How can I carve out a face using a home CNC and SketchUp?



I would like to create a plaque out of wood with the face of a Beagle dog. I have looked over the internet to find out if someone has already done this type of thing but could not find anything that I could use. So, I thought I would create it myself. I am thinking of using sketchup and or sketchucam to import a picture I have. Using that picture to have the CNC machine carve that image into to wood.

Is this type of thing something Sketchup can do?
Would I use Sketchup or Sketchucam?
Are there any tutorials that show how to do this kind of thing?

Your advice is appreciated
Thank you

Advice on export for CNC Router

Not directly. You would need to export into a format that your CNC machine can use, such as Gcode.

Search of forums on terms “gcode cnc”:



It seems there are a few steps of which you might be unaware:

First, you’ll need a program that can turn your 2D picture into a 3D object. SketchUp can be used for this step, but it requires use of features I’m not familiar enough with the help you further on this step.

Second, once you have your 3D object, you’ll need to export it to an STL or OBJ file. This is something SketchUp can do.

Third, you need a program that reads that STL or OBJ file to create the G Code @DanRathbun mentioned. Some of these programs - called “Slicers” – can directly control your CNC machine. Others require you to save the G Code file they generate to a USB stick or SD card, which is then loaded into your CNC machine.

There are many 3d printing services that can replace the third step. You upload the OBJ or STL file, then they do the CNC work and ship the result to you. Unless you have your own machine - or a local Maker space - or a friend with a machine - this is your best option if this is something you don’t anticipate doing more than 3-5 times/year.


You use both. I downloaded SketchUcam from here:

and installed it in 2015 Make. I’m not real sure about how to work it, but here’s a quick GIF of milling a pocket using default settings:

Selecting the zig-zag toolpath and exporting it gives this:

(Generated by SketchUcam V1.4d-80c0152)
(Bit diameter: 0.125000")
(Feed rate: 100.000000"/min)
(Material Thickness: 0.250000")
(Material length: 22.000000" X width: 42.000000")
(Overhead Gantry: false)
(Plunge Depth first)
(Optimization is ON)
G90 G20 G49 G17 F100 
M3 S15000
G00 Z0.125
 X7.1106 Y11.3037
G00 Z0.020
G01 Z-0.125 F100 
G00 Z0.125
G00 X0 Y0 (home)


Thank you guys for your input.
I am aware of the steps to convert .stl files for cnc. I have already been doing that. Sketchucam can do that. I already have and am using sketchucam. What I am trying to learn, is how to do ALL the steps before that to make the model. In general. I was thingking about a 12 inch circle by 1 inch thick piece of wood. Then engrave the beagle image in the center and adding text arounf the outer edge of the circle.

Does that make sense?


Well you did not ask this. The title question is what was answered in this thread.

Perhaps start another thread and ask the real question you want an answer to ?



If you have a photo of your beagle, you can import that into SketchUp and trace it to create some lines for the router to follow. Use Push/Pull to give the drawing some relief. What software are you using with your CNC machine? If you are using V-Carve which is common, you can import the SketchUp file and finish setting up in V-Carve.


Hi Dave…Thank you.
I am using Easel for the software.GRBL for the CNC firmware.
How exactly do you trace the beagle image (.jpg).in sketchup? Is there a tutorial ?


A search of the forum may help:


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