VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database

What’s a tooling database ?

VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database is our topic today. So what is a tooling database anyways ? What’s its purpose ?  How does it help me in my cnc career field. Is it difficult to comprehend and understand in cnc software. These where a few of the questions I had when looking into this deeper. This isn’t an inexpensive undertaking and I wanted to be sure I could handle the learning curve associated with it. I can’t personally speak for any other cnc software. Vcarve Pro is what my shop programs with. This is the software we’ll be discussing.

 VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database

Vcarve Pro makes adding, copying and editing your tooling database a snap. The user interface isn’t difficult and the entire database can be imported or exported. Let’s break down the U.I. for a more simpler to understand definitions. The console is easy to get to and can be found in 2 locations.

User-Interface-Tool-base-locations - Copy

The upper left hand corner of Vcarve Pro shows your menu tabs. The tool paths tab opens up a drop down menu. You’ll find a tool data base icon there. The second location is on your tool paths bar on the far right. It’s displayed as a cluster of tools.

Interface Specifics

Tool-ListLet’s start with the specifics. When the tool data base is open you’ll see on the left hand side of the screen a tool list. It measures in Imperial (Inches) Metric (Millimeter) measurements. Each lists the most utilized mills.They are listed as appears below.  In each group multiple tools are added pertaining to its specific type. Have a mill that doesn’t meet the specific parameters and you have a specialty group to assign it to. This is functional hands on full control software.

  • End Mills
  • Ball Nose
  • V-Bits
  • Form Tools
  • Engraving
  • Specialist
  • Drills

Tool Info

tool-info VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database is simple with the tool info interface. We’ll start with the tools name. Not only can it be assigned the name End Mill but a notation on its size is added for quick reference. You can also assign a job name or PO number here as well. Tool type is our next item and it’s self explanatory. The drop down menu allows you to assign the correct tool type. Notes, gives you a special location to add a comment about the specific tool or job. Geometry sets the size of the mills shank and determines which collet you’ll use. Set your units as per your country,inches or millimeters.

Cutting Parameters

has 2 functions, pass depth and step over. Pass depth is the maximum cutting depth you allow any mill to cut per your pass depth setting. No matter how deep you wish to pocket something out it won’t go beyond this setting per pass. Stepover is the percentage of each consecutive pass. Doing your spoiler board ? Then this setting is what tells the machine how far over to move the bit. I try to never stepover with more then 50% of the bit.

Feed & Speeds

 This one of the most important settings there is. This setting if done correctly increases tooling life and give a cleaner finish. Set wrong and tooling life is reduced, reduced quality during the carving process and cost you money. Now not all machines have controllers that work with routers. I’m in that personal situation. My spindle speed is controlled at the router and not the PC. My feed rate is the speed at which I run the bit through the material. This is controlled in this setting. The plunge rate is the speed at which the bit is sent into the material. This speed is measured in either mm, inches or feet. Travel distance is measured by seconds or minutes.

Tool Number

The tool number is the number assigned when you have an automatic tool changer. The smaller hobbyist machines won’t have this option. This function is reserved for the larger industrial machines that run production and require minimum interaction.

Adding tooling Simple Method

Vcarve-Pro-Tooling-User-InterfaceIn VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database is done in one of three ways. These 3 ways are the ones I know best for Vcarve Pro. These are merely my interpretations of what I’ve learned with this software. The easiest way I know of is to copy an existing tool and change its parameters. Re-assign it the new information and save it. For example, make a copy of a .250″ end mill and change it to a .125″ and click apply.

Adding new tooling Step # 2

This step requires more work on your behalf but isn’t difficult. We’ll walk you through building a simple forming tool. Create a new job in Vcarve Pro. I’ll design my job size 2″ X 2″, this isn’t that important for this example. I’m going to enter the information for a round nose router bit. This bit will be for flutes. A profile is created by the information from the bit.


This bit has a shank of 1/2″, 5/8″ cutting diameter, cutting depth of 5/8″ . Lets start there and create a vector for Vcarve Pro software to read. Create a circle and set its diameter to 5/8″ or .625″. Go to Edit objects and click node editing. Right click the top and left node, then delete point. Highlight the circles top line, right click delete span. The only thing left is to highlight your vector, go into your tooling database add new. Place it under a forming tool and rename it as you see fit. This is just a simple example, the last one requires more information.

Adding new tooling Step # 3

VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database step 3 requires the same as example as step #2 but with more information. The new router bit you’re looking to enter into your forming tool data base is very involved. We’ll use an Ogee bit with a 1/2″ shank for this example. The easiest way to enter this information is when the manufacturer already has your bits profile. The profile is in .DXF, so just import the vector and add the new tool.

What happens when we don’t have this information ? A model needs to be constructed and built from scratch. With measuring calibers it can be worked until you get it as close as humanly possible. Lets start with the tools overall diameter, then it’s height. This is the basics for starting our model. Again I’ll use a 2″ X 2″ job size for the example.

This tool has an outside diameter of .750″ with a height of a .500″. The bit style I’m using is a plunge bit and not a bit with a wheel on the bottom of it. The bottom of the mill has a cutting diameter of .256″ where it has a .125″ side before a dual radius. The remaining wall height allows for a cutting depth of .500″. Lets go into greater detail on how we configure this bit.

Troubleshooting & Solutions

VCarve Pro Adding New Tooling To database is done in one or more ways. I’ve given the three examples I know will work. To avoid building your own router bit profiles purchase from suppliers that provide them. Building a relationship with your supplier is one of the most important things you can do. They will answer your questions, give you advise and tell you what tooling will work for your application. A knowledgeable tooling supplier is worth their weight in gold n my opinion.

Thank You for taking the time to read

~An Engraver In The Woods



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