CNC – Update 3: Cutting images in plastic

If only Matisse had his own CNC machine…

The CNC Controller software has the ability to import 2D images in .bmp, .jpg and .png formats. I chose one of my favourite Matisse’s black and white line drawings of a woman’s head and shoulders, called “La Pompadour” (see note below) and uploaded it into the software. The following screen shots show the sequence of windows and screens as the image was converted to a cutting pattern.

CNC image details

CNC image details

CNC image processing

CNC image cutting control

CNC image pattern trace

CNC image cutting pattern






Once the cutting pattern has been created, the file can be exported and saved in a variety of formats including .nc, and .dfx. Interestingly, the .dfx file can be scaled and transformed allowing you to fit it to specific dimensions and aspect.

To cut the image, I used the spade-like engraving bit (see CNC – Update 2: Cutting text in plastic for a discussion about the bit) and set the software to make two passes, each lowering the bit by 0.5mm. I set the spindle speed to maximum and the feed rate to 100mm per minute. After the two passes (and about 18 minutes) here is the image cut into 1/8″ plastic (shot against a dark blue background).

Matisse head and shoulders in plastic

Matisse head and shoulders in plastic

matisse_autograph_200Merci, Henri!

* Extracted from Christie’s Auction House: “HENRI MATISSE, La Pompadour: one plate (D. 670).  Lithograph, 1951, on Arches, presumably one of 15 artist’s proofs, with margins (trimmed), a few pale foxmarks, a 2-in. scratch at the lower right sheet corner, framed. L. 11¾ x 9 3/8 in. (299 x 239 mm.), S. 12½ x 9¾ in. (318 x 248 mm.) “

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