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 CAD, CAM, CNC etc. 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm
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Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Post CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
If I'm a good boy for the next month, the Birthday Santa is going to bring me a weeny little metalworking lathe. This will help me make the parts for a small CNC router I plan to build. The pair of machines can then be used to build a new pan/tilt head, better puppet armatures, a wooden clock and perhaps even a mouse trap that works.

One of the areas I'm weakest on is understanding is the software chain needed for the whole CNC process and the pros and cons of the various options. I've been searching around the CNC forums but thought this would be a great opportunity to pull together the collected wisdom of the many Timescape contributors who have experience with making their own gear. Which software do you recommend, especially affordable options for a pure hobbyist? What works with what, what doesn't and the relative merits of USB and Serial interfaces.

Any other specialist snippets of information you have would also be useful. For example: how to make a timing pulley of any size with an accurate tooth profile or which materials you've found easy to cut or totally impractical for a particular job.

I'm sure I can't be the only reader who would welcome your experience and be grateful for your time spent regurgitating it.


Kit


Mon May 25, 2015 8:00 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Interesting question... I was just trying out my first cut on a small CNC mill today! I know some of the users around here have CNC expereince, so hopefully they'll chip in too.

I started out using a friends copy of Rhino + RhinoCAM. While I like Rhino, the CAM bit wasn't great... version 2 of RhinoCAM looked a lot better but I never got to try it. Looked into buying my own copies but the price was astounding and completely unaffordable for me :shock:.

But anyway, what I really wanted to say was to try Autodesk's Fusion 360. I'm still learning it, but I think its pretty good. It has excellent CAM features built in and its also free for personal use. Theres also plenty of tutorial videos on youtube etc to help you learn. It seems to be some sort of experiment for Autodesk... they add (and remove) features quite often.

As for machine control, I'm locked into Mach3 with the control card I am using (came with the machine, I looked into what it was... some sort of Chinese USB controller). Mach 3 is a bit of a dinosaur IMHO but it works / tried and tested / large user base. LinuxCNC and MachineKit with a Beaglebone looks really interesting. Smoothstepper is another one, but again you're locking yourself into Mach3 with that. The rise of the 3d printer has spawned quite a few interesting and cheap software / hardware combos that since they interpret gcode, could also be used for machine control, but I don't know a huge amount about them.

Material wise I've only ever been interested in aluminium. Seems like a good material to me... reasonably easy to machine, rigid for its weight, cheap, easily sourced and it doesn't rust! You can anodise it cool colours too :-).

My philosophy with building my own gear is to buy all the components you can and keep the CNC for the bits that you can't buy off the shelf... so I personally would just buy pulleys especially for a component that has such an impact on accuracy. It also means I might actually have a chance of finishing the things I begin!

Anyway, I'm a complete noob myself on actually using the tools, but I've been dipping in and out of it for years... done plenty of reading, so if I can be of help please let me know. Best of luck! If all goes well with the mill I might think about getting a lathe myself.

Cheers,
David.


Tue May 26, 2015 3:53 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
David,
Thanks for the reply. I'd not heard of Fusion 360 before but Autodesk should know what they're doing, I'll definitely have a look.

I know MACH 3 is tried and tested but I was wary of going for a fast-dissappearing interface which none of my current computers have. Having written that I though it was a good idea to check the truth of my words so I've just spent 5 minutes discovering that you can still buy a mobo with an RS232 port on the back and that many boards (including this computer) have a header for connecting an add-on bracket. Not quite so obsolete after all.

I agree with you about buying what you can, though I'm keen to save a dollar if I can make some of the smaller stuff (shaft couplers for example) once the lathe arrives. I live in a remote part of Western Australia where obtaining almost anything involves significant postage charges especially if you have to go to one supplier for this, another for that...

With regard to timing pulleys, I'm thinking of making ones that are larger than you can buy and/or have specific hub requirements.

I did some reading up on anodising myself (or should that read 'anodising aluminium myself'? :) ) and must look at that again.

Not finishing things is one of my greatest talents, but I'm working to improve that!


