Help Request: How to Make a 3D Bevel/Escutcheon?

I am trying to make a dial bevel in the style of an antique radio, like this:
If I can create a single physical copy, then I can make a silicon mold and create a cold cast.

What I have

  • A complete 2D design in illustrator
  • The ability to create a digital 3D design from my 2D illustrator design if I need to.

What I’ve Tried

  • 3D Engrave just isn’t up to this task. I need to engrave too deeply into the material.
  • Layering several sheets of material is problematic, because I must use many thin sheets, of paper say, to get the smallest height differential, and alignment is a problem for the rounded edges and sloped parts. This route seems like too much of a hassle.

Should I just 3D print the thing, or is there an easier way? I don’t have good access to a 3D printer, so I’d have to order from shapeways or something.


How thick/deep do you need? Have you tried thick PG instead of medium?

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I have not tried thick PG. How deep can thick PG be engraved? I think I’m willing to be flexible on the thickness of the final outcome so long as it looks nice.

You can engrave pretty deeply if you include multiple passes and/or slower speeds in your repertoire . Also, since the machine can cut PG, it can engrave all the way through it, you just have to find the right settings to do what you want.


It’s approximately 1/4" thick. Depth of your engrave is going to be dependent on the settings used. Plan on lots of testing to achieve the desired depth and quality.


Thanks, @dwardio and @markwal!

It sounds like my problem is I just haven’t experimented enough with trying to do deep engraves. Do you know if anyone has shared their gathered data on deep engraves of PG draftboard?

Sure – the search tool is your friend :wink:
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Also test materials other than draftboard. Acrylic with a little defocus might be nice. I’ve done 1/4" depths with contours. But definitely a lot of testing and a lot of passes. And maybe some cleaning between passes…


Do not use draftboard. It’s a poor performer. Search this forum for my posts regarding basswood and deep engraves. You can get the depth you require. The issue is that the carved wood has an obnoxious laser carved texture which will need to be concealed. I’m still trying to figure that out.

There are a lot of wood sealing products available including some spiffy self leveling polyurethane, but I am not sure which is best. StyroSpray 1000 seems promising but it’s expensive and not available via Amazon instant gratification. (
Whatever sealer one uses, a lot of manual sanding still looks likely!

Please keep us posted if you make progress–making 3d engraved material look like smooth metal is a major interest of mine.

I’d love to see the mold making process and get those product recommendations too!

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