Part 8 - Free Sculpture Time.
Switch the main mode to "Region". Click on "Reset" to delete any existing region. Set the Define/Modify Region mode to "Polygon (X=Y)". Click on "Geometry...". Leave the Coordinate System set to "Data Units" and the Center Point set to 0, 0. Enter a Radius Point of 0, 2.75 . Click on "Ok". Set the region "Z" height to -0.5 . Select "Plateau" from the Sculpt menu. Click on "Reset" to remove the region. Switch to "Display" mode and change the "Z Height Shade Range" to -0.5, 0. Using the tools you have learned about so far, perform sculpting within the circle, but keep all surface heights below the level 0. In the next part of the tour (Part 9), you will perform machining (define tool paths) on your sculpted surface. In Part 10, you will be guided through a "real world" process of sculpting from a scanned drawing.
Part 9 - Machining.
Switch the main mode to "Machine". The machining widgets will appear on the left side of the window. In most cases, the machining of a sculptured surface will take multiple passes with different tools, starting with a rough cut and ending with a final finish. VS3D maintains a "Cutting Protocol" which is a record of the machining passes (tool paths) performed on a surface. Click on the Cutting Protocol "New..." button.
The "Machine Type" setting controls which file format will be used when writing the machine controls. Leave it set to "G-CODE". The "Measurement Units" can be set to Inches or Millimeters. Remember that the current data coordinate scales range from -3 to 3 in X and Y (a 6x6 square area). The Measurement Units setting will determine if the sculpted surface is machined in a 6x6 inch area, or 6x6 millimeter area. Note that the data coordinate scales can be changed via the "Edit / Coordinate Scale..." menu. Leave the Measurement Units set to "Inches". The "Material Height" fields are for specifying the height/shape of the existing material before machining. A "Flat" setting indicates a flat existing surface at a height specified by the "Flat/Offset Material Height" field. The "Existing Material Height" field can also be set to "Offset" for specifying a Z offset to the current surface. It is also possible to specify one of the three available sculpture layers as containing the existing material heights. This is very useful when engraving or machining on an existing non-planar surface. In this case, the existing material surface heights (from a 3D scanner or other source) are imported into VS3D (possibly via VScad3). These existing material heights are placed on one of the three available sculpting layers. Sculpting is then performed on the other two layers. When the machining protocol is created, the layer containing the existing material heights can be selected for the "Existing Material Height" setting (in that case the "Flat/Offset Material Height" field has no meaning). Leave the Existing Material Height setting on "Flat", and leave the Flat/Offset Material Height set to 0. Click on "Ok". The sculpture grid is now redrawn and looks flat. Why ? Because you are now looking at the existing material surface before machining. The sculpted surface is still "in there". The "Machine" layer has filled the gap between the sculpted surface and the specified material height. The protocol creation process can be "undone" by either selecting "Undo Cutting Protocol New" from the main Edit menu, or by clicking on the Cutting Protocol "Reset" button.