After several failed attempts, I finally managed to get a complete run of the dovetail program on the CNC. While Camotics and the stable version of Universal-G-Code-Sender both choked due to the large size of the GCode program, a nightly build of Universal-G-Code-Sender was able to cut it.
Here’s how it came out after the program completed:
The CNC didn’t quite get all the way through the board, due to some basic operation mistakes on my part. It also took somewhere in the area of 5 hours to cut — way too long. Some optimization in the cutting paths would be a clear win.
I was happy to see the stair-stepping on the pin board seems to have worked alright. Now that I see the result, I’m interested to see how the finish might come out moving the two axes together, to get a line segment instead of stair stepping.
After the CNC finished, I used a chisel and small saw to chop out the main pieces from the frame.
I accidentally broke off two out of six of the dovetails, when I chiseled in the wrong order. The correct way, I found, is to first chisel the angle at the cross-grain, and second with the grain. Chiseling with the grain first resulted in the detached dovetails. (edit: the real correct solution, of course, is to orient the grain the other way, so it extends out with the dovetail, which is so obvious now in hindsight!)
After I broke the dovetails off, I wasn’t motivated to keep working to get a perfect fit. I tested the fit here between the dovetail and pin slot on which I got furthest. Still needs more work, but at this point I’ve learned a lot of lessons and got what I want out of the project. I’ll try cutting again in the future and hopefully won’t repeat my mistakes.