New user needing advice!

Don’t even have my machine yet. Just trying to wrap my mind around, what seems to be, the insanity of CNC! My first intended production pieces are these “door hangers” I’m currently cutting on a scroll saw. Is this an over zealous plan? What cutters should I stock up on? They’re cut out of 1/2" birch ply.

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Well cutting the wood should be no problem, but you have some real tight corners. You might struggle to go that small, but 1/16 is where I’d start

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Those are quite doable, just as @Luke noted, the corners are tight and will cut at the radius of the endmill you use.

Flat stock w/ large open areas can be a pain — if you don’t remove everything as a pocket (which takes forever) you wind up in a slotting situation which can be difficult for the machine to cut. Doing the design w/ insets of greater than 10% of the largest endmill diameter which you are using helps (so that they can be cut as pockets rather than slots), as does roughing w/ a larger endmill, then making a finishing pass w/ a small one. Another strategy is to cut w/ a V-bit first, which will establish details, then cut through the profiles w/ a small endmill.

Another consideration is your experience level w/ vector/Bézier curve drawing — you’ll need to understand Boolean operations to make the above design, and you’ll want to make two versions of each project, one w/ the text as text, and another which has the text merged into the design so as to finish up CAM for that central part.

Please see:

You should be able to at least start on doing these entirely in Carbide Create if you don’t have experience w/ some other vector tool — if/when you run into its limitations you can use pretty much any other vector editor (I use Macromedia Freehand) — typical options are:

Those scrolls are intense but that is the challange, anyone can cut out a shape, don’t get intimidated, you do it with the scroll saw so you are the expert, problems are leaning opportunities, you can not fail if you learn from them, don’t be complacent, continue challanging yourself. The machine will do exactly what you tell it to do. It is your apprentise not your master, just learn how to talk to it (setup and programing software). The best of experiences to you, good luck.


As people have said, tight corners. If you’re willing to meet the machine in the middle it’ll do a good job. The other option is letting the machine do 99% of the cutting then tossing it on the scroll saw (or really just using a coping saw) to get those last intricate cuts.

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Possible ways to handle the inside corners:

Run the job with standard flat-end cutters (larger for clearing, smaller for ‘rest machining’-- literally cutting the rest of the stuff the larger couldn’t get to), then finish inside corners, as mentioned above, by hand with a saw

Run the job then finish inside corners by hand using files (might be easier/faster)

Revise the design: Shrink the cutouts a little (maybe 2mm// 3/32") and run with square end cutter as above. Then bevel all facing edges and use a Vee tool to cut at the surface, similar to vee-groove sign making. This will give sharp corners at the surface. Small clear areas might need to be removed and done only as an engraved feature to keep a uniform look.

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