Sanding CNC Carvings

Advice on final sanding for complex CNC carvings. May 20, 2009

We have been using a CNC for inlay for a few years now and are starting to play with carvings. How do you remove the tool marks and finish a CNC carving? I have thought of playing with a fladder sander head on a hand held spindle or a Nylox brush. I use a very small stepover with a 1/8" ball mill but still think sanding or something is required to get a good look. Any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor M:
Try an Onsrud taper ball, they are much stiffer and leave less marks than a small straight bit. I am usually profiling and carving with about 1/1000 max error which doesn’t leave much to sand, but really I think hand sanding is best. For all the machine time it takes to do this kind of thing the hand sanding preserves the nice details and takes much less time than the machining itself. Other than sanding sponges from 3M and etc I know of no other really good way to preserve detail.

From contributor R:
I have had very good experience with flap sanders for carvings. I agree with the tool suggestion above, but typically, you'll still need to sand a touch to remove fuzz. Klingspore's Star wheels on an air tool work well and preserve the detail unless you really grind at it.

From contributor M:
I adjust the air pressure on my chucked air grinder with the Klingspors stars. I can control speed and torque with applied pressure, and it works well.

From contributor E:
We have similar issues with our relief carvings. The Guinevere inflatable sanding kit works wonders! Also, we have an extensive set of Swiss made chisels to make our lives easier yet.