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CNC CNC Technology How-to

Level an Epoxy Pour on your CNC

Perfecting an epoxy pour main image

Working with epoxy is all the rage right now, and it’s common to pour epoxy alongside a piece or two of wood. You can easily level the resulting “tile” using your CNC.

 

Bit selection

 

choosing the correct bit to level

Leveling the epoxy pour is basically the same as fly cutting your spoilboard. You can use nearly any flat-bottom bit, but a large diameter bit spoilboard bit will get the work done faster.

 

Design and toolpath

The software used in this article is VCarve Pro by Vectric.

 

using VCarve Pro software to start the process

Create a new file using the dimensions of the tile as your job dimensions.

 

draw a rectangle

Use the Draw Rectangle tool to create a rectangle or square that’s 1” larger than your tile.

 

have the rectangle centered like so

The rectangle should be centered on your tile.

 

under the pocket toolpath menu input depth measurements

Select the rectangle and toolpath your design using the Pocket Toolpath. Choose the bit you’ll be using and set Cut Depth to .03”.

 

selecting the ramp option and setting the length

Be sure to select Ramp Plunge Moves and use a relatively long ramp. 4” works well. Click Calculate.

 

Head for the CNC

 

clamping down the epoxy piece

Secure the tile to the spoilboard. You can’t use hold downs directly on the tile since you’ll be cutting the entire surface. Secure a piece of scrap at one end, and use scrap and a wedge at the other end to lock the tile in place.

 

locking the tile in place

Cut the wedge with a 5-degree taper. After the second piece of scrap is secured tap the wedge with a mallet to lock the tile in place.

 

find the center of the epoxy project

Mark the XY origin on the tile, locate the bit over it and zero the X and Y axes.

 

initiating the leveling

Zero the Z axis using the puck. If the surface of the tile is uneven make sure you’re zeroing the Z axis at a high point on the tile.

 

ensuring the correct speed and power is running on the cnc

Before running the toolpath make sure your rpm and feed rates are correct. RPM for a large diameter bit like this, 2”, should be 12,000. With a four-flute bit like the one shown here start with a feed rate of 60 ipm. Epoxy is, after all, plastic. You want to make sure you’re cutting it, not melting it.

 

collect chips and shaving and not dust

The right speed and feed should give you chips and shavings, not dust. Adjust the speed and feed as needed.

 

run the toolpath and test the results

Run your toolpath and check the results. If there are parts of the tile that haven’t been cut yet rezero the Z to the new surface and run the toolpath again. Repeat the process until the surface is completely flat.

 

Clean up

 

use a drum sander to evenly sand the surface

Remove the marks left by CNC by sending the tile through a drum sander, or sanding with a random orbit sander.

 

final product

The tile is ready for finish sanding, and it’ll look great as part of your next project.

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