CNC, JavaScript, Programming, X-Carve

Turn Your X-Carve into a Plug Cutter

One of my favorite aspects of Inventables’s X-Carve CNC router is Easel, their free online carving software. My favorite part of Easel is that it is programmable — you can write apps for it. Apps automate tasks like turning an image into a puzzle, carving gears, or making inlays. Inventables has written nine apps and published another 14 from independent developers, and today, they’ve published my first app, Plug Cutter.

Plug Cutter turns your X-Carve into (wait for it) a plug cutter. What’s a plug cutter? It’s a woodworking tool that creates short dowels that you can use to cover screw holes. Here’s one that Rockler sells for cutting 1/4″ plugs ($16.99):

The Plug Cutter app turns your X-Carve into a plug cutter that can cut plugs in any size. The only constraint is your imagination (and the size of your X-Carve) (and the known diameter of the universe)!

Choose your plug quantity, diameter, and depth, and the app will organize them on your workpiece to minimize waste.

This is what the plug layout shown above looks like after it has been carved:

And this is what the plugs look like once they’ve been put into use:

The app itself is written in about 170 lines of JavaScript. It supports working in inches and millimeters, and it shows the exact cut that the X-Carve will make, depending on your current bit diameter.

You can see the Plug Cutter app’s sourcecode on GitHub, and if you have an Inventables account, you can try the app in Easel by clicking the Apps button and scrolling down until you see Plug Cutter:

If you try it out, post a shot of your plugs in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Turn Your X-Carve into a Plug Cutter

  1. Bill Chapman says:

    Daniel, I’m not the author, but as an avid maker with several CNC routers I can give you USA specific advice. See if there is a maker space local to you that has one, look up woodworking businesses like Rockler, they often have CNC workshops and clubs. After that, it’s normally a longshot but see if your local high schools have public hours in their wood shops, more and more of them are getting CNC equipment and in places where you pay high school taxes, there is sometimes public availability of school resources. Lastly, and this might be too expensive, but if you are in the US, see if your state/county has a BOCES organization, in my county that is the best place to find CNC courses for a reasonable price that will give you access and training on some serious equipment.

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