Vector Photo Engraving on the CNC – test #1

Over the weekend I successfully used the “7th” to engrave a photo of my daughter onto a piece of wood.  Turned out very well.  This was just a test cut, so I just used some scrap hardwood plywood.  I’ll do it again on real wood later.

I used a carbide v-bit as the cutter and attached the plywood to the y-axis table with double-sided tape (after cutting through a clamp with the cutter on an earlier attempt!).

This engraving used the raster-to-vector method.   Essentially converting certain highlights and edges on the photo to vectors using various freeware and shareware software routines.   I took a digital photo of my daughter and loaded it into WinTopo (the freeware addition).  In Wintopo I converted the raster photo to vector and then eliminated a lot of the “noise” vectors that were created to get a fairly clean drawing.   I then saved the vectors out of WinTopo as a DXF file.   I then used Acer (freeware DXF to g-code converter) to convert the DXF file to g-code.  I set the maximum z-axis cut to 0.1 inches in depth. The g-code was then loaded into the my CNC machine’s PC and I used TurboCNC (shareware CNC controller software) to run the machine.

The CNC machine took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to cut the picture (engraving is about 13″ x 9″).  I ran the machine slowly about about 6 ipm for this test run.  Everything worked beautifully.

I rubbed a cherry stain over the finished piece to darken the engraving marks.

For my next photo-engraving experiment I want to try the depth-of-cut shading type (I don’t know what to call this method) engraving.  This method leaves the photo as raster and engraves deeper for darker pixels and more shallow for lighter ones.  I am using shareware called IMGTOGCODE for this attempt.  These engravings take much longer for the machine to carve, so I will do I much smaller image.

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on November 21, 2005, in CNC. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Vector Photo Engraving on the CNC – test #1.

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