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CNC Guide

A guide to using the Shopbot CNC machine in MAKE ll at Library 21c

Working With Text

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VCarve has a variety of useful tools for creating text and curving it along a path. While not as powerful as graphic design suites like Adobe Illustrator, VCarve's text functions are easy to use for creating stylized text.

Clearance Tools

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For pocket toolpaths, using multiple tools can help clear out large sections of the pocket quickly while using smaller, slower, tools to clear out only the areas that cannot be reach with a larger tool.

Editing Objects

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While not as complex or as powerful as dedicated vector design software, VCarve contains many tools for creating and modifying basic shapes, text, and other other types of objects. Additionally, vectors created in other programs can be imported and adjusted in VCarve.

Node Editing

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Nodes (the individual vertices of an object) can be modified to alter a vector. This can be anything from minor adjustments in order to make lines parallel to radially altering and distorting letters.

Vectorizing Images

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VCarve can convert standard image files (such as PNGs and JPGs) into vector objects that can then be turned into toolpaths. Black and white images work the best, but color images can also be used.

Sides, Sheets, Layers, and Groups

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VCarve has multiple ways of organizing your project, including two-sided boards, multiple boards, layers, and grouping objects. Each method has different benefits as well as levels of complexity.

Adding Your Own Bits

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If you have your own bits that are compatible with a Shopbot CNC, you can add them to VCarve manually. You will need to have detailed information on the geometry of the bit(s) to be able to add them.