View Full Version : Improving cut path efficiency of texture on curved surface?

02-03-2016, 03:54 PM
I apologize if the title is a bit convoluted.

I'm attempting to carve a ripple texture into a curved object, as illustrated in the linked image.


The texture is created in such a way that a 0.5in ballnose end mill can mill the ripple perfectly, but despite experimenting with a variety of toolpath settings in Vcarve Pro, I can't seem to figure out how to make the toolpath simply follow the ripples so as to cut in the fastest and cleanest way possible.

Is this possible in Vcarve Pro? My research suggested it may only be possible by using Aspire and projecting the toolpaths onto the surface.

I don't have access to Aspire right now so I was hoping that there was another way. Can I create a series of 3d curves and import them as toolpaths?


02-03-2016, 04:30 PM
Aaron, Can you show a screengrab of the surface before the Ballnose cut?
Is it an.stl or such?
Just thinking a Profile On Line cut with a "project onto 3D toolpath" box checked may work after you've hogged out the profile curve of the tops of the "ridges".
To reduce air time maybe alternate Start Points in Node Edit for the first pair/Group/ and THEN linear array?
Apologize if I'm off base, but been up since 2 and my eyes may be playing tricks with your image.

02-03-2016, 05:10 PM
There are two ways and they are both vector based. So you have to draw the control vectors first.

One way is to draw a line that is where you want the low points to be and then just cut along the vector. This design can be done quickly just by drawing a couple of arcs correctly and arraying them the right length with no space between, and then joining the resulting line, then arraying it to create the spacing.

The other way is to create a pair of them .5 apart, close the ends with a 1/2 circle, array that and then use the v-carve toolpath tool.

Either way, make sure your cutting area is longer and wider than the actual piece so you can run off the edges instead of having ends where it lifts out of your piece before the ends.

There are other ways to create the vectors that can result in other wave looks. Vector based textures cut a lot faster than reliefs!

02-03-2016, 05:45 PM
Wrote a whole edit based on seeing the dish shape of the object after I posted but lost it to late editing! First post wouldn't give enough info.

The fluting tool will give you this. Draw your vectors and create a flute path for them. The ramping part is where you will control the depth over the whole part.

Two types of flutes, one with an end mill to define the flat tops and then the ball nose.

02-03-2016, 06:15 PM
Dave, Are you seeing as a simple dish shape? Or the 3D rippled?
Thought about Fluting, but thought it was rippled,
Fluting would be easy.
You thinking BIG EM (1.25"+bit with a fluting toolpath) for the shape and then going into it with the half inch BN?
Again I may be assuming shape, 16 hr and then 2 with Dad.
I LIKE the hooking for a Profile cut so it doesn't change direction.
Cain't tell I'm a Youngsta eh?
Listen to Dave!

02-04-2016, 05:59 AM
I was thinking about something like that (and the part does look to me like a simple concave in x) but on overnight thought realized a ramping down and up flute would result in a shallow V dish and not curved. I think you need more robust software to do this with vectors. You use v-carve pro more than me. Can you paste ("bake") vectors onto a curve in VCP?

Gary Campbell
02-04-2016, 08:17 AM
With a little experimenting you should be able to recreate the wave pattern shown by using the "Create Vector Texture" tool. It will create the uniform repeating vectors you need to replicate your attached pattern. Preview with a toolpath "On" vector using proper sized ballnose. More info in the "Vector Textures" Tutorial and on Pg 63 of the reference manual

02-04-2016, 09:39 AM
I was thinking extending the line off the workpiece 1/2Radius and using start depth setting and max depth to make it uniform. To tell the truth it's making me dizzy:)
We can machine ON a 3D surface we've bought and mod it quite a bit, but can't create.
Think I like Gary's idea, But ZIP texture experience.
Out of my depth I think, so I'll shut up:)

02-04-2016, 10:23 AM
Apparently the VCarve Pro edition I have (7.5 included with a machine purchase from another manufacturer)
is a "bare bones" edition and doesn't have many of the features as shown in Pro on the Vectric site. These missing bits include anything relating to 3d including the import 3-d clipart ability, the entire modeling tab, as well as some tools including the create vector texture and any 3d toolpath creation. So although the title head calls it Vcarve Pro it really seems to be more Cut 2D.
After viewing tutorials and doc Gary mentioned I think it may be doable but still don't see how to do the dish shape unless you have it modeled to import.

02-04-2016, 11:12 AM
Yup, VCP8 was a MAJOR upgrade and the models are worth the upgrade price alone, never mind that we can mod and manipulate the 3D AND the toolpaths!
WELL worth the upgrade Dave!!

02-04-2016, 11:38 AM
I see Scott.
I have confirmed that it is only with V8 that some 3-d abilities kick in.
Upgrading will be up to the machine owner.
Back to original request from Ace:
What software are you using to create your 3-d curves? If you can create the base shape without the waves cut into it and import it, as for example an STL, then you can create the vectors for the waves and machine onto the model in Vcarve Pro 8.xx by projecting the toolpaths needed onto the imported model by checking the "project toolpath onto 3-d model box but not earlier versions.

02-04-2016, 01:27 PM
Forgive the quick putz, but didn't use 3D at all. all fluting toolpath.
Can send file if you email me.
Just a down and dirty concept cut. Needs tweaking, but it's kind of close.
Hopefully pics help?
Drawn in VCP8 though so don't think you can read it? :(

02-04-2016, 02:33 PM
Looks like that could be it but hard to tell as your pics don't end up very large when opened.
Can you save/post them in larger dimensions?
I think Ace needs them more than me!

02-04-2016, 02:51 PM
Lets try again Aaron,
If you want file, my e-mail is in my contact info.
By the time I looked at pics on thread, I'd hit the 20 minute mark.

02-04-2016, 04:11 PM
Ah-So it's that smooth button.
Can you figure out what kind of numbers to input to make it concave? (Just for the hell of it)

02-04-2016, 05:07 PM
Yup, but only works easily with concave....It won't eat -#'s. Closest Vectric forum has come is a linear array of VERY close lines and then working in pairs of lines offset from center line, and then toolpath gradually deeper with some math thrown in....MAJOR PITA!
If we bought a true trough, rather than this dome I stretched and then trimmed with a bounding box and cut on selected vectors, we could come close, but it still wouldn't be accurate. We COULD profile with the BN on the line, and interesting things could happen, but not what Aaron was doing.
Hope this made sense. Glad I tried cookie cutting the 3D, hadn't tried that before. :)

02-05-2016, 11:24 AM
Hi Guys,

I apologize for the slow response, but thank you so much for all the effort put into replies here!

To answer some various questions:

I am working in Rhino and can easily output the geometry without the ripples inside. I can also output the vectors I have and import them easily.

I will be back in the shop on Tuesday and I will experiment with both project curve to geometry as well as smooth ramping on a flute cut.

I'll double check which VCarve is loaded up, but I think it's the 8th edition and I'm fairly certain I've seen the project curve option.

02-05-2016, 01:08 PM
On Flute cut if you make a pair and alternate Start Points/Group/ and THEN linear array it saves a lot of air time,But then you get the alternating climb/conventional cut thing going on.
Just mentioning.