Recently, our hard-working Developers implemented some big changes to the way Easel generates toolpaths for your projects. These improvements are the result of working with some early testers and forum users, and we are very appreciative of their help!
Most of these changes took place behind the scenes, so you probably haven’t noticed anything different while using Easel. Still, these toolpath modifications make carving faster and more efficient, and we want you to know about them.
There are two big enhancements to toolpaths:
Better Safety Height Movement
Safety height is the height your spindle must raise so that it does not damage your material when moving between sections of your project. Previously, the default safety height was above your z-axis home location (aka, the top of your material). If you were carving through a thick piece of material, the spindle would raise itself completely above the surface of your material when cutting out tabs or moving to a different part of the job.
Now, your spindle will only raise the bit as much as necessary to clear parts of the project that are already carved. Easel accounts for what has been carved already, so it does not always need to raise to the full height of your material when moving from point A to B.
What does this mean for you? The most common scenario where you’ll see an improvement is carving tabs on your project. Rather than raise the bit all the way to the top of your material and back down again to carve out tabs, the z-axis only raises high enough to clear the tab before lowering back down to carve. This can reduce your overall carving time by as much as 30%!
Continuous Detail Pass for Two-Stage Carving
Two-stage carves allow you to use two different sized bits for your project. This is incredibly helpful if you want to remove a large amount of material with a larger bit (called the roughing pass) and then use a smaller bit for fine, intricate parts of the design (called the detail pass).
Psst: If you’ve struggled with selecting the right bit for a project, you might want to enable two-stage carves in Easel.
When we first released the two-stage cut feature in Easel, we had a lot of problems with “hunt and peck” toolpaths. In an effort to have as much of the project carved with the roughing pass as possible, many parts of the detail toolpath were broken into smaller segments. This resulted in a lot of raising and lowering of the z-axis in an attempt to hit all these small sections, instead of a continuous pass with the detail bit.
We’ve modified the way toolpaths are generated for two-stage cuts so the detail cut can make a continuous carve around the perimeter of all parts of your project. As mentioned above, minimizing the number of times the bit raises and lowers during the course of a carve will save you a significant amount of time. Perhaps more importantly, the edges of your projects will be cleaner and smoother, which means less finishing time after carving.
Here’s a good example showing how toolpaths have changed:
Notice how there are fewer neon green lines in the image on the right. This means the detail bit will not raise and lower as many times as it did in the image on the left. Reducing the number of times the bits raises and lowers is one of the best ways to save on overall carving time.
We’re always looking for feedback and improvement requests for Easel, and love hearing what customers think about using the app. Do you have something you’d like to see added to Easel? Please let our Developers know by sharing it on the forum! They check the forum often to learn more about what customers want to do with their machine and how we can help on your carving journey.