Surface tool path

Not sure if this is going to need to be an education point for me or a legitimate request.

It has been 28 years since Machine shop class & 1 year tool and die apprenticeship, so forgive me if I am wrong here. I have forgotten almost all of the little bit I learned.

I remember cutting on the milling machine and we always went in 1 direction to eliminate the tool climbing . We also tied to avoid plunging into a workpiece in the middle if we could avoid it.

Is it possible to have a surface tool path that will start on the outside boundaries and spiral in to the middle? I feel that would be easier on our cutters, spindles and work pieces.

Carbide Create does not have a feature for that in the bundled license.

There is support for “Ramping” in in the Pro license:

It would be possible to draw a Curve which does as you describe — some drawing programs have direct support for spirals which could be so used:

another option (in pro) is the engrave toolpath which allows the parallel paths you describe

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This works fantastic. The engrave toolpath is a lifesaver on surfacing passes.

What makes using the engrave path better.

Given appropriate geometry (larger than the stock by endmill diamter in all directions):

It is possible to set up a toolpath:

which plunges to cut depth at the side of the stock, then moves in to make the cut horizontally:

so that there is no plunge cutting (endmills are ~4 times better at cutting to the side than they are cutting downward).


if you set it up right (some overshoot) there are no places where you plunge and all cut paths are perfectly parallel
so a pocket looks like this (see the vertical cuts)

while engrave will do this (notice only horizontal cuts)


I just used the engrave org to surface a 5.5x26.25 board. I set the outer frame as 6x27 and used the McFly. It worked but did weird things. It did a full perimeter pass and then went back and did 2 passes above the top and then did a pass in the middle and 2 above that before doing the rest of the lower portion of the board.

I used the linear path. They just didn’t seem logical.