This was my first attempt at raised lettering on a sign. My daughter keeps making paper signs to put on her door to keep her siblings out. Figured I could make something. The quarter is for scale in the picture and the sign measures about 6.5" (X) by 5.5" (Y) by .75" (Z). It was from a scrap White Oak board I had on hand. In order to do this project (because of the small details in the lettering) I needed the Elaire 1/8" Makita Collet and a set of Kyocera Micro mills from Drillman on Ebay. I finally broke down and got G-Wizard because trying to calculate Feeds and Speeds by hand was difficult for the tiny mills, and I didn’t want to waste them by breaking them. Other than some very faint scalloping around the letters, I like how it turned out. Notice how small the dot in the “i” is, along with the apostrophe, the tails on the “S”, “A”, and “N”, and the cats “eyes” and the loop at the top of the K. Those last details took a 1/32" mill to do, which I thought for sure would break.
Toolpaths, Feeds and Speeds (RPM / Feed / Plunge) - most were calculated using G-Wizard
- 2D Pocketing with #201 Flat End Mill for roughing out the open areas (19000 / 65 / 30 IPM)
- 2D Adaptive clearing with 1/8" Flat mill to give a finish axially and radially (20000 / 26 / 7 IPM)
- 2D Contour - 1/8" Flat mill - Not necessary for around the letters, but needed for inside letters (20000 / 26 / 7 IPM)
- 2D Contour - 1/16" Flat mill - Get into the fine curves of letters (20000 / 19 / 5 IPM)
- 2D Contour - 1/32" Flat mill - Cats Eyes and loop at top of K - (20000 / 19 / 4 IPM)
- 2D Contour - 1/4" Downcut - Mill straight edges around the outside of the sign and leave work holding tabs (I left about 2 inches of stock on either side so that I could clamp the piece without fear of striking and breaking one of those tiny bits) - (19000 / 61 / 20 IPM)
*Note - All of my Feeds for the small mills were set very conservatively in G-Wizard; 20% on the tortoise / hare slider.
After removing I used an oscillating tool to cut the tabs / stock edges off, then only a light sanding around the outside edges. Not sure how I am going to finish it. My daughter wants to paint it…I really don’t want that to happen.
Things I learned:
- G-Wizard is worth it. If you can find chip load or other info for your mills, most likely they don’t have any recommendations for wood / just metals. Even with formulas, you are flying blind for really small mills.
- I don’t want to do raised letters smaller than that
- I tested the design first in pine, and many of the small details were broken off. I was pleased with how they turned out in oak. The letters are only .15" thick, so not tall enough to break easily
The font is Birds of Paradise, found on the internet