Stage Coach CNC Carving

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Project by Mark Smith posted 11-05-2012 05:04 AM 2463 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Stage Coach CNC Carving
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This is a carving made on my CNC machine. It is carved in Black Walnut and took the machine almost 5 hours to complete.

5 comments so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3409 days

#1 posted 11-05-2012 10:16 AM


Looks great! I’m looking forward to more projects you build using your CNC machine. Thanks for sharing. How about a blog post about your CNC router. How hard is it to program complex shapes and what software do you use for modeling and for operating the machine? Thanks in advance for any information.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3762 days

#2 posted 11-05-2012 01:21 PM

Really Cool Carvings.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2212 days

#3 posted 11-05-2012 04:27 PM

Hal, programing complex shapes is very complicated. I didn’t do the stage coach graphic, I bought that. But I’ve tried to make a 3d graphic out of a photo of my dog and it’s a very complex and time consuming process. That’s why there are people out there who do it for a living. It’s actually probably cheaper for me to send my photos to somebody who does it full time and have them make the 3d graphic than it is for me to do it myself.

The Software I used for making the carvings is Aspire. I also bought about $2k worth of graphic packages from them. You can use components from their graphic package to make your own custom scenes fairly easily. For example although this stage coach carving is one that they created, all of the individual items you see there are seperate files that are included on the disks I bought. So you can modify it and make your own scenes so they are custom.

What’s funny is I put this carving on Etsy and I did a search for Stagecoach carvings and I found they exact same identical carving on another person’s Etsy site. In this discription he claims it is a one of kind custom piece designed at his shop.

View PRGDesigns's profile


240 posts in 2485 days

#4 posted 11-05-2012 11:31 PM

What bit(s) did you use for the carving? What kind of feed rate were you using for each bit? Did you use the 3d machine relief setting to generate the g code? If so, what bit did you rough it out with? What would you different if you did it again? How warm did your spindle get? Thanks in advance for any consideration you can give this matter. Your fellow Arty 58 compatriot in TX.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2212 days

#5 posted 11-05-2012 11:47 PM

Humm, well I’m still learning to use my machine and I don’t know what the 3d machine relief setting is? The graphic was one I bought through the company that makes the Aspire software, and I used Aspire to generate the G-code. I used a 1/2” bit for the roughing pass, and then a 1/8” round nose for the finish pass. I used the default settings on the bits. The 1/8” bit has a 10% stepover which is .0125” and a feedrate of 50 IPM. So I left it at that. The 1/2” end mill has a 40% step over (.2”) and a 80 IPM feedrate. I also left that alone.

I didn’t touch the spindle so I don’t know how hot it got, but I have the water cooled one so I didn’t worry about it too much. On this there is really no way to speed up the process if you want the fine detail on the finished piece. Once I got the thing started I was able to caculate the finish time down almost to the minute which was more accurate than what the Mach 3 software showed. With the 10% stepover I knew that every 10 passes was 1/8” so it would take 80 passes per inch. I timed one pass and then multiplied that by 80 and then my how many more inches were left to carve and got a very accurate estimate on the time completion.

The only thing I would do different is now that I know how to estimate the time completion, I wouldn’t start one of these at 2pm. I wanted to go home at 5:30 but it didn’t finish until almost 7pm. The roughing pass was very fast, but the finish took forever. But other than walking over and looking at the machine every once in a while, there’s nothing you need to do to the machine while it’s working. Although the people at Legacy say they leave there’s alone to do the carving, I don’t feel comfortable enough to leave the shop with the machine running. In theory you could start the finish carving and go home and come back the next morning and it would all be done and waiting for you. That is assuming something didn’t go wrong and you didn’t burn your shop to the ground.

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