Panel Engraving

CamBam Panel
Panel on Table
Panel Cleaned

I made a new panel for my workbench. 4×8 inches. came out perfect.

Designed in CamBam 0.9.8.

HOWEVER – the real challenge is figuring out how to clamp the damn piece down so it isn’t deformed and doesn’t move during machining. I had a little movement, but I was able to stop the process and re-clamp.

In addition to clamping, you’ve got to take time
to ensure the panel is flat relative to the tool, especially with engraving.

It came out very well, I am pleased.





Heightmap Engraving

I am in the process of making a plastic extrusion head so I can try 3D printing on my DIY CNC mill.

While that’s in the works, I thought I’d give engraving a try. CamBam has a ‘heightmap’ feature which will map grey values into the Z axis.I started with a photo of my friends hot rod Beetle.


Original Photo

First I needed to crop out all the background junk and crop to include just the bug.Then covert to monochrome and mirror it. Since this will be viewed from the ‘unmilled’ side, reversing the image is necessary.

vw 1 no background B&W Mirror

B&W image, reversed, background cropped

CamBam converted the different grey values into different depths.


Heightmap image in CamBam

LinuxCNC in the process of milling the lexan.


Milling in progress – LinuxCNC screen

The aftermath.I used a 60 degree double-flute V bit that I normally use for isolation routing PC boards, probably not ideal for this task, but it is a proof-of-concept only, so who cares!?!


Milling completed

I was so blown away by the results of my first attempt, that I decided to keep it. I will actually give it to the owner of the bug.On a simple Beech (Birch?) stand. Size is about 4×6 inches.


Mounted on wood stand

Here is the finished engraving, lit from underneath with three red LEDs.  I did put a thin stripe of white lexan along the bottom to help diffuse the LEDs, and it did help, but I think it needed to be thicker.


With red LED underlighting turned on