V-carving is a cutting method that utilizes a V-bit to create designs with different widths. The shape of the V-shaped bit creates a narrower carving at the tip of the bit and wider at the bottom of the bit, as opposed to using a straight-cut bit, which consistently provides an even cut.
During operation, the V-bit gradually rises as it leaves the toolpath (as the z-axis moves in sync with the x- and y-axes), resulting in the tapered appearance that is completely unique to the V-shaped engraving. When cutting, you need to consider the angle and width of the V-shaped bit, as the steeper the angle, the deeper the cut, and the wider the bit, the wider the cut.
What are the advantages of V-carving?
In addition to helping create a more striking look on many sculpting projects, v-carving has many other benefits that can help improve the quality and efficiency of your work.
While a straight-cut bit can only engrave an area as wide as the diameter of the bit, V-shaped engraving offers a higher level of precision. Most v-bit tips have a cutting diameter of 0.001 inches, allowing you to cut almost any diameter - no matter how small.
A single V-bit can perform cuts of many different diameters, which means you can engrave multiple diameters without having to stop and change the bit. This, combined with the fact that v-carving does not require multiple passes, makes it an efficient process capable of accelerating production on projects of any size.
Durability is key to using CNC routers and CNC plasma cutters, as the long-lasting performance of a machine and its components can have a major impact on the quality of your work and your budget for repairs and replacement parts. V-shaped bits are known to be more durable than fragile engraving bits, allowing you to do better work for longer without worrying about being easily damaged or needing to be replaced.
Not only can V-carving perform cuts without pausing the machine, but it can also make cuts on almost any material that can be cut with a CNC router. Including metal, plastic, and foam, V-carving also looks great on natural materials like wood, and you can see the grain throughout the cutting process. Before starting a project, be sure to test your v-bit on any new material to see how deep you can cut in one go. This also helps to determine the proper feed rate before starting.
V-carving sounds great in theory, but you might wonder how easy it is to deploy it in your day-to-day CNC work. Thankfully, many of the industry's most popular CAD/CAM systems can easily perform V-carving, and in addition to hosting many different fonts and stroke widths, you can also create custom designs.