Engraving on Shapeoko

Posted by Tom Burns on

I spent the afternoon learning to engrave text using Shapeoko.


Engraved text created with Shapeoko CNC and Inkscape.

For software I'm using an inkscape plugin called Hershey Text to generate paths suitable for engraving, and then generating GCode using MakerCam's "follow path" operation.

Some takeaways:

  • Ideal depth is around 0.01".
  • GrblController doesn't appear to put the controller back into "relative position" mode at the end of the run, which can be dangerous.  I should build an emergency stop so I don't have to yank the USB cable from my laptop.
  • At 0.01" target depth, work area flatness becomes very important.  Time to mill a flat work surface off my waste board.
  • I need a bright light to tell when the bit touches material when setting up position.
  • I need a font that generates a single-pass per letter, not inner and outer outlines, which greatly reduce quality of lettering.
  • Plywood is a bad choice for lettering this tiny (0.2" height!).  A lot of the isolated areas didn't stay once isolated.

Glad I didn't try this as a finishing step on a milled iphone dock or anything else!


  • finish wasteboard clampdown paths
  • mill flat wasteboard
  • get bright positionable LED light
  • get emergency stop button & limit switches

Update: Looks like the font you should use is the one that is initially set when you use the Hershey Text extension.  It's called "Sans 1-stroke".




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