Recently I got the idea that if you were to take an image made up of pixels, as opposed to one made with vector graphics, it could still be machined (as opposed to converted to a vector for engraving). The process I was thinking about, similar to a process known as halftone printing, would translate each pixel into a point to be milled. Dark would be a hole, where light would be no hole. Possibly there could be some in between shades where the depth is variable, but I haven’t gotten to that yet.
Although similar operations have been done before, I decided to write my own Python script (available here) to translate everything. The whole thing is done using the Python Image Library. I actually used parts of this script to do some light paintings with the pyMCU.
That’s the video of the process, but there’s more pictures of the finished product, and some of the images I used below. The JcoPro logo on top is done using the tiny 1 mm ball nosed end mill from Zen Toolworks. They carry a lot of little bits for the ZTW router, and were gracious enough to provide me with a few to use.
This process is fun on wood, but also could be applied to making a stencil. I did something similar with a vector file for use with a bleach T-shirt. In a future post I’ll go over my results making a stencil using “Pixel Machining.”
Again, here’s the Python source code that I used to do this. I’m not sure what I’ll eventually do with it, but my thinking is that anyone familiar with Python that sees my methods explained, could probably crank out the code anyway. If you have any questions, improvements to suggest, or want to add to it, please let me know! Also, check out my other posts on learning and working with the Python programming language. As I get better, my ability to make programs like this will hopefully get better as well.