The natural tendency of novice makers, student or adult, is to use materials in an inefficient manner, particularly around the way large pieces of material gets used for smaller projects. Watch someone cut out a shape from a piece of paper or cardboard to see what I mean. Most novices will elect to cut their shapes out of the center of their material instead of the corner of the material. Cutting on the corners can often:
- Reduce the number of cuts you have to make.
- Leave a larger section of unused material that can be used for later projects.
This “I’m-going-to-cut-it-out-of-the-middle-of-my-material” behavior also happens when using Easel to design for carving on Inventable’s Carvey. But there is a safety feature within Easel – that’s intended to protect the Carvey – that prevents you from getting the most out of your material, even if you correctly try to put things on the edge of the it.
Within Easel, there is a pink area that shows up in the bottom left corner of your modeling space when you select Carvey as you machine. This is the area where the machine won’t carve in order to protect Carvey’s SmartClamp; the SmartClamp shows up in Easel as the grey area within the pink area. Material conscious makers will often move their designs to the bottom left corner and try to get it as close to the pink section as possible. But doing this actually means that you are going to create an unused band (over a 1/2 inch wide) around the edge of your material because of the pink safety zone. Your carving is forced into the center of your material where you don’t want it to be.
A better option is to move your carving into the top right corner of the material where Easel doesn’t put a pink safety zone – the 1/2 inch band of waste material won’t be created here. Further, the material can then be rotated 90° or 180° so that the upper right section has a fresh corner of you material that is ready for additional carvings.
Helping novice makers recognize the connection between efficient use of materials, and the way the tools themselves work, is a good long step towards becoming an advanced maker.
Images in this post, but not shown in the Image Credits section, are my own.