Regards

Kit


Tue May 26, 2015 5:28 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi Kit that's a rather fortuitous post theirs me and Edward waffling on about CNC in my other rather big thread thread .
I would def recommended Mach3 its been around for ages so lots of plug ins post processors ets . So far it not only runs my mill it also controls my 3D printer and laser cutter .
I wouldn't worry about the fact it needs a parrel port . You are best getting a old office machine you can pick them up for pennies . It doesn't have to be fast but it as to have a very stable clock speed . I tried i few and found a small dual core Dell running XP was the best . I tweaked the bios and disabled just about everything even running at single core helped a lot . So when i run the clock test sullied by Mach 3 i get a perfect flat line . I only use this for Mach3 it doesn't even have a keyboard and isnt connected to the internet . I just drop the G code in with a memory stick .
My set up not neat i know to busy uesing it :D
[flickr]Image2015-05-27 09.45.03 by D 1, on Flickr[/flickr]

[flickr]Image2015-05-27 09.44.48 by D 1, on Flickr[/flickr]

As for CAD software theirs a lot out their and prices range from free to rediculas take ya choice

Do recommend CamBAM for CAM though its free for first 40 goes give it a try http://www.cambam.info/

ImageScreenshot (157) by D 1, on Flickr


Wed May 27, 2015 2:51 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
I use DesignSpark Mechanical for 3D design
Meshcam for CAD/CAM
EMC2 for CNC

My partner is a big fan of Mach3

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Wed May 27, 2015 9:16 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Kitwn wrote:
... you can still buy a mobo with an RS232 port on the back and that many boards (including this computer) have a header for connecting an add-on bracket.


Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure an RS232 port is different from a parallel port, which is what you want for control via Mach 3. Parallel ports can be difficult to come by (sadly I don't think even the header appears much anymore) unless you've got a source for an older computer... but I suppose thats what eBay is for?!

I sometimes get annoyed that we don't have something like McMaster-Carr or Misumi when I hear people from the states talking about them. But I guess by comparison to a remote part of Australia the UK does alright when it comes to ordering stuff. Postage costs still any me too though, lol.

DISPLACEMENT 1: Always enjoy seeing pictures of peoples setups. Cheers.


Wed May 27, 2015 12:35 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Mach3 is great. I use it on an old Dell machine that my wife once used in her office. I mostly do front panels and printed circuit boards with my 3040 CNC setup. Great unit to have. I use Cut2D to take my two dimensional work from Freehand and Illustrator to do the front panels and I design printed circuit boards in Diptrace and use a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator to get the copper artwork through to Cut2d and finally onto the machine for cutting. Took a while to fine tune things but it is quite streamline now.

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Wed May 27, 2015 3:11 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Well had a play with Designspark and quite like it . The interface is very similar to Blender which is great for me . So same key clicks for zoom pan etc had to tweak select button but that not a problem. Its nice to have these matching across different software otherwise you end up pressing wrong buttons all the time .
Exporting importing between Blender Designspark works well to so anything I build in one or the other is not a waste . In fact its a real pain to punch a round hole in a surface in Blender , in Designspark dead easy .
Screen shots same model of slew bearing different software
[flickr]ImageScreenshot (158) by D 1, on Flickr[/flickr]
[flickr]ImageScreenshot (159) by D 1, on Flickr[/flickr]
So will stick with Designspark it only took me half hour to get me head round it . Had a look at Solidworks about a year ago great piece of software but you would have to invest quite a bit of time to learn it properly.
Hi Kit you asked about making timing pulleys with a CNC. Its possible but you are limited to the size you can go down to by the size of the tool .CamBam as a inbuilt gear and pulley generator . Think the smallest i could get down to was a 3HTD . This is why i am keen to get the laser cutter going as tool size is not really a problem .
D1


Thu May 28, 2015 12:20 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Curiously, I went from SketchUp to Solidworks, via a short spell with Inventor Fusion which was free and worked on the Mac.

I found Solidworks quite reasonable to learn, and not so disimilar to SketchUp, it's like SketchUp on steriods! I think Blender is more difficult to learn by comparison.


D1, I like the top screenshot, it looks similar to Solidworks.

