Fitting slots and tabs

Ok, in general I’m a fairly smart person. I’m also a newbie with a Shakeopo 4 XXL. When ever I try to make a slot & sort of joinery, the slot is always too big. I purchase the pattern off Etsy and the comments are “It was great,” “Exactly as advertised,” “Super easy,”…and then I make it and it’s like trying to wear your big brother’s shoes.

I am doing the contour on the outside of the line so that when it goes into the slot it is the smaller option. But is the size determined from the middle of the bit or the outside of the bit? In other words, do I need an additional offset to accommodate the width of the bit? Since Carbide Create knows the width of my bit, I assumed not. Also, the slop I get isn’t the width of the bit (1/2 width x two sides).

I’m also apparently not using the right terminology because I would imagine this is not a rare problem, but I can’t find earlier discussions. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Have you calibrated for belt stretch? And adjusted endmill diameter for the actual width cut?

What sort of project are you trying to make?

Why buy a file?

Is there nothing at:

which suits?

Thanks Will. I have not adjusted for belt stretch so I’ll check that out. It’s a bit of a longer story, but I need to provide three art deco-ish bedside tables for a community theatre production so I was looking for something pretty specific.

I found the pattern on Etsy for a couple of bucks and it has a round top with slots. I’ve attached a partial photo of the SVG file so you can see that the curvy leg is going to fit into the slot. The leg is half inch MDF.

Sorry Will, I meant to ask one other newbie question. What do you mean when you say “Adjust endmill diameter for the actual width cut?”

Thanks for your patience here.

To clarify the drawing…the small circle fits about halfway down the legs in between the three of them. That’s the outer slots. The large circle has holes for the tabs on top of the leg to fit in. Where I’m having problems is on the slots in the small circle relative to the width of the mdf.

Yes, if you have done all else correctly, Carbide Create does figure the toolpath based on the size of the tool you select. The actual toolpath/line will equal the tool radius as entered.

this line though, makes me wonder about your process…?

When you say " doing the contour" do you mean you are creating a contour? or are you letting Carbide Create place the contour cut based on what tool you select?

also, what is the thickness on the part of the tab that inserts into the outer slots of the smaller circle, have you verified its measure?

Ah, yes, I’m choosing “Outside/Right” rather than “Inside/Left.” I’m not using the actual contour tool for something different as I figure I can only make it worse!

I think there might be some fault in the plan that I purchased anyway, but the pure question I’m asking is, if I were designing the table you see in the picture, would I enter the thickness of the slots in the small circle as equal to the thickness of the wood that slides into it? Or is there an additional offset I need to make? In other conversations and videos I’ve seen where folks will often take off a thou or two so that it is snug but not impossible to slide together but is there any other calculation I should have to make?

Depends on the amount of engagement I guess.
For a prop, cut it to the numbers and add glue…
I still question your process…
Is your method like this?
with nothing selected, go to the Toolpath tab
select that circle and a create Toolpath, window opens, select Contour. A new window opens for Edit Toolpath, you will see a blue/toolpath line automatically populate. in the Tool area, select your endmill. In Offset Direction, select Outside / Right. You should see an approximation of the toolpath. Fill in other areas as needed and click Ok. Complete the Edit Toolpath page and click Ok ?

I worked up a similar design at:

For adjusting the diameter cut a slot and measure it. See:

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