Cutting out designs

When cutting out a full design from stock, like Christmas tree ornaments, etc, I think tabs are the way to prevent them from coming loose and getting damaged. I haven’t seen discussion on that including how many, size and location. Do any of the apps have tab functions? Just got my woodworker and am welding up a cart/table. Anyone have suggestions or intel on this technique? Can’t wait to start cutting! Thx

A small tip. Something I’ve noticed in my carves (especially with thicker stock) is that with a square profile tab I get vertical lines on the edges when the router starts and stops forward movement at the edge of the tab. Fusion360 allows you to make triangular tabs which fixed this problem for me. YMMV with other software.

1 Like

VCarve lets you make 3D tabs that are little pyramidal shapes (^) - the bit ramps up and then back down so you don’t get the abrupt motion changes you get using standard square profiles.


There’s also,

  • Double sided tape
  • Single sided tape x2 with glue between
  • Hold downs of various varieties
  • Brad nails
  • Composite nails (like brad nails but made of plastic and require a special gun)

I plan/hope to use brad nails as much as possible, otherwise relying on double sided tape.

If it comes to machining tabs, I plan to use as few as possible (maybe 1 per 6").
But I really dislike the idea of tabs as it requires cleanup that ideally should be done by the CNC.

1 Like

Tab placement will depend on the shape of what you’re cutting out, and how big it is. You don’t need a lot of them - for most things I do one per side. I also keep a router table with a flush-cut bit handy when working with tabs - makes quick work out of trimming them.

1 Like

Jim - concur with the other comments here. The number and location is dependent on your design. I generally put tabs in locations with a lot of stress like rounded corners, holes, etc. Definitely recommend the triangluar tabs. For wood I generally recommend 0.25" width and 0.1-0.2" tall if you can. HDPE is more forgiving; acrylic is difficult like some brittle woods.

Hope this helps.