Edward


Thu May 28, 2015 1:16 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi Edward yes i don't think Designspark is to different from Soildiworks just a lot striped down . Its the same sort of push pull way of building things similar to sketchup i suppose but really didn't get on with sketchup
for some reason.
Yes Blender not for the faint hearted but it can do a lot in one package so its worth the time . Think my plan will be to build things for CNC in Design spark . Then move them over to Blender so i can rig them for IK etc and use that Data in DF or Mantis if i ever take the plunge .
Gonna start building me model mover shame you cant animate things in DS but ya can in Blender :D


Thu May 28, 2015 2:39 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
sorry Dave, I should know the difference between serial and parallel ports but that particular braincell must have been having a day off when I replied to you before :)

I had been very wary of spending good money on devices needing a pre-historic parallel (LPT) port, but it seems there are real isues with keeping the various axes exactly in sync with each other via USB and LPT ports are not quite as obsolete as I'd thought. You can still buy a motherboard with an LPT (and a serial port if you want one) included, as well as quite a variety of PCI cards with LPT and serial ports if you don't want to trawl your neighbour's dustbins for ancient computers late at night.

I'm now convinced and will be aquiring the necessary hardware soon.

Thanks for all the input everyone. Now, what about those little snippets of 'how to' information you have hidden up the collective sleeve? Where do I find out how to design and cut a 300 tooth timing pulley, for example?

Regards to all

Kit


Thu May 28, 2015 5:41 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Kitwn wrote:

Thanks for all the input everyone. Now, what about those little snippets of 'how to' information you have hidden up the collective sleeve? Where do I find out how to design and cut a 300 tooth timing pulley, for example?

Regards to all

Kit


Hey Kit are you still having a off day if ya look a couple of post up i mentioned CamBam as a gear and timing pulley generator :D
D1


Thu May 28, 2015 7:03 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Ooooh that's embarrassing :oops: Sorry D1. That's a big plus for CamBam in my book, I'd like to try making some larger than standard timing pulleys for my upgraded pan/tilt head (just another job on the ever-growing list). This will only be used indoors so bigger pulleys won't be a problem.

Kit


Thu May 28, 2015 6:25 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hopefully you'll believe me when I say I'm not an Autodesk sales person :D, but I've been watching tutorial videos on youtube to try and see if I can pick up tips / tricks with Fusion 360 and I think this guy has a pretty interesting take on it. His channel on youtube in general is interesting for any machinist.

First bit is a tutorial then round about 12:30 he start talking about his thoughts on it.


Haven't found anything within Fusion to help with making pulleys though...


Sat May 30, 2015 11:52 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
... and when you have got the lathe, you should build a good saw...



thats my very next project ;-)


Sat May 30, 2015 12:29 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Thanks L A N that's an interesting video. I like that the CAM part is integrated in the CAD program, and it seem pretty user friendly. Though it is being used by an expert who makes it look easy! I tried Inventor which is kind of similar, but in practice can be very frustrating if you don't know exactly how to do something...

Kitt - can you tell me if Mach 3 includes CAM? Or is just a CNC program. ie. do you need to create your machining paths outside the program - or is that done with the plugins you mentioned?

Edit - Ok here's the kicker for Fusion 360 :

"Free for students, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and startups. Full use of Fusion 360 for as long as you need it. " I think that would include most people on this site! G


Sat May 30, 2015 8:23 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Dave,

I've been getting emails from Autodesk ever since I downloaded Fusion 360 telling me how great it is but I haven't been able to look very closely as I'm in the middle of a block of 12 hour shifts at the moment. Roll on Wednesday when I start some time off! The fact that it is entirely free for hobbyists is a big plus.

KruppTown,
Once you have one machine you can start building others. That hacksaw looks very handy. I've also looked at casting small parts in aluminium. You can smelt any old scrap very easily, mould it using the lost foam method and then do final machining. Buying small quantities of aluminium or brass stock by mail order is expensive where I live.

Gerald,
I think MACH3 is purely for generating the G-code from existing designs, but Edward or amongmyselves would be able to answer that in more detail.

I think I now have enough projects in hand to keep me going for the next ten years or so. Better than getting bored on your days off!

