Toolpath to surface above Material Surface

So I’m just wondering if someone might have a better way of approaching this issue. When doing V-Carve Inlays with wood in most cases you can create a gap and just use a bandsaw to cut away the excess plug, and sand out the rest. Though with Epoxy and some V-Carves, Just using a surfacing bit and bringing it to the level of the Material surface is the better option.

I am wondering how other people are going about it? I have just been creating gcode to surface the entire board in .001 or .01 increments, re zeroing height and repeat and it gets old. In a couple cases I used exact measurement bars, set the probe block on top of it and then created the gcode to surface a little shy of the measurement, but I swear there has got to be an easier method to go about this with better results that I just haven’t figured out.

Any ideas? Anyone doing this differently? Would love to hear how others approach this issue.

Create your pocket toolpath for the size of the material, set zero on the top of the epoxy or etc. and run it, lowering your cut depth as you go. Or have a piece of the material you started with (unused) set z off that and go for it in 1 pass. If your plug is .250 above the main surface, make 1 pass @ .200 and final @ .050. For your plug make an offset outwards .500 that way you don’t have to machine (air cut) the whole surface till you get to the raised portion. Way to many options for this process, I usually write down my offset so I know what the original Z height is and clear it off in 2 passes for epoxy. Hope these 3 options help :slight_smile:


How about creating a surfacing program with many shallow passes? In the G-Code, insert an “M0” between the passes to pause the program. When you’re happy, stop the program and remove the piece?


Ok So I guess maybe I should have explained that differently, I guess What i was stating is if you zero off a Gauge block, or the surface of the (Plug/epoxy), run the pocket tool path, you now need to setup the probe block again, re probe for Z, send the machine back to origin and run the program again which becomes really redundant and time consuming, I was hoping that after the pass was done maybe there was a way to quickly lower the Z from its Zeroed position down say .02" with gcode or something and then run the program again without fiddling with the reprobing.

Please elaborate on this if you don’t mind :slight_smile:

Are you Saying that Number Right there? What exactly does that Number refer too?

That is actually a really great idea, the only thing is I guess I really need to look into reading and understanding that Gcode so I can insert those pauses in between, as Vectric does not have an option to add them between the passes but man would that speed up the entire process!

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Basically after you pour and dry, it should be close to flat (self leveling) set your tool setter on top and set Z. With your pocket pass cut -.010 off the top, you can remember your old original z or just keep going down till you get full clean up. your circle in red is your original I assume, what ever your new z is you can subtract that to get you close to final size. so -5.063 and then you have your pour which ends up -5.043— .020 higher than original so -.020 would get you back to the original z of 5.063. If you have a mobile tool block just using it a reference will give you a “close enough” to get to clean up.

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Only have to set Z once (off top of epoxy) and then lower passes to get clean up.

@760woodworking Thanks for the Explanation, I will spend some time re reading that but I think I’m getting the gist of it. I was finishing up an Epoxy thing and I used SailorMike’s suggestion in putting in the pauses, I looked at the gcode and quickly figured out where to insert the M0 breaks and it worked excellent! Though I want to learn all the things about it as i figure it will give me a more precise grasp on things in future projects.

I used that method on this simple little gift card box I built for a friend who is obsessed with Starbucks coffee

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