Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

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Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:15 pm

Hi Everyone.

I'm a new user and I currently own VCarvePro, PhotoVCarve, and Cut3D. I am making some small Christmas stuff and I have become infatuated with cutting into acrylic and making edge lit items. It is really a lot of fun experimenting and learning about it all. I really mean "all" because I've never even cut very much wood either. I am doing this on my converted Taig 3axis mill, so you can imagine the small envelope I am working with. A bigger machine someday will be nice!
Anyway, I have run across something I can't get figured out. I want to cut a small version of the "last supper" art into acrylic. I just ran my first 3D art on 3D Machinist and I think my machine will do an acceptable job. However, I haven't figured out how to "reverse" cut the art into the acrylic. I know there must be a way because I see examples of it being done on this forum I think. I know I have a huge amount to learn, but there is something different between 3D art and regular line art because line art automatically cuts into the acrylic, so all I have to do ist mirror the image and it is done. I don't seem to be able to find a way to "mirror" the 3D art so I can cut it into the acrylic. For some reason I thought I might be able to do it in Cut3D? I have been thru the tutorials and maybe I just didn't recognize the procedure; I have been crash coursing for 3 weeks now!
Any help, pointers, or advise would be much appreciated.

Lynn
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Xxray » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:56 pm

There are some threads concerning edge lit signs you may want to browse over, including this one
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=8645, which has a last supper acrylic design.

I think you are setting yourself a very hard task trying such an intricate design in acrylic so soon, it is a challenge doing it in wood.
I'd recommend starting off a bit simpler, and working your way up to something like the last supper.
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:56 am

Xxray wrote:There are some threads concerning edge lit signs you may want to browse over, including this one
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=8645, which has a last supper acrylic design.

I think you are setting yourself a very hard task trying such an intricate design in acrylic so soon, it is a challenge doing it in wood.
I'd recommend starting off a bit simpler, and working your way up to something like the last supper.


That is one of the threads that got me interested in trying edge lit designs. I also read the description of how the design was accomplished, but I believe it was in Aspire. I was hoping one of the other programs that I've purchased would allow me to accomplish this.
Being new to all this, is there something I'm not getting about how "hard" this is, either for the machine, software, or my experience? I have already made 4 simple panels where I cut the acrylic, oak, and walnut parts, plus all the machine work for fitting the LEDs, cable, and connectors into the base. Today I finished cutting a lithophane in a 2" round cylinder that came out fairly nice and I would think some aspects of that would be harder than what I want to do with the acrylic panel work. At least, it took a lot longer for me to design and cut the lithophane as a project than anything I've done so far.
Judging by the amount of hits on this topic, I'm not the only one interested in doing this.
Last nite, I almost got PhotoVCarve to produce something I could use, except the nature of the program seems to want to cut the complete planar surface, whether there is any feature there or not. I could not figure out how to stop that, but I might have given up too soon. Plus, I realize I was using the program to do something it wasn't intended to do, so how good could it be at it? But I wanted to try because I've seen that type of thing happen on these forums as well.
It might all come down to spending more money, in which case I don't have anymore to spend right now. That would be about par for my course!
Thanks for the post.

Lynn
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Mike-S » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:02 am

the program seems to want to cut the complete planar surface, whether there is any feature there or not.

Try putting a vector around the outside of the place you want to carve. Have that vector highlighted when you create the tool path. This will exclude the tool path from the outside flat areas.
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:38 pm

Mike-S wrote:Try putting a vector around the outside of the place you want to carve. Have that vector highlighted when you create the tool path. This will exclude the tool path from the outside flat areas.


I don't see a way to do that in PhotoVCarve. I see where I can do that in VCarvePro, but then then I can't "invert" light and dark areas like I can in PVC. The "invert" process is what sets up to carve the graphic "into" the material, instead of "out of" the material. I know that just doesn't make a lot of sense to illustrate it that way, but I hope you know what I mean.
Thanks for the post.

Lynn
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby BDM » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:26 pm

Have you removed the background (make color transparent) in your photo? Otherwise PVC will cut the entire rectangle instead of your subject. I haven't had any trouble doing what you're doing as long as I select my subject instead of the whole photo.
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby BrianM » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:55 pm

Hi Lynn,

I'm afraid you won't be able to reverse the model with Cut3D, you would need Aspire to do this.

Brian.
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby dangre » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:56 pm

Please take my advice with a grain of salt as i haven't done any lithopanes myself but, could you not reverse your image before importing into PVC. You could also reverse the axis in your controller software...
-Dan
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby gravirozo » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:02 pm

Lynn


greeting on this great forum... another member, greaseatatto also have small mill like you using..

hope you can make enough stuff for christmas, so you can surprize yourself with aspire..

for modeling organic, and artistic stuff, aspire really need... also gives a lot more freedom for establish your projects...

for this acrylic stuff you have some thin line to solve it...

look at for this topic on this forum

viewtopic.php?p=42038#p42038

=======================================================
first go to on your computer to this directory...

