How can I cut these holes?

Hi all,
I know this is a very simple thing, but can someone please walk me through the basics of getting a good tool path out to quickly cut these holes in a .25" piece of wood? Each black circle is meant to go all the way through the piece. I don’t want the rest of the surface touched. And I’d prefer not to have a tool path estimated at close to 4 hours, which is what I’ve manage to produce on my own…

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

There’s also an outline for a rectangle that surrounds these, not shown in this jpg by mistake, that I’d like to cut out of a larger panel, if anyone has any suggestions for the simplest way to set that up I’d be grateful.

There is really no good way to do that machining from a bitmap with MeshCAM. The only operation MC supports with bitmaps is lawn-mowing the whole bitmap with parallel finishing. Waterline and pencil don’t work because bitmaps don’t give vertical walls.

If you can output a DXF of the panel, it is a very straightforward matter. Extrude the DXF (including the panel outline) to the thickness of your panel, set max depth to the bottom of the rawstock (which by defualt is shrink-wrapped to the geometry), use waterline and pencil finishing with a tool that is smaller than the smallest holes (or use drilling for the little holes and waterline+pencil for the larger holes). That would let you finish the outside of your panel too becuase you’re not using roughing, just waterline+pencil so you could use “machine whole rawstock” with a large margin and the waterline+pencil would hug your geometry anyway.

You could define the rawstock to be larger than your actual panel, which would let you add thin, wide supports at the bottom of the geometry to “tab in” the panel to the large rawstock piece to keep it in place during the bottom cuts. You’d then hand-trim the supports.

Thanks for this, Randy. It’s dead helpful to know when something can’t be done a certain way. You’ve saved me potential hours of frustration.

I made that file in illustrator, which can do a dxf, but I’m not sure where I can set the extrusion. Is this done in meshcam? Or do I need to remake the thing in sketchup or something?

Thanks again.

I just did some cutouts and pockets using Easel. It’s a free app that makes doing 2d work super easy.

The gcode has worked flawlessly with carbide motion.

MrHume, you’re welcome. DXF is one of the basic input formats for MeshCAM. It will ask you how thick you want the geometry, and MC will do the extrusion. Remember to set the Program Origin relative to the extruded geometry, becuase MeshCAM doesn’t pay attention to the XY origin of the DXF.

Darren, I’ll check out Easel, if only to learn about the alternatives. Thank you for posting it.

I would also suggest checking out, which is also free, and doesn’t even require that you register or sign-in to use it :wink:

Hi all,
Thought you might like to see how it came out. This is really just a sort of first draft, but it looks good. The screw holes in the corners are too small, and the cutting didn’t happen where I expected, due to a fairly silly measuring error on my part, but it’s usable for my purposes, and will be replaced eventually with plastic anyway.

Here’s the final product, which is part of a larger toy I’m making for my kids. The labels are meant to sound cool to a kid, but not limit their imaginations to one type of scenario. Might switch them for random glyphs or something…

Thanks again for all the help!


Oooh, the kid in me (seriously, that’s the only part of me that exists…) LOVES the “PYROTECHNICS” label. I don’t care what it’s for, I just want to flip the switches! :smile: You have hit your target audience for sure.

That panel came out great! Having been through my Mame console phase (I recreated a Tempest control panel), it looks like you’ve been shopping at Ultimarc or similar. :relaxed:

You are a good Dad! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: And good to be encouraging your kids’ imaginations/creativity. Anything is possible!

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I have to ask. “Pyrotechnics”? What are you building? I have to wonder if its some Estes type rocket launching gadget thing…

  • Your BATF agent friend

I don’t know, @garyinco. Looks kind of like a Cubesat deployment panel to me… :wink: Could be anything. But yeah, Estes rockets are cool!

Thanks, Randy! I hadn’t actually heard that acronym before, nor visited Ultimarc. What an awesome website! I love the internet, man, seriously.

@garyinco, the control panel is purely an imagination toy, the buttons and switches don’t connect to anything…though there’s a pretty good chance I will not be able to resist hooking up some LEDs and noise makers and junk, just for added fun (fun for the kid, of course).

I got the idea when my 4 year old kid begged me to keep a stereo we were donating because he wanted to turn the knobs and pretend it was a “spy catcher.” I jump at any chance to get them interested in using their imaginations instead of playing with an iPad.

The “Pyrotechnics” label is actually from this amazing “Mission Control Desk” I found over at Make: magazine. - My goals are MUCH more modest (for now).

As for the rockets - when I was a kid I used to love them, but my kids are still too little.

Thanks again guys!