First foray into inlays, but the result is not as expected

I researched as much as I could (handle) before plunging (get it?) into the world of inlays, and started with something quite simple, to get my feet wet.

Although the inlay fitted the gaps weren’t consistent, leaving a deep hollow in the body of the bee.

I’ve attached the two files, but am using a 1/4" 60 degree V bit, with an Advanced VCarve toolpath with the following settings:

Pocket: S = 0.0", D = 0.2"
Inlay: S = 0.0", D = 0.175" - I’ve assumed a 0.025" for the glue gap.

I know there are lots of YouTube videos and spectacular threads on this forum - and I’ve read/viewed a few of them several times, I promise - but I’ve probably confused myself by trying to learn the principles in VCarve Desktop and converting the practicalities into CC.

Any thoughts?

Thank you.

Bee Lid - Female.c2d (72.2 KB)
Bee Lid - Male.c2d (75.2 KB)

Is “S” start depth?
Ok the male inlay, there should be a start depth that is most of your Female pocket depth.

Have you seen this post?


Yep, as per the relevant screen in CC. Sorry, should have made that clear.

Erm, no. I didn’t see your post…

So, I translate that as:
Pocket: Start = 0.0", Max Depth = 0.2", making the pocket depth of 0.2"
Inlay: Start = 0.175" (Pocket less glue gap), Max Depth = 0.175" + however big the saw/clamp gap has to be.

Did I get it?

Thanks @neilferreri

Looks good to me. Just remember the machine will need to take a deep cut to start on that male inlay.

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Awesome, thank you.

I’ll give it a go and see how I get on.


As it happens, I didn’t get on very well :grimacing:

The .c3d and .nc files are attached, and this is what I should’ve ended up with:

…but this is what I got:

Hexagonal Box Lid - Bee Inlaid.c2d (116.8 KB)
Hexagonal Box Lid - Bee Inlaid (60.9 KB)

I suggest you try the exact same cut in MDF, see what happens then.
Some woods (what kind was it? oak?) tend to tearout when vcarved with a less-than-perfectly-sharp bit, but not to that extent. And the feeds and speeds look correct (you could increase feedrate, but still this should work).
You could also retry at lower depth per pass for the sake of checking if this changes anything (but 0.08" is perfectly reasonable)
I suppose the clearing part of the toolpath with the 1/8" square endmill went well, and things got weird after changing to the vbit ?

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OK, I’ll do that. the original cut was in oak, yes.

It did indeed. I thought it was going really well until then.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks @Julien

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Ok, so cutting MDF didn’t improve things either.

This is after the clearing path in MDF:

And this is after the V cut:

I found these pieces in hiding…

…and I presume the rest went up the dust extraction system.

I ran this a second time, because I’d forgotten to change the spindle speed from 10k (for the #102) to 18k for the V bit, but the result was the same.

Ho hum.

Well at least the corners look right now. MDF is not great for vcarving as it won’t hold tiny detail, but you should still not have such major tearout. Is this with a reasonably sharp/fresh #302 V-bit ?
Let me have another look at the design & Gcode files.

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It’s not brand new, but hasn’t been very much as I haven’t yet had much success with v-carving :roll_eyes:

Well I can’t spot anything obvious on the files. Maybe just the fact that this is a relatively small piece, the legs of the bee are 0.05" wide, (but that should not be a problem).

I would suggest you take a step back and try a simpler, larger test v-carve cut, in MDF for now.

For example, make a project with a 1" tall “TEST” text, and vcarve that. It may give us hints as to what is going on.

Do you have another V-bit you could try, to rule out the possibility that it’s the tool ?

I don’t have another 60 degree v-bit, but I do have a 15 and 90 degree.

OK, but I’ll do that tomorrow.

Thanks again, @Julien

Yeah so I would try creating a test design with that tool, another one for the 60° tool, and run both.

Don’t worry, there is no reason why your machine can’t produce perfect vcarve jobs. Probably the ONLY mdf project of mine I still like is this one, and that was on my (back then) stock SO3 with the #302:

You only need to find the Force. or something.


Just a thought, @Julien. This might not be relevant, but cutting the female part of the inlay worked really well.


So, I had a go at writing some text, as you suggested @Julien, and this is how it looks:

…for the clearance cut, and…

…after the v-cut.

I think this is better than the bee, so I’ve cut the the female part and stuck them together, so I’ll see how that works out tomorrow.

This was cut into a scrap piece of oak, and does look a bit rough, but I wonder how it will turn out?

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That is better, the wood may not be the best one and/or the vbit may not be as sharp as it could, but it could still turn out to be quite ok since the residual tearout happens on the top edges of the male part, which end up hidden in the female inlay grooves anyway. We’ll see !

Remember, the top of your male inlay is not meant to look good, especially on narrow details. Some of it is not tearout. By intent, the tops of the narrow features will be carved away.
The part that you will see is a few mm down from there.

Trust the math. Trust the process. Coat with glue. Clamp like a gorilla.
(And use a tighter grained wood next time)


A bit of an update…

I did this:

…and, as you suggested, @Julien, cut some 1" lettering and made this as a test piece:

…and although it looks pretty good, there is a flaw to the left of the ‘W’ here:

…and the ‘h’ here:

…or am I being too critical and my expectations too high?

Thank you :+1:

I’ve attached the files…

60 Degree Text Cut Female (22.9 KB)
60 Degree Text Cut Female.c2d (90.5 KB)
60 Degree Text Cut Male (377.7 KB)
60 Degree Text Cut Male.c2d (150.0 KB)

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when you glued the male part in the female part, how much did it stick out from the surface before sawing/surfacing/sanding ?
Since most letters came out just right, I suspect the “W” problem is unrelated to the design process, it must be a cutting mishap?

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