C:\Program Files\Cut3D\PostP

find your post processor you using...

open in notepad...

save under a different name that you remember later

on the screenshot you can see, need to modify..

for title write a name you can remember
in postprocessorguide you can see output can be change from positive values to negative

please note, you will see change after restart 3dcut...
also save postprocessor on different name as the original... anyway, save original if something going wrong

but i think, this is so minor modification, that you couldnt mistake..

the characters to inserting, before the square mark, on the end of the line |-1.0

==================================================================
if you were unsure, look at for some cnc nerd around you..

also some tip, of corian, you can cut some molds for cookiestamps, like michael tyler made free vectric project..
recently i modeled a companylogo, and for christmas they will make cookies with, and some chocolate too.. giving employees on christmas..

so you can get busy with your machine... despite it small size..


be careful, and double check before start machine..

viktor

edit
i just read dangres post... that also relatively simple, however for that need to reverse the homeposition values...
Attachments
postprocessor.JPG
preview.JPG
saving toolpath.JPG
with original  pp.JPG
with modified pp.JPG
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:03 am

BDM wrote:Have you removed the background (make color transparent) in your photo? Otherwise PVC will cut the entire rectangle instead of your subject. I haven't had any trouble doing what you're doing as long as I select my subject instead of the whole photo.


I have not done that, but I will try. The background is black, and I mistakenly thought that would not play into the calculation. Just now prepping as you advise looks right on the screen; I will toolpath it and cut a trial and see.
Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:04 am

BrianM wrote:Hi Lynn,

I'm afraid you won't be able to reverse the model with Cut3D, you would need Aspire to do this.

Brian.


Ah, the story of my life! :roll:

Thanks,

Lynn
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:21 am

dangre wrote:Please take my advice with a grain of salt as i haven't done any lithopanes myself but, could you not reverse your image before importing into PVC. You could also reverse the axis in your controller software...


Yes, you could reverse the image if you had a bigger brain that I. Believe me, I've tried that but I don't know how to do that on Win7 programs. I had to upgrade my pc recently, from a 8 yr old "fit-me-like-a-glove" pc and none of my old programs work now. So, I'm trying to learn some new things, but it is going slow. It has been a long time since I was a whiz with graphics anyhow (circa 1986-1994 I was fairly involved).
Reversing the axis, well, I'd have to look into what that would entail. This is getting complicated...................... :?
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby Lynn Livingston » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:43 am

[quote="gravirozo"]Lynn


greeting on this great forum...
<snip>
for this acrylic stuff you have some thin line to solve it...

look at for this topic on this forum

viewtopic.php?p=42038#p42038
<snip>

Wow Viktor,

Man you really went all out, and i appreciate the heck out of it!
While I really was hoping that some of my new 3 Vectric programs would handle what seems to me such an easy task, I'm starting to see that they just won't cut it (pun intended).
But, I do see what you are describing. It is basically a way to mirror the output from positive "z" values to negative "z" values right? At first glance it seems like something that would work, but I'd be at least a little bit skeptical if there wasn't some "gotchas" in there somewhere. It's just too easy, right? :wink:
Well, I used to tweak the post processor on TurboCNC quite a bit, so I guess I could give this a try. Maybe. Maybe I'll just forget about this type of work until I get a program that will do it. I've been meaning to try CNCToolkit with 3DMax, so now might be the time to try.
Thank you Viktor for such an grand effort.
Take care,

Lynn
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby gravirozo » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:43 am

lynn

im glad if it is helps you out...
yes, cnc simple and easy... after some practice...
turbocnc a very great program...
i used it... it has no continous velocity, but turbocnc run on the most basic computer... i believe even a at286 could drive it...
while mach and other modern controler need a strong computer..

lynn, those 3 vectric programs can do a lot more than vectric promoted... but... after several discussion, i have to admit what tony, (Tony Mac) said me...

vectric programs are targeting the new users... hobbyist, that they never used before router, or even knows nothing before about cnc...
editing postprocessor is not supported officially, because it would take too much time from other more important things... but guide is there so everyone can make their own experiment..

i think vectric made a very great work..

the reason i answered for your post, because i was exactly same shoe
i had ideas but has no sources to improve them... also i know if you get deeper in this fever, youll be a customer for present and future vectric works...


christmas is close, and it can be a great opportunity for you...
just some ideas... have you thinking on carving on candle? would be a nice addition on christmas table...

and many other like ornaments... fit for your machine size..

best regard
viktor
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Re: Cutting 3D Art Into Acrylic

Postby dangre » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:11 pm

Lynn,
If you have a simple photo viewer/editor (I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for simple stuff) pick 'edit picture' and you have the option to 'rotate/flip'.
Or, in your TurboCNC settings, change the X axis direction. If normally +X goes from left to right, change it to go right to left. Your datum 0,0 will now be in the SE corner instead of the usual SW corner. This will allow you to cut the reverse direction on the back of your lithopane so it looks correct on the front side. Just make sure you change your axis back to normal when you are done! :shock:
The direction of cut (Z axis, whether in or out of your stock) can be done using PVC. I would not suggest changing the Z axis direction in TurboCNC, that would mess up safe Z, and other functions.
I would vote for flipping the photo first, much simpler to do.
-Dan
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