The material included in this project is marked as 12″ × 12″, however it is slightly smaller in both directions, roughly 11.875″ × 11.875″. Chop saws work great with HDPE and taking into account the thickness of the saw blade along with a clamped stopper to repeat the same cuts, you can get nearly perfect squares. Each piece of material ordered can be used to make 4 tiles.
Start by clamping your material down to the wasteboard. Be sure you not placing a clamp on the bottom left “home” corner since that is where the bit will start.
Check to see if there are any red marks on your design. This can mean two things, 1) a corner isn’t going to be as sharp as you may expect due to the roundness of the bit that is cutting, or 2) the bit is too big to carve as thin of a line as your design requires.
Check to make sure that the red marks do not cause any key design elements to be removed from the carving. Simply click the Toolpaths button and click the “Hide Material” checkbox to see exactly where the bit will travel. Make sure that the bit is going everywhere that you expect and that fine detail areas important to your design aren’t missing. In this example design, you can see that the corners of the star may be less sharp than expected, which is not critical for this carving.
This project is designed to be done by many people such as students in a class. The Depth Per Pass in the linked Easel project is set to get through the top layer of the HDPE in a single pass. This is for logistical purposes where a teacher may need to keep the carving time to a minimum for each student job. The top layer of the two-color HDPE is approximately 0.05" and based on slight variations the Depth Per Pass was set to 0.075". This works well for an X-Carve with the Quiet Cut Spindle. When I ran this project with my students, they were required to keep their carves to 0.075" or less so that the entire job could be run in a single-pass. This greatly shortened the time needed for each student to complete a carving.