Software for cavities


I have a 6 drawer chest of antique tools (c. 1875) for which I want to make custom inlay recesses for each tool. The 15.5" x 15.5" drawer bottoms would be made of 3/4” mahogany to match its accompanying lathe (which has a 4” thick mahogany frame).

The average volume of each tool is 6”x 2” x 1”, with assorted irregular shapes, probably 8 or so tools to the drawer. How do I make the cavities? Does the V-Carve Pro have the ability to “read” the bottom nearly 3/4 inches of the tools or would I have to make an epoxy/polyurethane half mold for the software to work with? Or, is there some other method to make the cavities? You would think this would be a familiar task for the V-Carve Pro.

Dick Miller

Yes V-Carve Pro can do this it is call a pocket. Mark Lindsay CNC has some incredible tutorials for V-Carve Pro here is one for the pockets Project Design and Pocket Toolpath - Part 3 - Vectric For Absolute Beginners

Whoa, there, not so fast. Sure, pockets are easy but consider my situation: I can’t use clip art because these are many unique shapes. I could possibly use PhotoCarve, but these tools are a monochrome brass color - no lines or contrast in the photo I would take plus a reflection problem. Any other suggestions, or am I off the mark?

Hi Richard I do not use VCarve, im a Solidworks user. What ive done in the past for this sort of thing is to take a photo of layout directly overhead. Put a ruler along the X axis and a ruler along the Y axis in the photo. Import this to your software and scale that image until it matches the marks on your ruler.

From there trace the outline of the tool, add offset if needed or finger holes. Do a sample run on MDF to test your fit.

Thanx for the suggestions. Questions: I understand taking the photo, then draw lines for x & y axis, but how do you then get or show the depth of the item keeping in mind the photo of the item has no lines as in a face portrait. The items are a monochrome brass color with the additional handicap of being shiny.
Also, I looked at the Solidworks web page but could not determine the price of the software. Is it specifically for designers and how does it compare with Vetrix or PhotoVetrix? Thanx again. Dick Miller

Hey Richard, Solidworks is a professional software I use for my day job. The free comparible version would be Fusion 360. You do not want to be stuck paying for solidworks.

It would be a multistep process, you need to physically measure the depth of your items and then when you drawn them just make the depth equal to the depth you measured.

Thanks. Many of the items I am trying to make cavities for are rounded making it almost impossible to take physical measurements for the various depths. This is a real headache of a conundrum.

I think the easiest would just make a flat bottom and call it a day.

Sounds almost like surface mapping but in the negative direction.

So you have some tools. They are round for the most part along
their length but vary in diameter.

You have not told us what these tools are. Maybe a photo or two
of the tools you want to make fitted pockets for would help others
suggest a way to achieve your goal.

Are you looking to do something like this which was first created in SketchUp and saved as a .SKP file. This example is just a simple pocket with a rounded bottom but it could have been stepped to different depths and diameters or tapered along it’s length. But since I have no idea what this tool looks like let’s start with this.

Then imported into V-Carve Pro
[ File -->> Import -->> Import Component/3D Model ]

Don’t ask me how to create the toolpath. I’m too green at V-Carve to figure that out but I am sure someone here can.

1 Like