Special thanks to Michael Tyler of www.carvebuddy.com for providing this content.

Welcome! In this month’s Tips & Tricks I’ll demonstrate the function of the group and merge tools while creating a simple trivet layout. Later, you can apply these techniques to designs of your own.

Despite its appearance, this trivet design does not require any special jigging or sled for carving it out.

It only uses two patterns included with your Designer software and two basic bits – the 1/16” carving bit and the 1/8” cutting bit. In addition, a standard flat board loaded conventionally into the machine is all that’s required.

Basic Patterns used: 

  • Filagree 01
  • Fleur de Lis 04

First, I’ll review the two reasons you might want to group your patterns and objects:

  1. It is a method you can use to organize items in your design layouts.
    For instance, you may have created a design with several (or even dozens) of components. By making groups of related components you can more easily find and select any item from the carving list later.
  2. It is a method to apply merge or clipping attributes to selected objects within a group. This is handy when you want to isolate individual merge characteristics from other design elements or groups, or apply a characteristic such as clipping or merge, to an entire group.If you group items in a logical, organized fashion you will have an easier time locating items within a group (shorter list of objects to go through!).What if you grouped a bunch of items, and then later want to ungroup them or move an item to a different group? It’s easy, although not exactly obvious at first! Open your Carving List, and then simply click-and-hold-select the item(s) you want to ungroup and drag it out of the existing group into another or drag it to a blank area of the carving list if you no longer want the item in a group at all.

    For those of you who use other graphics programs that have a ‘group’ tool, be aware that the group function in Designer does not work the same way as it does in other programs. There’s a good reason for that. In Designer, a group allows you to apply attributes (such as merge or clip) to individual items within the group independent of all other objects, or apply attributes to all the grouped items at once. Conventional graphic programs don’t usually give you that choice. Designer removes that limitation by using a somewhat more flexible grouping method.

STEP 1

Start the Designer software and create a new project board with these dimensions: 11” x 11” x 0.75” thick… or change the dimensions/thickness according to the stock you use.

Now select the “Circle Tool” and drag out a circle measuring 9.5”x9.5” right-click the circle and select “Center Both” from the context menu.

STEP 2

Click the Cut-Path tool/Flip Cut/Accept. If using harder woods, such as oak, it is recommended to use the to 3/16″ Cutting Bit.

STEP 3

Draw an 8” circle and center it as well. Then select the “Carve Region” tool and select the Pierced checkbox. This will force the carving bit to go all the way through the board by a very small (and safe!) amount.

STEP 4

Now draw a 4” circle, “Center Both”, select “Carve Region” and set the depth to “0”.

STEP 5

Open your Pattern Library and from the Basic library drag the Filagrees/Filagree 01 pattern onto the board, bridging the gap between the inner circle and the outer ring. Overlap a good bit of it and set the angle and resize as shown. I set the angle to negative 45° ( negative 45 or positive 315 is the same thing).

STEP 6

With the pattern still selected set Feather to “None”

STEP 7

Right-click the pattern and select “Mirror All” in the context menu.

STEP 8

Open the Carving List (go to View/Toolbars/Carving List) and select all four “Filagree 01” then Group them (right-click/select ‘Group’ or just click the Group button at the bottom of the Carving List).

STEP 9

We want to be able to keep track of which group is which, so we’ll rename “Group” to “Filagrees 1”. Right-click on the “Group” name then select “Rename” from the context menu and type “Filagrees 1” then press “Enter” on your computer keypad.

STEP 10

Click on the original Filagree 01 pattern that you placed on the board and “copy” and “paste” twice.  Take one of those Filiagree’s and set the angel to “0” and the other to “90”.  Then move them into position and mirror just as we did in the previous steps. Make a new group for each set of the mirrored filagrees and rename each group. Should look like this:

STEP 11

Now drag the pattern Fleur de lis/Fleur de Lis 04 onto the board and center it. Hey! It doesn’t show up! Where is it? Now for the magic… the merge function will make it visible. You have a choice between “Merge Style Additive” or “Merge Style Subtractive”. Right-click the pattern and select “Merge Style Subtractive” to give us a recessed fleur and leave the surrounding area flat for part of our trivet surface. Now it shows up and will carve properly. NOTE: We could also have chosen “additive” if we wanted, but I thought it was more appropriate to choose “subtractive” for this design.

Feel free to experiment with layering a couple designs on top of each other, setting a merge style then grouping the patterns for a variety of effects. Example: You could layer two differing size stars together, group, then set the group to “subtractive”, then one star to “additive” for the following effect!

STEP 12

Select all the groups by holding down the “Ctrl” button (“⌘” on Mac), right-click, select “Clip Carving/Clip Carving: Inclusive” to neatly and automatically trim all the filagrees to the outer ring. Because we grouped the filagrees, we can do this quickly and easily all at once.

Now the project is finished and ready to upload and create. Remember the project is designed at 11″x11″, so your actual board will need to be at least 7″ longer and at least that project width. I used 1×12 select pine from the local HomeDepot. The piece measured 11.25″ in width and I cut it to 18″ long.

I selected:

  • Stay Under Rollers – NO
  • Center on Board
  • Cut Board To Size – NO

Then place your bits as instructed and the machine does it’s thing.

And here it is! Fresh off the CarveWright machine!


I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the Designer software and it’s fun and powerful features. Don’t miss next month’s issue of CarveWright Tips & Tricks for some miscellaneous “secrets” on how to get the most out of your Designer software and your remarkable machine!

3 thoughts on “Group & Merge Features in Designer

  1. Thank you to Michael and Joe for their creation of a great learning and review project. Enjoyed working out the design for an attractive and useful carving!

  2. surprised those filigrees didn\’t chip out with pine. could you discuss carving depth, and any smoothing or quality adjustments you use?

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