KDG Shingle, First Project

Normally when we start a project and we’re working with something we aren’t familiar with, it is usually best to go with something as simple as possible to experiment with for the project. But, until you understand the software and at least some of the limitations of the software, it’s sort of hard to know what is simple and what isn’t.

With our level of CNC experience, it was best to work with something extremely simple. The first design for the KDG Shingle, even though it appeared to be very simple, was a bit more complex than it should be (at least for a first project).

Understanding the difference between cutting a pocket and a line, how to cut the line, how deep to cut a line or pocket, understanding the amount of time it takes to execute certain procedures, etc. all seems to come with experience. Another important part of this is understanding the relationship between the speed of the router and the type of bit being used for the router…this seems to be something that is really esoteric? We are still trying to get this whole thing into the realm of understanding on our end and haven’t had the experience yet to be able to definitively make any judgements about this.

So with that said, we jumped in to get our feet wet…

We are currently working with Illustrator and then generating an SVG file to import into Easel to generate the final gcode for our projects. The was the first form of the KDG Shingle:

KDG Shingle, First Version

This was going to take about 2-1/2 hours to cut. Even though this is pretty simple, we still wanted to simplify this even more and see what would happen time-wise:

…the cutting for both signs was now about 2 hours and 20 minutes and considerably simpler. We changed the design and also changed the depths for the various cuts.

We were now ready to generate the gcode file and then imported it into “Ground Control” for the Maslow. All went well for the first sign and then after getting into the second sign, there was some sort of a plunge depth error as the file was executing:

Plunge Depth Error for KDG Sign

…not having a lot of experience here, re-tried the same file to see if there was a general error in the sending of the information and this didn’t work. There may have been some sort of an error in the gcode(?)…tried going shallower than the original depth for the cut and it worked fine. Then, changed it to .12″ (instead of the .125″ that it was before) for a second pass to get it generally deep enough to match the other sign and this executed great. Depth was a bit different, but this had to do with the z-axis calibration (another post altogether) and for us was absolutely acceptable (for a personal project, not for a client!).

One of the major things we’ve grown to understand is that you have to keep an eye on your machine while it is working. Generally for errors like the one experienced here, but also for potential problems with fire, etc. This comes back to the router and the type of material and the speed of the bit…if the router is not set properly (even if it is) you should keep an eye on things while it is cutting.

Here is the final signage:

Note: If you noticed this, kudos because your a frickin’ branding god/goddess…we flopped the KDG logo to use it as an “arrow directional” for the signage. Ok, it doesn’t follow brand, but it worked out ok.


Sign specs:

Sign is:

  • Dimensions: 14″ x 10″
  • Two signs for east and west directions
  • Three color: black, gray, and red (hand painted)
  • Finish is semi-gloss exterior polyurethane, three coats
  • Backside is finished with an exterior latex of one coat…this is not meant to stay out all the time in weather and is meant to be brought in when not in use