Cutting the inlay plug (a.k.a male) for tapered inlays using the Paul Zank method can be a challenge for lesser powered CNC machines. The method sets the starting depth of a "V-Carve / Engraving" (V-Carve) toolpath equal to the thickness of material to inlay into a base socket (a.k.a. female). This combined with the step down for carving v-bit or the area clearance square-end cutter could mean an initial cut that well exceeds the capabilities of the machine's router / spindle.I have wanted to make some inlays with my ShopBot but ... the resulting inlay would have rounded edges.
I remembered that people who do intarsia will often angle their blade and rotate the piece as they cut to make up for the thickness of the blade. The resulting pieces fit perfectly even though they fit on a bevel. Could one achieve a similar effect using v-bits? — Paul Zank (b. 1948– d. 2019) and Damian Durrant. "Procedure for designing and machining v-inlay projects", 2006. (A simple way to make inlays viewtopic.php?p=4146)
This limitation might prevent people with such machines from realizing a tapered inlay project.
A method to overcome the depth problem is to create a number of "roughing" V-Carve paths to remove the material above the inlay starting depth. For example if the amount of material to inlay into the base is 0.25 inches and the stepdown for the bits is 0.0625" then four roughing toolpaths would be needed. Creating those toolpaths manually for each inlay project can be a burden.
This gadget automatically creates those "roughing" toolpaths. It also creates the "finish" tapered inlay 'V-Carve /Engraving' toolpath.
This gadget works in Aspire and VCarve Pro version 9 to 11.
I have not tried it in version 10.x but as that version uses the same toolpath selection as v11.x it should work. I have also not tested it in version less than v9.x but I suspect it might work. Choose a tool and if you get no errors it should work.
Because the forum software doesn't allow attachments with ".vgadget" extension the file is uploaded as "Tapered_Inlay v1_0.zip" rename this to "Tapered_Inlay v1_0.vgadget" before installing.
To use this gadget just follow these simple steps:
- Select your inlay plug's closed vectors
- Go to "Gadgets" on the toolbar and select the "Tapered Inlay" Gadget
- With the Gadget running you will have the following options
- Material to inlay into Base: thickness of the material inlaid into the base socket
- Air gap between Inlay and Base: prevents inlay plug and inlay base being glued together. Also used as space to slip a bandsaw blade between to separate to inlay plug waste from the inlay
Select V-Bit Tool: angled tool for the "V-Carve / Engraving Toolpath". You must use the same angle as for the base socket.
Select End Mill Tool: Select either an End Mill to clear large flat areas
- Click "OK" to use the specified options and the Gadget will now create your toolpath(s)