I have been playing around with relief carving for about a month now, posted some pics and tips in an earlier post. Since then, I have investigated Solid Modelers (Blender, GMax, Silo, AC3D, etc). They all do a job, but not the job I want to do. This morning I loaded some deSign clipart (thanks to whoever it was that posted on here about them, really good stuff), did a few things over in Corel PhotoPaint, popped the image into PVC, and well, here are the results:
If you want to try this method, here are a few tips:
1) Learn how to use the mask function in your paint program, very important.
2) Use your paint program in 256 shades of gray mode.
3) You can vary heights by painting various shades of gray (this is where being able to use the Mask function come in REAL handy)
4) Set your stepover in PVC to about .01 if you are using a .125 ball end mill.
THIS is exactly what I wanted to be able to do easily. Thanks to the Vectric team, I can do it! The total time to create this was about 30 minutes, with three hours of cutting (I was running at 60 IPM)
Oh, if you are "ramping" in to depth, there is no need for multiple passes, since the cutter only takes .010 per pass anyhow.
Low Profile CNC Router Vise