I am making some small plaques that are 12 inches wide and 8 inches high and 1/2 inch thick. I want to use a script like font but many of the lower case letters like a or e carve out and look like an o. I'm using V-Carve Dexktop 8.5 and a Shapeoko 3 XXL CNC with a 1/32nd ball nose mill. Even on large plaques certain letters do not carve well. It's very possible I'm trying to cut the letters too deep. I'm not using the vcarve option, I'm using profile and have tried outside right, inside left and no offset without any luck.
In your experience what are the best fonts for small and large signs/plaques??
In my limited experience with quite a few plaques I have found that single line fonts with the quick engrave toolpath work out quite well. I also use the vcarve option quite a bit but in those instances I use the true type script fonts. I generally do not have to set a height as the vbit regulates the height via the vector width. I always go in and clean up the font vectors to get rid of any overlaps. I will also mess with the individual letter spacing until the lettering looks correct to my eye.
Overall best advice is to try several different methods on scrap material. It will come around quickly for you.
Unless you're trying for a specific look I've had better luck with a vbit and using the V-Carve toolpath.
What material are you trying to cut?
Make sure you're using a very very sharp bit, that will help prevent tear out of the centers of e and a.
Another trick that helps with small fonts is to finish the plaque first and spray on several coats of lacquer or shellac then cut your letters. The finish with help strengthen the wood and help prevent tear out. Once you finish carving the letters apply additional coats of sealer then finish the letters with paint or stain. The sealer in the grooves of the letters with help prevent bleeding of the finish. Then finally apply several more coats of sealer to finish.
Hopefully Scott with chime in, he's the man when it comes to carving small letters.
You didn't state font height, so I may be going overboard, but just playing with .15-.2" fonts. I'd use a 30 degree vbit for the .15" font (I prefer engraving bits, and running the toolpath twice). Finishing a perfectly flat blank before is critical for Teeny stuff, as sanding(except with 400-600G) will lose some details. Kind of in a rush to complete a memorial plaque right now, But for a single line font and a Truetype this .crv should get you started. I prefer an Onsrud spade type engraving bit with a .005"flat, but Drillman1's Kyocera .125" 30degree standard flat works well too and is less painful to retire when bit gets dull enough to affect quality of cut. Highpockets had very good points. For tiniest legible font, I prefer Franklin Gothic Demi with the bold option checked with a 30 degree. Vladimir Script works well down to .15" font height with a 30, and 45 and 60's for .2" and up. Gotta run and finish finishing:) scott
Something that no one has mentioned yet is that the text doesn't have to be all the same size, often with script fonts the capital letters are very large making the lower case letters that much smaller. It's a bit of messing about but you can easily convert the text to curves & then leaving the capital letters at the set height just increase the height of the rest slightly, make it to much bigger & you will notice the difference in the stroke width but you may be surprised just how much difference a small change like this can make overall