LHR Technologies, manufacturer of the CarveWright system, also known as the CompuCarve woodworking system under the Craftsman brand name, has released its new STL Importer software that allows 3-D models to be imported and digitally sliced into patterns that can be carved on both machines.
"What makes this program different than anything else out there is when you import a full three-dimensional model for slicing into flat planes to be routed on a CNC, our system allows you to flip and rotate your planes around and set them at any depth at any point during the slice-up," says Joe Lovchik, company spokesman. "The other software programs allow you to pick one direction and one thickness to slice. We open up a lot more possibility and capability in how you choose to slice up your object."
The CarveWright can accept stock up to 14-1/2" wide and 5" high. Its maximum depth of cut is 3/4".
"With its feed-through system, even though it is small and planer-like, it allows you to [machine] very long boards," Lovchik says. "It's priced and made simple enough for the hobbyist market [as well as] small cabinetry shops. Most of them are sold to hobbyists and sign makers. We have a large group of people who are just making guitars with them."
When the CarveWright router bit carves into the board, it carves around the object and actually leaves tabs so it is held into place. When the work is completed, the user simply pops the tabs or cuts them to free the piece from the back of the board.
And rather than have a computer directly linked to the machine, the CarveWright has its own computer. Once a model is created on a PC or Mac, the information is transferred from the computer to a memory card and the card is then inserted into the CarveWright.
The CarveWright can use virtually any 3-D software, such as AutoDesk, Google SketchUp or Blender, which is then converted to a standard STL file format. STL is commonly used in the printing industry.
But the ability to manipulate the slicing is the key to the machine and the new software.
"You can rotate and tilt the slices in any direction, you can set your slice depth at whatever size you want or you can just go in and cut the whole thing in half and then work out your slices," adds Lovchik.
The STL software for the CarveWright system is a stand-alone program and can be used with other CNC systems. It sells for $299.
The CarveWright system sells for $1,899.
Contact: CarveWright, LHR Technologies Inc., 4930 Allen Genoa Rd., Suite D, Pasadena, TX 77504. Tel: 713-473-6572. www.carvewright.com
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.