I did all of the design in Blender. Blender is a great program with a good online community. But, I did find that Blender has a steep learning curve. Once I created the STL file I used Vectric's Aspire program to create the code for the CNC. And as you probably know, Aspire is not free, but worth it if you like doing this kind of work.
It's nice to be back in the shop, especially considering the situation we all find ourselves in. And I happy to say I'm fully recovered from the bypass surgery.
I'll be posting a few more projects in the coming days.
The Blender learning curve is crazy! I stepped away from it for about a year and when I tried to use it again it was like starting over again. I used it to rig characters which was real handy for making one little penguin look like a bunch of different penguins.
I actually used SketchUp for the eccentric honey dipper but I do see some faceting.
When I picked up my 2nd CNC machine at the factory they were talking about this wonderful new program coming out called Aspire. Back then it was probably $400 but I knew I had to have it. I handed them my credit card and 2 weeks later I got a box in the mail. I haven't looked back!
I took three passes on the CNC machine. First pass was a roughing cut using a 1/4" end mill. The second pass was a 1/4" ball nose and the final cut was a 1/8" ball nose to cut the regions that were too narrow for the 1/4" ball nose. The total machining time was about 5 hours. In addition, it was fairly time consuming to determine the cutting path for the 1/8" ball nose, but I saved a few hours of machining time by not machining the whole carving with the 1/8" ball nose.
Next, I used hand tools to carve the finer details, than sanded the whole carving, starting with 100 grit and working up to 240 grit. Finished with rub on poly.
If anything isn't clear, just ask.