Creating an outdoor sign

as requested on support…

I’m trying to make an outdoor sign. The outside circle about 1" should stay at the top. The anchor and letters also. I want to pocket the rest of the inside down to maybe half the thickness. I’m having difficulty with that part.

0.5" of thickness is quite a bit to remove, and isn’t really necessary for a sign which will be well illuminated.

The design has quite a few intricate details which would require a very small tool, which would be almost impossibly delicate at a length suited to cutting to this depth.

On option would be to simple do an Advanced V carving — this is quite straight-forward and easily done and achieves a good representation of the detail — this isn’t quite able to reach the requested depth unless one purchases a large tool such as the Amana RC-1148 in:

Using that we select all but the outermost circle:

Assign an Advanced V carve toolpath:


assigning it to the Current Selection:

and enabling pocket clearing and selecting the appropriate tools in the appropriate materials which then previews as:

Cutting out the circle will want a tool which has a cutting flute length of 1" or greater (usually sold as a “long reach” endmill), and for one to add offset geometry at the endmill diameter plus 10% or so:

which along with the original geometry one would then assign a pocket toolpath down to tab height:

(we are using a #201 as a stand-in for a 3rd party long reach tool which will need to be sourced and have a suitable tool definition created)

Then selecting only the original geometry:

create an Outside Contour toolpath which starts at the bottom of that toolpath and cuts the rest of the way:

which previews as:

Modeling this in 3D instead may be done in several ways:

First, select the outer circle and model to a thickness of 1":

The select the inner circle and subtract a thickness of 0.5":

Then select the design elements and model them to an added height of 0.5"

which all previews as:

One would then offset the outside geometry as noted above and assign toolpaths as noted at:

assuming of course, that one can source ball-nosed tooling suited to making this cut — cutting this using square tooling has similar difficulties — it’s just much, much easier to cut as a V carving and be done with it.

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