Kit


Sun May 31, 2015 5:35 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
That Fusion360 looks so much like Solidworks, I bet the Solidworks guys are fuming!

Naturally SW can do a lot more, for instance it has great libraries with parts that you can generate in the size you want, such as ball bearings, pulleys gears, bolts. Fusion also has them, but more limited. Plus you can combine parts to make a final mechanical product and check and animate the movement, or the collision, or restrict the angle of movement, etc, etc

But for most engineering stuff like the type we do, (i.e. 2.5D stuff) Fusion360 seems perfect, particularly if it comes integrated with the Cam program. The price is not too bad, £185 a year, and free if you can prove it is for educational use (uni student, etc). But it's a Cloud subscription, which I don't like.

You still need Mach3 to read the generated g-code and translate it to actual movement of the motors.

BTW, I do have a cheap ebay CNC card that worked with Mach3 and it connected through USB. I didn't go further than just connecting three motors with Mach3 and see them move with g-code. It cost £120. I am not sure how good it is, as I haven't played with it further than that.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-Axis-CNC-US ... 4196e114f8


Sun May 31, 2015 7:41 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Well i have tried both Fusion and Designspark now . Got to say found DS the quickest to get into doesn't means its the best but if ya just want quick results then DS in my opinion .
Found the Cam in Fusion very confusing but don't let that put you off i have been using CamBam for about five years now and its totally different .
Hey they both free try them and see what ya happy with :D


Sun May 31, 2015 9:56 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Yeah Mach3 reads the GCode and does the moves with the attached hardware. I use a program called Cut2D http://www.vectric.com/products/cut2d.html made by Vectric where I bring in PDF and EPS files from Freehand (yes someone still uses Macromedia Freehand) and Illustrator and apply depths and tools to shapes. Vectric also make Cut3D which clearly works with 3d shapes.

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Sun May 31, 2015 2:39 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
DISPLACEMENT 1 wrote:
I tweaked the bios and disabled just about everything even running at single core helped a lot . So when i run the clock test sullied by Mach 3 i get a perfect flat line . I only use this for Mach3 it doesn't even have a keyboard and isnt connected to the internet . I just drop the G code in with a memory stick .


That's interesting. I had the impression that MACH 3 just worked. If programmed correctly, a microcontroller can have much more stable timing than a multi-tasking computer so I'm beginning to wonder if an external, dedicated card is the way to go after all (Men are now allowed to change their minds, it's in the sex-equality legislation). I'd like to be able to drive everything from the universal laptop if possible.

Has anybody had any experience with GRBL? http://bengler.no/grbl

or these Planet-CNC units? http://www.planet-cnc.com/index.php?page=home

GRBL looks interesting, especially as I have a spare Arduino lying around. It might get me started anyway and will be the quickest and cheapest option to implement for now.

I haven't looked at MeshCam as it's a bit expensive for my humble operations.

Kit


Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:43 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi, Kit, this CNC simulator programme (free, need to top up petrol tank at regular intervals) may be of interest.
http://cncsimulator.info/

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Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:58 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Mike,

That's a very interesting bit of software, especially with all the tutorials in their 'academy'. I'm definitely going to download that and learn something about CNC before the machine is built (parts are beginning to arrive in the post!). It's a shame it won't actually drive a real machine, though maybe you could use it to open a workshop in Second Life an earn some BitCoin? ;)

Kit


Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:00 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Kitwn wrote:
Mike,

That's a very interesting bit of software, especially with all the tutorials in their 'academy'. I'm definitely going to download that and learn something about CNC before the machine is built (parts are beginning to arrive in the post!). It's a shame it won't actually drive a real machine, though maybe you could use it to open a workshop in Second Life an earn some BitCoin? ;)

Kit


Hi, Kit, there is an option to configure a serial port.

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Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:46 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
I've spent some time looking at the Fusion 360 tutorials. This being my first ever look at CAD software, it's been slow going but I'm getting the hang of it. Quite how it compares to the various other packages mentioned I'm not sure. I'd need to get competent in using one program before I could make valid comparisons, so I've decided to stick with learning to this combined CAD/CAM software which is completely free.

