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How to create a personal gift for Valentine day

CNC machine a Valentine hart and engrave any inscription

This great idea was suggested by DeskProto user RoboCNC from the Netherlands. RoboCNC's Marcel used a simple STL file to create a gorgeous heart in walnut wood.

The good news is that the Heart STL file is a free download, and that you can easily add any custom text to personalize your gift ! More about this below.

DeskProto screenshot with the heart for two-sided machining
The heart STL file has been loaded; check the supports, the segments and the workpiece zero point.

Shown above is the original STL file as used in the video. As the facets still are visible we created a smoother version: you can download that STL file (55 x 53 x 20 mm, 0.5 MB) via

A few settings can be recognized in the above screenshot:
  • three supports blocks (tabs) were used
  • the orange segment is the block, and the green segment is the area to be machined. So left and right some un-machined block will remain present, allowing to mount the block on the rotation axis.
  • the small blue cube indicates the workpiece zero point: this is located on the rotation axis (identical for both sides).

The heart model being machined in wood
The heart model being machined in walnut wood.

Marcel used his rotation axis for this project, and applied 'Indexed machining' by using the wizard "Two or more sides, automatic rotation". This allows to machine the complete model from two (or more) sides without the need for human intervention halfway the process.

When you do not have a rotation axis or when it is too small then you can still create this heart by manually flipping the block (wizard "Two sides, manual flip").

Video on YouTube, showing the heart being carved
Video by RoboCNC on YouTube, showing the complete heart project.

We were happy that Marcel made a video of the process, allowing us to share this idea with other DeskProto users. On his YouTube channel you can find many more interesting CNC videos.

The resulting wooden heart
The resulting model, fresh from the machine.

The resulting hart in walnut. As you can see the small STL model has been scaled up to a larger size.
Important for rotation axis machining is that the zero point needs to be set with the tip of the cutter exactly on the rotation axis line, otherwise the two sides will not match.

DeskProto screen with text engraved on the heart
Example of a customized heart, using text in a 2D Operation.

The best news is that DeskProto makes it easy to create a truly unique gift. In a 2D operation you can import a text (like a name !), and then engrave that on the heart by projecting the 2D lines on the underlying 3D geometry.

In the example above the text was written in Rhino (note the nice font) and then exported as DXF file (lines and arcs only). An alternative is to import a picture (photo) in a bitmap operation and project that on the heart geometry.