The first project I used my new Shaper Trace with was a CNC granddaughter's name sign. It was a simple flow:

Using Shaper Trace for my Granddaughter's Name Sign

The first step in the process was for my seven-year-old granddaughter to write her name on an 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet of paper. I told her to fill up the whole sheet of paper. Like most young kids with a longer name, it is a challenge to make sure all of the letters fit.

She produced the following result for me, which I said looked great:

Granddaughter Name Sign

I was interested in how Shaper Trace handled the smaller letters on the right side. I did learn that there is a small buffer on the inside of the Trace frame, which the web app ignores. I had to slide the sheet of paper slightly to the left to get all of the letters of her name.

Shaper Trace Web App

The Shaper Trace app did an excellent job capturing all the letters. By default, the app used the outline method of vector creation. I pressed the blue checkmark button to save the new vectors.

Shaper Trace web app vectors

I use Vectric Aspire as my design software with my CNC machine. In the past, I've opened a browser window to Apple's iCloud and manually downloaded each photo image I took. It's a pain, as the Apply iCloud compresses the photo images into a zip file. So once downloaded, you need to uncompress them on a Windows PC.

The Shaper web app simplifies this flow. It offers an option on its web app to "Save to Shaper My Files." The "My Files" is Shaper Tools cloud storage. To use the web app, you must first create a user account on their website. The web app uses these same credentials to know where to save your new vector files

Shaper Tools Cloud

Once the web app has saved your vector file to the Shaper My Files, it's easy to download the new file via a web browser. Log in to your Shaper Tools account, navigate to your files, and click on the download option. The download process prompts you where to save the new SVG file. It's a clean, straightforward process.

Shaper Tools My Files

Vectric Aspire and the Granddaughter Name Sign Vectors

After I downloaded the new vector file from Shaper Tools, it was easy to import it into Vectric Aspire. I created a new project and centered the newly created vectors. I drew a rectangle around them to define the profile toolpath for the finished sign.

Vectric Aspire Granddaughter Name Sign vectors

The imported vectors created by the Trace app were clean and ready for CNC machining. The Aspire Vector Validator did not find any problems. A couple of images below show how clean the vectors are for the different parts of the letter K and the smaller name letters at the end of the name.

Vectric Aspire Vectors
Vectric Aspire Granddaughter Name Sign Vectors

CNC Machining the New Name Sign

The only task remaining was to create CNC toolpaths for the new sign. I planned on using a 30-degree v-bit for the name vectors. To cut the name sign out, I would use a .25-inch endmill.

The CNC machining process was short and straightforward. My granddaughter watched while the machine was at work.

I used the router table to give the edges a slight round-over. It then took a little sanding and some Minwax poly to complete the project.

Overall, I am very impressed with my Shaper Trace project. The Trace tool is easy to use.

A CNC Granddaughter Name Sign

More Information on Shaper Trace

Shaper Tools Trace

Shaper Trace, a drawing toolkit that allows you to turn any sketch or drawing into a vector graphic by simply taking a picture.

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