The cloud dependance of Fusion 360 is a bit of a pain but it does have an 'offline' mode which appears to work OK. I've found that the Shapeoko uses the GRBL driver software running on an Arduino and Fusion 360 can talk to it. So I'm going to try GRBL as well.

Thanks to everybody for your input on this thread. Most of the hardware has now arrived for my first machine so I can start designing/building it. More news as and when.

Mike,
Thanks for the info re cncsimulator. Unfortunately the serial port is only activated in the paid-for version.

Kit


Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:02 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi Kit. Not wishing to to chuck a spanner in the works, but Kflop is probably the best option which is guaranteed not to end up limiting you at some point. There is an existing plugin for Mach3 if you are already ofay with that and don't want to relearn the ropes, though Dynomotion also include a free program of their own. I haven't tried it for CNC myself, but I can confirm it's very highly specc'ed and well supported in the community. G


Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:31 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
PS - AMS You mention "pdf" files. As far as I understand pdf's can contain just about any combination of other formats - ie. text, raster etc. So when someone say .pdf in reference to CAD, I kind of glaze over and wonder - what do you mean???


Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:35 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Gerald,

The KFLOP does look very interesting, but at over $300AUD it is off the radar for this, my first step into the world of computer designed and manufactured components. The fact that I can run GRBL on a spare Arduino I already have is attractive.

Initially I'm looking at making a few simple components to build a new pan/tilt head for my camera moco system and cutting out parts for a particular style of animated film. I also plan to try casting parts in aluminium, which will require the ability to machine patterns from foam and MDF and then do finishing work on the castings. If this proves successful I may well be looking to upgrade to a more sophisticated machine and be willing to throw a few more dollars into the project for both hardware like the KFLOP and non-free software.

Regards

Kit


Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:40 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi kIt. Then I think D1's approach is the most simple and practical initially. Use a Windows desktop with Mach3 and a cut down OS and it should work... later you can upgrade if you feel the need. Plenty of challenges as it is with the hardware. :)


Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:38 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Gerald,

Re the hardware, I've come up with 'Kit's First Law of CNC'. This is especially aimed at hobbyists who don't have access to much in the way of tools for constructing a machine...

YOUR FIRST MACHINE NEED ONLY BE GOOD ENOUGH TO MANUFACTURE THE PARTS FOR IT'S OWN FIRST UPGRADE.

I'm going to keep this in mind, especially with regard to how much work I put into making it look nice. It also gives me an instant first project with which to learn what I'm doing and find/fix any flaws in the original design.

I'm not ignoring the benefit of your experience, but as I already have all the components I need to at least test the ability of Fusion 360 and GRBL to communicate with each other and move the motors, I'm going to test that option first. I've already found some forum entries regarding issues with some of the G-code produced by 360 for the Shapeoko machine but there are fixes available so I have my fingers crossed. You may well get an opportunity to say "told you so" at some point in the future :-)

Kit


Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:32 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Or the Catch22 - how do you machine the parts for your cnc upgrade when you have to disassemble it to work on the parts?

Meanwhile, I suppose you may need to enjoy the journey as much as getting there? Whatever way you choose, persistence can win in the end...


Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:59 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi kit got to agree with Gerald on this one . Mach 3 is a old dog but its a very good old dog . I had a quick look at GRLB it looks like a lot of messing about little screens every ware :(
I would also be concerned about the Arduino be able to output code quick enough to drive all the motors perfectly. Theirs a lot going on in a cnc and very quickly and timing is critical.
But as you say you have most of your bits but if you ever do see a old PC sticking out of a bin grab it . Me been a tight Yorkshire man the old PC and Mach3 was def the most cost effective route and it does work very well never had a software failure yet .
D1


Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:22 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hmmmmm, you've got me thinking now. Yesterday I got totally confused by Fusion (Con-Fusion?) 360 while trying to draw what I thought was simple shape. Maybe I'm being naive in expecting the same 'duplicate', 'copy' 'paste', 'mirror' etc commands I'm used to finding in every vector drawing package I've ever seen. It also locked up while waiting to save a new object to the cloud. Something it refuses to do offline so I'm becoming less convinced.

