Using "Advanced VCarve" in Carbide Create 461 to make Inlays

this is why I suggest roughing first…

You’re right. That would be the behavior. You could do as @fenrus suggests and “rough” it first by doing the cut without setting the start depth low first. Basically have two tool paths you run. Does that make sense? You could do the rough by running the path with a high z zero first too. This would be similar to the other method where you adjust the zero deeper later.

I had been trying to do roughing passes last night and every time my depths would be all over the place and it was really frustrating me to the point I gave up. I just typed up this whole long description of every toolpath, measurement and detail for you but it got me thinking. I went out to the shop and started re-measuring everything and it turns out I had just changed out my waste board the other day and now I have a .15 crown in the one spot where I was working last night so I must have something stuck under the board that is throwing off my numbers off. I feel like a smuck. I will be taking off my waste board to investigate today. Sorry for wasting your time!!


No problem. If it were a waste of my time, I wouldn’t have even responded. :wink: Sometimes talking something through us all that is needed to work something out in your mind. I hope you find what is causing the issue.

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I’ve used this method a couple times with very good results. Great tutorial and a lot of great commentary here. The one thing I’m going to add to the process is a “No Offset” toolpath on the inlay before changing the Z. That should match the contours exactly and remove a good bit of the material that would otherwise be hogged out on the first pass. I’m using a Nomad, so spindle power is a limiting factor for me.


I’ve just tried an inlay using CC 5.14 Pro’s advance VCarves, but with doing two separate advance vcarves for the top/plug. I saw this in a post from @ColdCoffee in a thread started by @Julien My first inlay project One starting at 0 depth with a max depth of 0.1 in. for the initial clearing out and then another starting at 0.1 in with a max depth of 0.2 in. for the final depth. This is with the base cut starting at 0 with a max depth set to 0.15 in.

InlayTestTop.c2d (129.2 KB) InlayTestBottom.c2d (125.1 KB)

While this takes longer to cut from the above method, it’s a little more brainless while performing the actual cuts. In the photos, the base is MDF and the top is very brittle 1/4 in. popular. It did not cut well and some pieces chipped off… But it was good enough for the proof of concept.

After being glued and sanded:

It would be really nice if the top didn’t chip…

So… Did I get lucky, or should this method work OK all of the time?


This method is working for me but I have only done 3 inlays so far. I’m going to experiment with different vCarve bit angles, to see if a v30 or v45 bit does better (as compared to v60) on small details.

Regarding tiny chipout flaws, I suggest saving a small amount of sawdust from when your plug was being cut. Mix that with some wood glue (to get the color to match) and use it to fill in those gaps, then sand flat. It’s not perfect, but it works pretty good.


for me, 30 does much better


Awesome Steve! I’ve been making some epoxy coasters recently and would very much like to try this design, but want to ask you if that’s ok first? Is this your design and in the public domain?

Hi Mike,

Yes… The sun design is a public domain design (not mine and easily found on the internet…) that I converted to vectors and imported into CC. Feel free to use it at your own risk!


I am finally getting around to making some of these for some of this years christmas gifts. Tried it with a 90 degree bit last night and it did not work well. I think I’ve got the workflow down, so after I get some 30 degree v bits I’m going to hopefully have some good results.

I’m going for some family name signs made out of a combo of walnut and birds eye maple. If they turn out ok I’ll post some pictures of them.

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I want to attempt to do my first inlay, but I must confess that I am lost when it comes to doing the male part of the project, in particular with step 7. In your example you have the female dept of cut at .2 but then change that to .1 when doing the male. I am not sure how you came up with that. Is there some formula? I ask because in my case the female depth of cut is .15 so I am not sure what I need to set the male depth of cut to. I see that some users say that your example leaves a hollow space, plenty of room for glue. I’d like to get a nice tight fit, with room for glue. Would you recommend I make a change to me depth of cut. Thanks for any help you can give me. I am just starting at this and I feel really ignorant. Blessings to you!

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Did you use A-V-carve do clear the “field” of the center circle. That’s an issue I’m having right now of how to v-carve the edges then clear the field. What I’ve been doing is v-carve the sides and then change to a end mill and make an offset toolpath, but I prefer to not have the extra tool change step.

If you don’t have a BitSetter and can’t enable the “Pocket Clearing” option (or use a 3rd party tool such as )


Hi Tamarack, Yes The top was cut using the advanced Vcarve in CC using two different bits and a BitSetter. Will’s thought sounds like a good thing to try.

I am really struggling with using a 15 degree v-bit and getting the fit-up perfect. I have ran an experiment varying different starting depths and they all look horrible. This has led me to this thread. The question I have is that when you off set your zero by .1", is this the same as inputting .1" as your starting depth in Advance V-Carve? If it is not, what is the difference?

I think the only difference is that offsetting the zero also affects the retract height, which setting the starting depth doesn’t.

When I do an inlay now the pocket is .23 deep using whatever clear out bed 8th inch or quarter inch and then a 30° view bit for the plug my numbers are start depth .12 cut depth .23 it doesn’t leave you much of a soccer on the top but it’s such the inly further into the pocket and then I use my secret clamping method

Can someone make a video of this? Youtube has a decided lack of CC-Pro videos on how do to inlays without using VCarve Pro.

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(obviously this video is great: )