CarveTech specializes in complex 3D artistic wood carving for the kitchen cabinet industry. Using CAD-CAM technology they do rotary and flat stock carving. They provide high quality CAD previews for customer approval before every job is processed. CarveTech is a small family owned business with heart and soul and give a lot of personal attention to every customer where each project is processed with the utmost care and consideration to every design requirement and detail. With many years experience in the woodworking industry. From building custom cabinets, kitchen cabinet installation, full time high end kitchen designing, and to full time artistic CNC machining, CarveTech stays on the cutting edge of manufacturing and BobCAD-CAM helps them accomplish their success. Here’s their story.
CarveTech located in Southeastern PA is a small family business that specializes in complex CNC machining and carving. Larry Rissler created CarveTech with a passion for custom woodworking. “I spent most of my life in the kitchen cabinet industry. Going through the great recession and jobs being almost non-existent. I was working as a full time kitchen designer and work was slow. Looking for a way to make a little extra income I bought a Legacy Arty 58 CNC router.” says Rissler.
He continued, “Considered to be a hobby router but with tight cash that was about all that was affordable. As kitchen designing slowly disappeared the CNC work increased. Thus the journey into full CNC work began. My interest in woodcarving was created by touring Henry Chupps carving shop in IN. A master handcarver and speaker!”
CarveTech uses all Mach3 CNC routers. It is the only router setup the company buys. Their small shop has four CNC routers at this time, ranging from a tabletop model to a 48” x 96” router and three of the machines are 4th axis routers. The original Legacy Arty 58 has been set on end as a vertical router allowing for large end milling projects.
The CarveTech journey started a few years ago when they started with a popular artistic CAD program. This was a great starter program for them. It did have some 4th axis functions but always had a splice in the 4th axis wrap. The whole issue with other art programs is everything 3D is a relief model with choppy sides. It really is a 2.5 D program. Also toolpaths options are limited. Next came another art CAD program. It took them a little further but was basically just an STL 3D model machining program. 2D toolpaths very limited. They managed to do a lot of work with this program but mostly 4th axis 3D type work. Then came yet another CAD-CAM product that they felt was even a little better. It too was a pretty good product but 2 issues they had to figure out how to get around. That program had a problem with file sizes. Large STL files crashed and keeping toolpaths while trying to apply them to a new imported model was almost impossible. Then came BobCAD-CAM which was clearly a cut above the others. The company had BobART, BobCAD and BobNEST many years earlier. Back then probably a DOS program modified to run in Windows! These programs were OK but at that time doing mostly 2D part cutting my CAM requirements were very low for the business. “I got away from CNC machining and my mind was pretty well made up. BobCAD is OK but there’s better stuff out there,” says Rissler when talking about his mindset at the time. Fast forward to a year or two ago. After the CNC work started increasing they got into a large project that was giving the shop all kinds of problems. “We absolutely had to do something!” says Rissler.
They mainly needed to find a CAM program that could handle large STL models from 3D scanned wood carvings. Also needed to get better toolpaths. They kept searching for a CAM program to solve these issues, but for some reason, Larry gave BobCAD-CAM a try again. “So I installed BobCAD with a negative outlook! Give it a shot and then I will uninstall!” says Rissler. He continues, “But… this program blew my boat out of the water!! Virtually everything I was looking for was here. This program has what all the others are missing!!” They decided to do a total switch! Now, virtually all of the CNC programming is done with BobCAD-CAM. Now, they import the complex CAD models into BobCAD-CAM as STL or STEP models. “I don’t use any of the standard 3D toolpaths. Always use the Pro 3D toolpaths as well as the Equidistant toolpath more than all the other toolpaths combined,” adds Rissler. He added, “The BobCAD-CAM equidistant 3 axis toolpath is very good and well worth the time! I had a custom computer built to run the high end CAD-CAM programs because it made sense to invest the money into performance and production.” The custom computer they had built for their work took a 20 minute toolpath down to about 12 minutes. And, the clicks that took a few seconds are now instant for them. This is true for all of the CAD programs they use. All-in-all the custom CAD computer adds up to a lot of time saved each day. The trick to using these computer intense toolpaths is to hit calculate and then go work something else while the computer does its job! “This beats spending hours and hours of sanding toolpath marks!!” says Rissler. “I can even 3D scan complex stock and bring it into BobCAD-CAM as a STL file. Then program the CNC to cut from the stock to the CAD model with absolute no waste of time cutting air like most CAM programs,” adds Rissler. He continued, “I have over a dozen CAD modeling programs that I use. Models are copy/pasted/exported back and forth throughout the designing process. Each program has unique functions that helps to build complex models and carvings.”
Two things that surprised the company:
1. How much sanding is involved in completing projects. The company sold one of the smaller routers to someone who had been impressed by the things that they could do with the machine. CNC is able to really help us get it all done in the end!
2. Processing complex organic 3D scans is very difficult. Not as easy as the ads make it look! BUT, modern technology makes it possible with some patience and guidance from the software company.
The BobCAD-CAM software provides every level of 3D/3 axis CNC machine toolpaths that allow for advanced roughing and finishing. Each toolpath operation is available in 4th and 5th axis as well. The 5 axis add-on module provides high speed machining which was the first in 5 axis machining toolpaths on the CAM market. The advanced high speed toolpath provides a far more efficient style of machining which reduces tool wear and tear as well as cycle times.
Jobs that Were Amazing
“Every job we do is unique and a challenge,” says Rissler. He continued, “The most unique job we got was 3D scanning the oval office replica at the George Bush Presidential Library for an oval office replica at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. I did the 3D scanning and CNC carving work.” A shop in Philadelphia, PA did the main woodwork, while a company in NJ assembled the oval office onsite. Then tore down the room, shipped it to CA and reassembled the oval office replica in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.
“Here I scanned a mold. Created models & toolpaths. Then I brought the scan into BobCAD-CAM as a STL stock and then machined into the part. In this mold, they want to change a surface design. I pocketed out an area which they will rebuild. I will then machine away the build-up back to the original shape and carve in a new design. Molds have a strange coating non-stick coating and I need to machine away the surface so they can bond to the mold with a patch,” says Rissler.
BobCAD-CAM simulation of the equidistant offset contour toolpath that matches the topology of the surface with the exact tool step-over.
“Everything I need to do is possible with BobCAD-CAM! Every interaction I had with BobCAD-CAM has been a pleasant experience and the technical support is second to none!” says Rissler.
Larry Rissler | Owner | 717-656-7913 | Leola, PA | CarveTech.com
BobCAD-CAM has provided CAD-CAM CNC Software products to the global manufacturing industry for over 30 years. BobCAD-CAM software can be found to increase CNC productivity for many applications including educational and independent hobby home use. BobCAD-CAM also provides a variety of quality training products that include regional and online training classes or private sessions tailored to specific applications that can result in professional certification as well as multi-tiered technical support solutions to their service customers. Contact BobCAD-CAM directly at 877-262-2237 or 727-442-3554.