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View Full Version : Easiest way to carve wood letter blocks for kids?



adatesman
12-21-2012, 11:16 AM
Howdy Folks,

Got talking with my brother the other day and he's wanting to make his daughter a set of wood letter blocks. He's a bit leery of the time and difficulty of carving them by hand, so I suggested simply coming up to visit and banging them out on my CNC mill. Seemed easy enough to do, but I now realize that it involves modeling and creating toolpaths for a couple dozen shapes. I don't suppose anyone knows of an easier way to do it or if someone happened to have posted G-code for this sort of thing online somewhere?

Thanks!
-aric.

Davidhcnc
12-21-2012, 11:31 AM
Have you looked at http://www.deskam.com/deskengrave.html

...which may be of help to you.

V carve is another good one which gives very nice text but that costs a bit.

I could probably do 26 g codes in 1/2 an hour with the above software....if you need it (gcodes, not the software, sorry for the ambiguity) PM me. Do not delay, There are only three days to Christmas!

Weston Bye
12-21-2012, 11:33 AM
What kind of CAD software do you have? I think that with Vectric Cut2D (cheaper) or Pro V Carve (more expensive) you could knock out files in less than 10 or 15 minutes each, after the first one or two. Show your brother how, and then let him do it. Maybe he will spring for the hardware if you don't have it. Look at all the time he will save. Sure beats hand carving each letter.

ogre
12-21-2012, 02:05 PM
I dont have cnc equipment,so a wood router with a set of steel templates from Sears or somewhere to follow. You use a pattern bit and just trace against pattern.

browne92
12-21-2012, 03:19 PM
I have an inhouse app I wrote that I use with my cnc router. It takes a greyscale bmp file and turns it into G-code. But it only understands black and white. When it sees a black pixel, it plunges, a white pixel, it clears the cut. Anything in between is ignored. It's a bit rough around the edges, so I'm not sure it's good enough to pass around, but I could converts some files for you if you'd like.

LinuxCNC comes with something similar. It recognizes different shades of gray as different cutting depths. But man, is it slow!

Edit: BTW, my app only works in metric. I guess that DOES make a difference...:rolleyes:

Mike Burdick
12-21-2012, 03:36 PM
Sandblast them...

Purchase some sandblast letter stencils or make your own using rubberized material.

http://www.nationalstencil.com/rubber_sand_blast_stencil.html

Ron of Va
12-21-2012, 08:52 PM
If it was me, I would cheat. I would make a jig for a router that would cut recesses in wooden blocks, then cut the letters out with a scroll saw and glue them in place. :)

Dr Stan
12-21-2012, 10:38 PM
If it was me, I would cheat. I would make a jig for a router that would cut recesses in wooden blocks, then cut the letters out with a scroll saw and glue them in place. :)

I'd cheat too, only I'd find a local wood carver who makes them and buy a set especially this close to Christmas.

uncle pete
12-22-2012, 12:19 AM
Bahhh! Were all a bunch of slack jawed neanderthal wood butchers here, and it's far too late for that child. Any " good" woodworker would recommend you start out with with a preselected seed from a tested and certified parent tree, germinate that, plant on a gently sloping southern exposure hillside, fetilize, and water only with demineralised spring water to reduce the inclusions in the wood till the perfect maturity date determined after biological testing, and only then you should fall during the dead of winter to reduce the sap content, and if your just going to settle to do it the really easy way? Then find some good iron ore and some coking coal since your smelter and foot powered scroll saw along with the files to shape the saws parts are gonna take a little bit of time while that tree is air drying, better yet would be some good flint and hand chip some proper teeth down it's selected edge so you can really get to know the wood as you slowly ease out each quarter sawn piece of rough lumber. At no time shall power tools taint the woods perfection. Maybe that little girls great, great grandchildren will see those blocks, but work like this just can't be cheapened or rushed. To do otherwise isn't really woodworking now is it?

Or..................................... I'd buy an old school large scale stencil and wack the parts out with a variable speed scroll saw, a quick sanding and a dip in some fast as hell drying wonder finish, and then pray it's almost dry by Christmas morning. YMMV :D

Pete

RussZHC
12-22-2012, 02:32 AM
If you want raised letters, I just look to a local hobby store, probably have them already in various sizes and glue them onto blocks. If recessed, a simple jig and bit with a router should take care of it and still glue on said letters. Lee Valley has smallest size of 1/2" in height, $1.20 per, all letters and numbers, 6 sides per block...if we are talking the same sort of stacking block sets...

Just saying, time is fairly short...on the other hand, there are A LOT of CNC gantry style wood router tables out there...find a friend who has one.

+ or - Zero
12-22-2012, 02:47 AM
Don't make the blocks, just buy them at the toy store --make the nice wood box they fit in with her name on it in big raised letters (also bought at the hobby shop).

Simple really, and everyone is happy.

vpt
12-22-2012, 10:19 AM
Sandblast them...

Purchase some sandblast letter stencils or make your own using rubberized material.

http://www.nationalstencil.com/rubber_sand_blast_stencil.html


Thats what I was going to say.