Are you using VCarve Pro to design and toolpath your CNC projects? Let’s look at how you can easily import and add router bits to the software’s Tool Database.
The Tool Database in VCarve Pro provides a great place for you to start your CNC work, but as time goes on it’s very likely that you’ll want to add router bits to the existing database.
Note that the images in this article are from VCarve Pro version 10. If you’re using an earlier version, things will look a little different, but the overall functionality is similar.
For simple cutters, like end mills, adding a bit is easy. Simply select an existing end mill and use the copy function to create another bit exactly like the first one.
Once you click Copy you’ll have the opportunity to edit the information for the new bit. Name it and, within the details for the bit, change the diameter and other parameters.
This approach works great for end mills and that big fly cutting router bit you’re going to get for leveling your spoilboard.
More complex bits
The info above is great for relatively simple bits, but what about more complex profiles, like a roundover or bowl and tray bit? Thankfully, some companies provide bit info that can be imported directly into VCarve Pro. And it’s not a difficult process.
This bit is called a Point Cutting Roundover. You can use it to round over corners and create very interesting three-dimensional lettering. Let’s look at how we can get this bit imported into the VCarve Pro Tool Database.
Start with a Google search using the key words “vectric tool database” to see what router bit databases are available. You can also be more specific, using the name of a particular router bit manufacturer.
For this article we’ll be working with the Whiteside Vectric Tool Library.
Once you’ve navigated to the Whiteside Vectric Tool Library page (link above), click the link on their page. That will take you to the library. The available bits are sorted by name. Navigate to the bit you’re importing.
The 3/8” radius Point Roundover bit we want to use is bit #1574. Locate the bit on the list and click on it.
You’ll be taken to a screen where you can download the bit. If you’re given the choice, choose direct download.
The bit information will end up in your Download folder. If you’re not sure where that is, you can click on the upward arrow next to the tool name on the bottom of your web browser. This provides a short menu that includes Show in Folder. Clicking on Show in Folder takes you to the file location.
Within VCarve Pro navigate to the Tool Database and look for the Import a Tool Database icon. Remember that if you allow your cursor to hover over any icon in the VCarve software text will pop up telling you what that icon is for. Click on the import icon.
After you click the Import icon you’ll need to navigate to the location of the router bit.
Click Open, and you’ll be taken back to the Tool Database in VCarve Pro. And, what do you know, the router bit is there.
Now, when you’re creating a Toolpath, you can select this router bit and the Tool Database has the specific geometry related to the bit.
With the bit information on board in the software you’ll be able to use Preview Toolpaths and see exactly what your design and toolpath will look like.
It’s important to remember that each manufacturer has created their importable files specifically for their router bits. It’s not a good idea to import one company’s bit info, and then try to apply that to a different company’s cutters.