Photo v carve success

Every pic I have done requires different settings and fiddling to get right… Pretty happy with these two.
I also have never got one to look good with a v bit. This was with a 1.5mm tapered ball nose.

Cherry with black onyx stain and shellac. Given the pups fir is read I figure it is pretty close :slight_smile:


Amazing, well done, im still waiting for my machine (May 2nd) but i think this software will be high up on the list once i get to grips with the basic operation of the machine

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Thanks. I wasn’t going to buy vcarve but decided I wanted to do a photo for my wife for her birthday. The shellac was drying as I brought them in to give to her because they were such a struggle to get right… I of course haven’t done any since December and forgot what I did to get the best results…

There is something special about the look of the photo when on wood - they look really great. I was looking up the Vectric software, and it looks like most have the photo carve feature which is great as I was eventually planning on investing in VCarve Pro.

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What software did you use for those amazing photo v carves?

Vcarve desktop. Bought it just for that functionality.


Here I had photo VCarve and didn’t know it. Going to give it a try. Thanks for the post.

BJ I am curious how you set up the tapered ball nose in the vectric tool database. I have fiddled with that once without much success on photocarve. Then I was lead to believe on a Vectric forum that the desktop version of vectric photo carve only supported vbit. I even sent a question to vectric and they responded vbit.


I setup the carve toolpath with a vbit but used the tapered ball

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So if I use a 1/16 radius tapered ball nose instead of a 60 degree vbit specified in the toolpath, I still set xyz like it is a 1/16 bit right?

I set up mine under ball nose in the Vetric tool database. There is a dropdown that lists tapered ball nose. Enter all the shank diameter, side angle, tip radius, and number of flutes.

@string11 yep… That is how I did it because the photo vcarve doesn’t allow the ball nose geometry. Essentially I ran about 12 tests with different settings and bits to get what I wanted. I have learned that photo vcarve is not a science but 200% art…

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Could I talk you into posting a pic of your toolpath set up? I am trying like the dickens to master this photo carve bitness with only fleeting success. I get what I think is going to be a good image, and then when I try to finish it I screw it up. I sand the wood and apply sanding sealer before I carve, then a couple of coats before I stain. I have used so many different stains playing I can’t count. then when I sand it just never turns out good. Oh I get a pic but not good. I mean what’s the of having an image on wood if the only claim is oh yeah I can tell that is an image on wood! Some of the ones that turned out were on cabinet grade plywood. The first veneer was cut into that let a the darker second veneer show through. I didn’t even stain just poly’d. I get scrap from a cabinet shop friend. I have tried red oak, white oak, birch, mahogony, maple, with all about the same results. I have tried raster, hatch, dense, sparse, .03-08, I have tried a butt load of settings, all with the same bottom line.

Sadly it isn’t that easy… Here is the process I went through with others I have done.

Hatch pattern
0.050 depth and 110 spacing
0.050 depth and 120 spacing
0.030 depth and 110 spacing
0.050 110 and 120 paths
0.030 110 spacing
0.025 100 and 110 spacing

I cut them all using a 60 deg v and again with a 1.5mm and again with a 0.5mm on separate stock for each bit. I shellaced before cuts and stained after… I sanded after dry. I also tried stain first then cut to expose lighter colors by the cut.

I spent a lot of time and process on each to get what I was going for and each required different settings.

The two above were with a 30 deg vbit and a 60 deg vbit but I think I still may have used a ball nose. Each tested also as a raster and a hatch
0.0312 depth 100 line spacing neg 45 angle

The other thing I leanrd along the way is a cmt vbit is not a 0 point so you lose detail and that may have also been part of my issue.

Sadly I cannot say there is a consistent or easy way to get the same or consistent results other than testing and trial and error.

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I finally got one I could live with. Used a 30 deg engraving vbit, .07 max depth, on maple.



Did you do multiple cut cycles for a single project or end up with a pretty solid group of settings? I would love to see your settings for the dog project. Would you mind sharing them? Love the hounds!

Haven’t done one in a while… Every time so far though I have done a mix of settings and pick the best. Using real wood vs a mdf or other more consistent substraight definitely plays into the look.

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I’ve tried using mdf five times with no success. I plan on using real wood or pvc in the near future.