the numeral itself in either a stepped or a straight form, with the second two choices for either a pocket or straight through cut.
One of the main advantages of using the Inlay tool path option is that when a pocket is programmed it takes account of the cutter size being used and adds the appropriate radius to the internal square corner on the numeral, if it didn't do this the numeral would not fit in the pocket without post machining operations.

First select the Pocket option and fill in the details required, including the Pocket allowance box highlighted below. The Pocket allowance is there to give you some clearance between the pocket and the numeral to be fitted into it, it is useful for giving space to fit if there is any post machining finishes to be added, paint or varnish etc.0.25 mm is a good starting Point.

Next select the Straight inlay option and fill in the details required, this time leave the Allowance offset at zero, its probably best to keep all your adjustments for the fit on the pocket. This time you will need to add tabs to hold the numerals in place when you cut through.

Next select the outline for the plaque and choose a normal 2D profile toolpath and fill out the details as you would normally, to cut straight through, again using tabs.

Now select all the tool paths and click on the preview  toolpaths to make sure it is going to cut what you require. Once that's OK the you can click on save toolpaths, now you are ready to machine.

Once that's OK the you can click on save toolpaths, now you are ready to machine. The image below shows the sample I machined and put together.

1 comment:

  1. Cutting letters this way will need a very small cutter diameter and it will still have slightly rounded inside corners. This will be noticeable in the lower left portion of the number 2. It will be even more noticeable in letters such as M and W with lots of sharp inside corners.

    One potential workaround is to break the insert pieces into multiple segments. The number 2 could be created using two segments, separating the lower bar from the rest of the number. This would result in a true 90 degree inside corner using any size cutter.