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Monday, September 25, 2023
HomeCNC Wood Cutting Machine3-sided rotary CNC routing with the Shapeoko - Carving a Koi fish

3-sided rotary CNC routing with the Shapeoko – Carving a Koi fish


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By Dennis Van Hoof, from Top o’ Arts (topoarts.com).

This video shows modifications to the Shapeoko XXL CNC frame and bed to accommodate a manual rotary setup that allows for multi-sided 3D carving of objects (along a B-axis) that are too big to fit underneath the X-gantry rail.

To show proof of concept, I carved a Koi fish from a solid stack of plywood with 3-sided CNC routing.

Software used:
– Meshmixer to create the 3D Koi fish
– Vectric VCarve to generate the tool paths
– UGS Platform to send the Gcode to the CNC

Materials used:
– Everbilt 1 inch square tubes with 5/16″ holes spaced 1″ apart
– 1/4″ steel triangular plates
– 3/8″ bolts (the 5/16″ holes were widened with the drill press)
– 18 mm (3/4″) Sande plywood: 4 sheets of 600×600 mm (4’x4′)
– Surfacing bit to flatten and pocket the stock: WhiteSide #1027A
– Extra long roughing bit: Amana Tool end mill #46590
– Extra long finishing bit: Amana Tool ball nose #46490

Referenced video of female torso: “CNC carving a female torso out of plywood”

Music: Lumidelic – Wonderland



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  1. As someone who does this thing by hand, this is not art. Art is something you should suffer for, something you should throw your soul into, even with all the mistakes. Before anyone gets shitty, I'm NOT saying this doesn't take skill, but it is NOT art.

  2. Interesting solutions. I suppose fabricating a manual rotantion method is less expensive than buying one. I prefer automation. I also cut an insertion point for my 4th axis. I can mill larger pieces that way.

  3. Dennis, you’re the baddest CNCer!! Just awesome work! Thank you for sharing your detailed insights on various challenges and possible solutions. Your videos are consistent in your approaches to challenges.

  4. Nice job, but …
    4th axis is probably better.
    Moreover, I spent how much effort to create this device and how many inconveniences when working in comparison with the 4th axis.
    A little effort and money – and I would get a big saving of time for the future, and time is money.
    I'm sorry for my bad english.

  5. So I have a home made cnc, 18 inches on the zaxis. But to do deep work I use 8mm end mills. I can get them up to 150mm. Elair makes custom collets and there collet allow me to put 8mm tools in a .25 inch router.
    If you can't do it right, cheat. Right?
    Anyway, this video was very informative, and should help me get away from deep carvings (150mm is scary at 30k rpm. Even though it doesn't vibrate)

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