Wednesday, July 16, 2014

V carving with a Dremel 125 bit

a Dremel 125 bit
I recently purchased and assembled a Shapeoko 2 kit from Inventables and my wife asked me to help her etch text into a plaque for her boss as a going away present.  Well, the easiest way to do text is V-carving, and V-carving requires V-bits.

Here's the problem: traditional V-bits all have 1/4" shafts which don't fit into the rotary tool (a Chinese made Dremel knock-off) that comes standard in the Shapeoko 2 kit.

I was in my local big box hardware store and happened to see a cone-shaped carving bit, the Dremel 125.  You get two in a package for $9.50, that's about a third of the cost of a traditional V-bit, so maybe this lets us do V-carving on the cheap!

The first thing to do is take some measurements. I found the largest diameter of the bit is 0.24" and the height of the cone is 0.38" which means it's a cone with an opening angle of 35.05 degrees.

I put that angle into F-Carve, and viola! V-carving on the cheap. You can see results after the jump:

a little messy, but it's v-carved!

After initial testing I found that it's not the cleanest cut - I'm not sure if that's to be expected or if I can do something to improve the quality.

Update: I tightened up the Shapeoko, removing slop from the belts and sped up the spindle to ease cutting through the wood and the results of these few tweaks are surprisingly good! The cuts are clean and the letters are very crisp. 
After tightening belts: nice and crisp and clean!