Help a newbie out

Hi guys! I’m super new to CNC and any woodworking in general. I’m a mom to a toddler and I’m just trying to make toys for the little one. I just purchased a Shapeoko 3 XXL about three weeks ago and having so much fun so far. I am struggling with one thing though… and wondering if someone can help me out.

If you look at the attached photo, the whole right side is higher and I am out of ideas on how to fix it. I am using pine wood and an 1/8 bit. On Carbide Create, I hit the contour and specify the depth, etc then I just select the generic 1/8 bit for softwood. I am not sure what other things I should try to make it even? This happens with all of my pieces btw… and all of my SVG are aligned for sure. Any ideas on what I can try or look at? Thanks so much!

This is the finished project. It’s not the end of the world but I am worried that as I move into more complicated projects, this is really going to be an issue.


Can you post the image (if it’s an svg) or carbide create file?


Here it is! Thanks so much!

tao.c2d (14.1 KB)

Here’s my actual Carbide Create file too.

Things to start with:

  • machine level and all the parts square to each other and plumb?

Have you trammed your working area? I’d suggest adding a spoilboard and surfacing that:

For the actual cut you didn’t have geometry assigned:

and you are cutting out a simple outer profile / contour — this results in 100% tooling engagement and can be difficult for the machine to do. Best practice is to add geometry around things and cut as a pocket:

For your charming doll:

(assuming you wish to use a 1/8" endmill)

then modify the profile toolpath to start at the bottom of the pocket, and if desired have tabs:

Have you considered placing the image of the painted doll in the background and then drawing in all the features so that they could be cut as a V engraving so as to guide painting?

1 Like

Thanks so much!

I do have some other questions if you don’t mind… when you say I didn’t have geometry assigned, do you mean the offset thing you suggested?

I just followed the offset steps and then the pocket. Des the Contour go first in toolpaths then Pocket? So sorry for my newbie questions - must be painful to read ha. And yes, my plan is to add engraving so I can use them as a guide for painting as these are a bit tricky to paint. But I am such a newbie that I am taking it one step at a time. I’m just surprised that I haven’t ran away from the cnc machine yet.

Sorry, I got sidetracked with work, but glad Will was able to step in.
The geometry assigned I think is refering to the empty toolpath in the file that’s uploaded. So if you edit that tool path and then select the line you are wanting that toolpath to use, that would fix the problem.

Also keep at it! It’s a daunting learning curve, but you’re most of the way there! Also the play set looks adorable! You’ve already cut some pieces! My mom is working on running a shapeoko (hopefully this weekend). We ran a job together (cutting board) while she was out here, but I think she’s nervous on running the machine solo.

1 Like

When your file was first opened, the geometry was not associated with the toolpath, and there was no cutting preview.

The toolpath which cuts the shallowest should go first — that way the deeper cut can start at the bottom.

To add the details, just place the pixel image:

adjust the placement of the geometry, and draw:

Thanks, Will/Josh! I don’t know if I fully get it… I followed the steps above and tried to print and I’m having the same issue. Sorry! I just attached my file again - any chance you can take a look at it to see if I set it up correctly?

tao.c2d (137.8 KB)

Note how when one mouses over the first toolpath one gets an indication not just of toolpath specifics, but a highlighting of toolpath in the drawing area?

but if one mouses over the second, that doesn’t happen:

because no geometry is associated with it.

If you associate geometry with it:

then one can get that highlight to occur.

I’d also suggest using a tool other than #102 default — choose one which you intend to use to cut out, with settings for the material you intend to cut.

For more on tooling see:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 30 days. New replies are no longer allowed.