Engraving on whiskey barrel staves

Hi everyone, so im really new to this cnc world . only had this longmill a couple months, lots to learn.
i do lots of work with whiskey barrels, started engraving the heads of them, so thats going reasonable!:slight_smile:
i have the vcarve desktop, and was wanting to try engraving the barrel staves. they are a challenge because of the curvature ( in every direction) abd no two are really the same.
anyway i did a mock up in the moulding area to represent the curve( or close…maybe!), so when i go to engrave i dont want to use a vbit, just cause nothing is perfect and will look horrible , so wanted to just use an end mill and if theres depth differences it may not be bad? but i need to let the toolpath follow the 3d moulding( like vcarve allows), but using the endmill bits seems to be layering like a vcarve does. i just want clean lines all at one set depth, like quick engrave allows.
well after this long, long message, any suggestions would be appreciated!:slight_smile:

I’m a bit confused here, are you talking about the moulding toolpath on the right side or the 3d modeling tab on the left side of vcarve. I ask because if it’s a 3d model you can check “Project toolpath onto 3D model” on some toolpaths. If the shape you created is close enough to the real shape a vcarve could look good.

The other thing I just thought of is to set the tool pass depth to greater than cut depth so it only does one pass with the end mill.

Hi Micheal, thanks for the response…i guess i should proof read my post:) yes i meant i tried to replicate the staves in the modeling tab( on left), first problem with these staves is the curvature isnt perfect from the center down to the edge, so there is possibly some high or low spots that this model wouldnt be 100 percent accurate.

In that case your already using “Project toolpath onto 3D model” and I would try my second suggestion to set the pass depth to greater than the cut depth. You can do that in the tool database (permanent until changed) or with the ‘edit tool’ button in the toolpath dialog (not permanent, just for one toolpath).

Good luck and depending on how deep you are going in one pass you may need to slow the feed down to avoid breaking the bit especially with a small bit.

Edit. Depending on what you are carving, if I was using an end mill I would probably try the profile toolpath on the line or the pocket toolpath, both of which support projection onto 3D model.

And yeah, it’s kinda hard to model compound curves especially if they are all slightly different.

I’d be interested to see the results, whiskey barrels sound like a good thing to have access to if you can get it figured out.

@Bart Not to sound negative, but I believe you have a couple of problems. First, you cannot create a 3D model in Vcarve Desktop. When you look at the modelling options, they all assume that you have a 3D model already and want to do something with it. Second, since you don’t have a 3D model, the “project toolpath onto 3D model” has not effect.

You could possibly get around the first problem by using the moulding toolpath to create a duplicate of the barrel stave. That will not get you around the second problem, though.

I’m certainly open to being proven wrong here, so fire away. :grinning:

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I guess I missed that part, about not being able to create a model in desktop version, as Bart said he had already had a mock up. I forgot about it because I always use other programs to create my models. Just my opinion but I was not really impressed with the tools I have seen for modeling in Pro or Aspire. Maybe I’m just used the programs that I was already using to create models before I got into CNC.

Those are good points that you bring up G!

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hi, i did do a fairly close mick uo using clip art and 3 d tabs, could probably do more accurate on sketchup or something. i just wanted to see if it was actual achievable to carve on that arch, which i see it is. my problem is because of the slight variation of these barrel staves, vcarve ( with a vbit) wont work very well. i need to carve with some kind of flat depth bottom, that if my heights are off a bit it wont look bad.?! like the way quick engrave works, but being able to " project onto 3d" like vcarve has. Thankyou for getting back to me on this

@Bart Just out of curiosity, what are you trying to carve on them?

mostly just looking to do names, numbers,etc for now

I just ran across this grbl sender on github and it reminded me of your barrel staves problem. It has an auto-leveling feature that may help you with v-carving on the staves. You would have to wrap the stave with tin foil, or use some other method, to make it conductive for the probing. Then you need one probe wire connected to the tin foil and the other wire on the spindle.

My first probe block was homemade with a 3D printed block wrapped in tin foil so I know the foil method can work.