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CNC: Create a Textured Dome

By George Vondriska on June, 2 2021
Textured handcrafted look dome lid main image

It’s easy to create a hand-carved look on a domed lid using VCarve Pro software and your CNC router.


how to start project on vcarve pro software

Use Job Setup to create a new file with the dimensions of your material. Stock that is 3/4" thick, or more, works well for this task.


Selecting dome project on vcarve

Under the Clipart tab navigate to Domes (Dishes). Don’t worry about the domes that are shown being round, rather than oval. We’ll change it to an oval later. The lighter colored domes are for thin material, the darker domes are for thick material.


Dropping initial shape into cnc software workspace

Drag and drop the dome onto your workpiece.


material setup menu

Navigate to Material Setup. If you have chosen a dome that’s too tall for your material you’ll see the Error message. If this happens, simply swap out for a shorter dome.


Drawing menu with precise measurements

Select the dome and use Set Selected Objects Size to change the dimensions of the dome to make it an oval instead of a circle, if that’s the look you want.


crate an oval on the workspace

Click Apply and use Align Objects-Center to center to oval on your workpiece.


modeling tab to create a vector boundary

Navigate to the Modeling tab, select the oval and use Create vector boundary around selected components to define the outside of the oval. If you don’t do this you won’t be able use the Profile toolpath to cut the oval to its final shape.


rough machining toolpath menu

Select the oval and use the Rough Machining Toolpath to rough out the dome shape. Check out this article for more in-depth information on creating 3D shapes on your CNC router. A 1/4" end mill was selected for this cut.


finish machining toolpath menu to finalize cnc programming

Use the Finish Machining Toolpath to finalize the shape of the domed oval. A 1/4" ballnose bit was selected for this cut.


clicking 2d profile toolpath menu

Select the outside oval shape that was created using Create vector boundary tool. Use the 2D Profile Toolpath with tabs to cut the oval to its final shape.


preview the file to make sure you like it

Preview Toolpaths will show you if you’re getting the domed look you want. Make changes to the shape now, if required.


adding texture to the dome

Select the dome and navigate to the Texturing Toolpath.


texture toolpath measurements

The settings shown here will give you a good starting point, but there are lots of variables in this toolpath. A 60-degree V-bit will be used in this article, but you can choose different angle V-bits or ballnose bits for the texturing toolpath. Changing any of the parameters in the toolpath will change the final look.


preview textured dome

Use Preview Toolpath to check your work. It’s definitely worth toggling back and forth between the Texturing Toolpath and Preview Toolpath to see the different looks you can get by changing parameters.


securing the material and routing

Secure your material to the spoilboard, install the 1/4" endmill, and zero the X, Y, and Z axes. Run the 3D Roughing and Profile toolpaths.


iq desktop router laguna tools

Install the ballnose bit, rezero the Z axis and run the 3D Finish toolpath.


using the v bit to create texture

Install the V-bit and rezero the Z axis. Be sure you’re zeroing on an uncut portion of your workpiece.


completing the texture step

Run the Texture toolpath.


sanding the surface of the wood

A sanding mop, also called a flutter sander, makes short work of cleaning up the textured surface without compromising the detail.


finished textured dome piece

Your textured dome is complete.

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