The vector flower pattern is the result of my tinkering with cutting metal. If you've had a look at the kings crown pattern, you'll understand that cutting metal is not something I normally do. However, I took on the challenge to cut the crown and needed to do some experimentation to determine how I was going to pull it off. The flower was cut from much thinner metal than the crown, but the things I learned from cutting the flower applied directly to cutting the thicker crown.
As I began to think about where to begin my metal cutting tests on my CNC router, my wife came up with a great idea. She wanted a flower silhouette cut out of sheet metal to use as a decorative candle display. Her idea came from the soup can lanterns and juice can lid suncatchers our kids have made as crafts. Using the Vectric software I use to program the CNC router, I sketched out a quick vector flower pattern to cut.
The tea light candles in the photo are stacked on blocks of scrap maple. I'm not including drawings for the candle holders since I just grabbed a bunch of scrap pieces and arranged them without even measuring. Use the photo as a guide and just be creative with what you have.
Along with my wife's great idea for the flower, she offered an old, steel pizza pan she had paid ninety-eight cents for as the sheet metal guinea pig. The metal was only about 0.02" (0.5mm) thick but was just right for the cut test and the flower silhouette.
You don't have to use the vector flower pattern to cut metal. Use your imagination to create whatever you want, including paper flower patterns, wood cuts, wood burning patterns, or even paint stencils.
Take a look at the kings crown pattern for more specific details on cutting steel. However, the quick summary is that I was able to cut the steel on my CNC router with a Porter Cable router using a 1/4", solid carbide, 2 flute, up-cutting, fish-tail router bit, 13,000 rpm spindle speed, 0.5 inches/second (30 inches/minute) feedrate, and 0.005 inch pass depth.
One thing to note on the drawings is the difference between the tool path lines and the actual cut lines. On all drawings except for the JPG sketch above, there are two sets of lines. The single line in the center of each drawing feature is the actual line I used to program the router. The outer, closed loop is the cut the router bit made.
Normally I program my CNC router to follow the line that I want cut, offsetting the program by the diameter of the bit. In this case I deviated from my standard practice and programmed a single line, following the line at the center of the router bit. It's not a major issue, but thought I'd mention it to clear up any confusion as to why there are two sets of lines.
Whether you make paper flower patterns, a candle lantern, or print out the flower silhouette for use in another craft, I've included the vector flower pattern in a variety of file formats. The PDF, DXF (AutoCAD), AI (Adobe Illustrator), and EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file formats are all packaged in a ZIP file. To download a copy to your computer, right click the "ZIP File" link below and then "save-as".
To view just the PDF, click on the "PDF Only" link. If you'd like to download a copy to your computer, right click then "save-as". Either way, you'll need the Adobe reader to view the file.