Newbie question around vcarve

Hey everyone, about 2 weeks in using my XXL and I have learned A BUNCH! Been playing a lot with vcarve and advanced vcarve. Here are some basic assumptions that I have and I would like them confirmed.

  1. When using vcarve, the toolpath will go down the middle of the object it’s carving out. It will go to a depth that is required to achieve the desired width (e.g. If it’s carving out a letter, it will go to the depth required to achieve the width of the font). When creating the toolpath, I can’t set the desired depth, which has led me to this assumption.

  2. When using advanced vcarve, I can set the desired depth, which will let me control the width of let’s say a straight line. Now, what I’ve learned is, let’s say I wanted to carve out a letter and the width of the font is wider than bit would reach with a depth I’ve defined (e.g. .060), the carve will have little ridges in the middle of the letter. I’m assuming this is where I can set the Pocket Tool to remove the bulk of the material, then it would ask me for a tool change to do the finer edge/vee work. The problem I’m having is, that it didn’t ask me for the tool change. I didn’t receive any prompts. The job just paused in one spot and didn’t proceed unless I hit start. I didn’t know what it was asking for.

Is this because I’m not using a bitsetter and I’m still creating a different gcode file for every tool in the design?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Hi @erniediaz123,

You got this right, this is basically what vcarve and advanced vcarve do, and yes currently advanced vcarve only works (out of the box) if you have a BitSetter, since one advanced v-carve toolpath generates a single file with both toolpaths in it and a toolchange command in the middle.

If you are willing to do some G-code file editing, you could split the generated file back into two individual files, that you could then use “the normal way”, running one after the other and ze-zeroing manually between the two runs. It’s a bit awkward though if you are not comfortable with G-code, but it’s doable.

p.s. how are you still creating multiple g-code files from a single advanced vcarve toolpath ? I did not get that part

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Hi @Julien,

I’m sorry for the confusion. I’m not creating two separate files from one advanced v-carve. I’m separating all my toolpaths into groups, then enable/disable them to create a file per bit.

One more question. When running a design that uses different bits (each bit in it’s on gcode file), do I have to re-zero X & Y? I know I have to rezero the Z axis because the bits have different lenghts (I know I can use collars on the bits to give me the same length).

I ask because I’ve been rezero’ing XY&Z with every new file in a design and sometimes it’s not the same exact spot which makes things not align as desired. Assuming a bitsetter would solve this problem as well because I can then just save a single gcode file for all the bits. I’m ordering the bitsetter today. If you know of a video which shows the process of starting a job using a bitsetter and bitzero that would be great.

Here’s what I’m assuming. I’ll use the bitzero to get my XYZ starting point, then the bitsetter for Z from there on. Does that sound correct?

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When running jobs involving multiple tools, you only have to adjust Z zero (be it manually or using the BitSetter) between runs . Actually, as you found out, you shouldn’t re-zero X and Y for the exact reason you mentioned: due to a number of (very small) of inaccuracies in the zeroing process, you can end up shifting your X/Y a bit, so that can be counter-productive. The one exception is if you know for a fact that you lost X/Y steps during the previous job, and need to get rid of the error induced that that skip. But that should be a rare event.

Absolutely, this is the intended use. With a BitSetter installed, the machine will prompt you when the time comes for a tool change, and then it will proceed to move to the BitSetter and probe the new tool length automatically for you.

I am not aware of one that would involve both. But the same question came up recently in another thread, so you may be interested in reading that thread, hopefully it will shed some light on the matter:

Wow! Thank you very much! I just ordered the Bitsetter so I’ll get that going real soon.