Just Another Topo Timelapse

I was getting frustrated with issues in V-carving projects, so I started working on some other projects that I wanted to get done for Christmas gifts.

I had watched several other videos and went through tutorials using various methods to get topo data into a 3d model for CNC use - but they all were either fairly old (with poor instructions) or very confusing. However, this weekend I finally found a process that works and was easy enough for me.

I used the rayshader R package (https://www.rayshader.com/) and some other ancillary tools to grab, process, and then export DEM data from USGS into an STL file that was then imported into VCarve Pro. It turned out pretty nice I think! I’ll try to add some more details about the process to this post later on as I have time.
This is one of the renders from the rayshader package, I did a few test renders to make sure the extents were good and to play with the Z scale.

The model is about 6.5" W x 8" H x .55" D and I used a 1" think piece of walnut stock.


Thanks Chris, I’m currently at the importing other people’s STL’s into Fusion 360 and trying to understand if my toolpaths are actually going to take 26hours to run (30’“x30” topo) point. So I’m tuning in for your update/longer explanation.

Wish I could help you there, but I also tried Fusion 360 for a bit and was completely overwhelmed. I was much more familiar with VCarve’s CAM process so once I got the STL file, it was pretty easy from there. Sounds like the first part of my soon-to-be tutorial will still be helpful for you though, as it will get you to the point where you can at least generate your own STLs of specific areas.

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Looks great! Can you give an approximate real time run time for this piece?

I believe it was roughly 2.5 hours. I had to slow the feed rate on the roughing pass a little, but made up some time on the finishing pass by increasing it… it was my first time using walnut or doing this kind of toolpath in Vcarve so I expected to have to adjust things on the fly.