Archive for the ‘CNC-Howto’ Category


Monday, June 27th, 2011

zSurf4  is a utility that allows you to import a bitmap and export a surface.

You can find a copy at

There is spotty info out there about this program, but its rather nice if you can figure out how to use it.  The best tutorial I found is unfortunately not in English, however google translate helps with that.

The tutorial will give you a working knowledge Zsurf, at least enough to get started.  I would like to add a method to start with a photograph of an object like a gear and end in a 3D surface.  Note that the original is a pretty poor quality black and white image.

Zsurf likes very high contrast images.  The image below if processed as is produces a very rough, jagged surface, raising all the dark spots and lowering all the white.

Here is the starting image, its a clock escapement wheel, its a jpeg image, of an actual photograph of a real escapement wheel.


Holding Tabs

Monday, June 27th, 2011

If possible I like to have some tabs, holding the piece that I am cutting out to the block that I am cutting from.  For a while I was searching for a CAM program that would add these tabs for me, like Visual Mill.  Now I realize, after watching some MadCam training videos that I can do this myself in my drawing software.  What follows is an outline of the steps for reference.


Slice me off a little piece

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Recently found this really interesting utility for Google Sketchup. Its called SliceModeler, it gives you the ability to slice up your sketchup model into pieces and then make them flat for cutting out of sheet material. Great idea and concept for me.