Feature Request: Alternative Pocketing Paths for Stock Leveling & Consistent Grain Cutting

So when generating a pocket operation, you always get the bit starting in the middle & going round-n-round outwards in a clockwise fashion. This is fine most of the time, but it does have a drawback of inconsistent cutting of wood fibers which cut differently depending on the direction of the cutter movement through the wood grain.
Has there been any request or thought given for generating toolpaths which work from one side of a rectangle to the other in a back-n-forth motion? Or a pocketing operation which first removes the outer perimeter & then the middle in a back’n’forth pattern? With the direction of the pattern to move across the design selectable?
I have often wished, while watching my XXL3 doing a pocketing routine over a piece, that I could tell it which way to move across the wood in a consistent fastion that works better with the wood grain instead of just round-robin.

Thanks for considering!


This may be a planned feature in Carbide Create, I recall something about it being mentioned. If you need something now, then other CAM packages already do what you describe - Fusion 360, Vectric VCarve and CarveCo, and there may be others.

I have been using the “engraving” toolpath available in Carbide Create to flatten stock. It allows you to cut in one direction or back and forth. Kind of a hack as I don’t think it was intended to be used that way, but it works.

Edit: I should add, first it runs the bit around the boundary of the selected geometry as a no offset contour, so be aware of your work holding.


The terminology for that type of tool path is “raster”. Usually you select raster, then an angle that dictates side-to-side, back-and-forth, or an angle in between. That would be a great feature to add.


Thanks for the tip! I did not realize that CC had so many extra toolpath options now in the Pro version - I have only been using the Basic version for quite some time as it did what I needed.

Tried out the Engraving function on a small project to surface some laminated wood into smooth slabs for floating shelves. It definitely allowed me to create a toolpath that was more akin to how I wanted the wood to be cut away - moving cross grain in only one direction so as not to cause edge splintering.

While doing some testing with the function to see how it changes the toolpath, I found it curious that it still lifts/drops the cutter when ‘Cut Both Ways’ is selected. There really is no need for it to change the Z in that mode. In fact, it could be very nice if it would just maintain the Z height & snake it’s way back’n’forth over the work piece so as to eliminate any minute differences in the Z every time it repositions to the cutting depth.

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Yes, that would be handy feature. Except I would be inclinded to call it ‘Snaking’ - rasterization makes me think GPU tech & rendering techniques which are used to create games…like the classic ‘Snake’.

Maybe in creating this ‘Snaking’ function, they could put in an easter egg game of CNC Snake…you get to change the direction the cutter is moving with the arrow keys & you have to clear your whole waste board without overlapping too much on what was already cut…& also without going out of bounds & grinding your motors/belts - plus the longer you keep at it, the faster the CNC moves!


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