Father - Daughter Project #16: Name engraved on front style

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Blog entry by Mainiac Matt posted 09-08-2013 10:14 PM 1511 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Glued up some frames Part 16 of Father - Daughter Project series Part 17: Final panel glued up »

I thought another way to make the project special would be to engrave some text or artwork. My daughter chose to simply put her name on the front rail… And she figured since it’s a hope chest, she’d only put her first and middle name, in anticipation that her last name will change some day (sniff, sniff).

If you’ve followed some of my other projects, you know that I program for the CNCs at work and have access to use them after hours. We do mostly simple geometries though, and script text was definately upping my game.

Solid Works has a text converter that will convert any font style text into a vector format, but even so, this required quite a bit of editing to close all of the profiles an trim erroneous lines.

I’m faster editing 2D geometry in Auto CAD, so I switched programs for all the edits and tweaks.

I purchasesd an engraving bit that tapers to a .090” point, and then had to go back and re-edit the geometry to make sure that everywhere that the lines tapered thin where still wider than the bit. Several we’re not and required adjustment.

Here’s what I came up with…

There are different approaches you can take to cut this kind of geometry, I used a pattern called “Island Fill” where the profile of each letter is cut, and then the bit steps in and cuts an offset with the pre-selected overlap. This repeats until the entire area is covered. Using a 50% step over, the program came in at just under 4,600 lines of code. I did a test cut on scrap plywood and then held my breath, crossed my fingers and pressed play to run it on my finished part.

Here’s the result…

The bottoms came in a little choppy, so I rummaged around in my Dremmel stuff to see if I had any good options. I decided to try a 1/8” dia. cylindrical med. coarse die grinder, but almost wrecked the piece with it. Then I tried a small stainless steel bristle brush, and at the lowest speed, it “sanded” quite well.

So with a little chisel work, a little Dremmel work and a little sanding with a tiny sanding block, I got most of the cutter marks cleaned up from the text.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

3 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2611 days

#1 posted 09-08-2013 11:23 PM

WOW! Nice art work on that CNC. You’ve got a great mind, Sir. How tall or deep did the “Z” axis go?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9263 posts in 2808 days

#2 posted 09-09-2013 12:39 AM

Only went 1/16” deep

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View DIYaholic's profile


19848 posts in 3154 days

#3 posted 09-09-2013 04:23 AM

Seeing how well you did with this….
I want a CNC!!!
Any chance you can slip the company CNC out the back door???
I’d gladly pay $100.00 or $200.00 for your effort!!! ;^)

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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