Unfortunately I get error messages when I try to load either CamBam or DesignSark. They both use the same Windows installer so it must be a local fault. I haven't fund a solution yet.

I'm obviously going to get beaten around the head until I realise that MACH 3 is the way to go :D I'll order an interface board today.

Kit


Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:23 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi Kit interesting to hear your comments on Fusion . I did try it think the thing i found frustrating was theirs a lot of menus within menus . At least with Desingspark what you see on front page is more or less what ya get .I am sure Fusion has mirror paste copy etc its just a matter of finding it . Most of this comes up by a right click in DesignSpark by the way .
Another thing about Mach that is nice it as a calibration feature which is very handy when setting up your mill , I dont know if GBLR as this .You simply tell a axixs to move a certain distance measure it and enter the distance it actualy moved . Mach then calculates and adjusts settings to make it move the correct distance . This can save you hours of messing about and you get lovely perfect circles :D


Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:56 pm
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
D1,
I followed the Fusion 360 tutorial OK but got totally lost trying to drive it on my own. I shouldn't expect to just pick up the complexities of 3D design in a day but very little made sense. The inability to locally save a locally made object when working offline didn't help. I went online and then waited an age for it to talk to me again.

As is always the way, I managed to fix the installation problems just after posting about them. Yesterday I couldn't find anything relevant, today I ask Google a slightly different question and find the answer in 5 mins. My Windows 7 had the 'Windows Installer' service set to 'manual' start for some reason. Set it to 'Automatic' and all is well. Apparently it's been a common problem for several years but Microsoft haven't done anything about it. I've installed DesignSpark Mechanical but haven't had much time to play with it yet. I'll give CamBam a go as well.

I've given in to the pressure (sorry, that should read "I've taken note of the good advice" ;) ) and ordered a break-out board for MACH 3 and put a notice on our local 'Buy, Sell and Swop' page on Facebook asking for an old PC. My next job is to design a board for the TB6600HQ stepper drive chips I've got. That'll have to wait a few days as I'm into post-production for Pipsqueak Studios' first global release!

Kit


Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:28 am
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Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:55 am
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Location: UK
Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Hi, Kit, this video / product may interest you. Mach3 via USB. No price given so may be expensive ;)
[youtube]http://www.stoneycnc.co.uk/cnc-control-electronics/[/youtube]

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Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:18 pm
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Location: UK
Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Kit, if you are looking for a stable base for your CNC this might be an interesting platform to build from, maybe supplier down under: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Aluminium-T-slot-plate-500x400mm-for-CNC-milling-machine-machine-frame-T-nuts/171823780836?_trksid=p2046732.c100040.m2060&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140107095009%26meid%3D29e09801bd474f6b8d1ce81b558c0964%26pid%3D100040%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D3%26sd%3D171813894198
Just pricing up some materials after following your post, not happy as will be spending money ;)

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Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:11 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm
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Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Mike,
Nothing similar available down here, I'm afraid. That's far too posh (ie expensive) for my first iteration anyway. It's 18mm MDF for me at the moment. The very first job for the machine will be cutting holes in it's own base-plate for fixing clamps.

I now have an old computer with Windows XP and a parallel port to put MACH 3 onto and the parallel breakout board is on it's way. Jack Ripper mentioned that he uses EMC2 for driving the CNC machine. I may investigate that as well.

I've decided to go straight to the Makita 1/4" router rather than use my Dremmel, so once I get all the bits together there should be no shortage of dust flying around. Fortunately I already have a workshop vacuum cleaner.

What cutting tools do people recommend? It seems I can pay any price I can imagine for router bits. Is there a sweet spot for getting maximum bang for buck?

Kit


Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:36 am
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Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
A useful resource may be, I have just found it but have not explored in depth.
http://www.jjjtrain.com/vms/index.html

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Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:46 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm
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Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Post Re: CAD, CAM, CNC etc.
Most of the parts for the cnc router have arrived (apart from the router :( ) in the post, my birthday lathe is here but needs a chuck for the tailstock before I can start doing useful stuff with it and I have a suitable computer ready and waiting for the interface card to arrive.

I've started work on building the Z axis, then will expand out to Y and X axes. This is partly a make-it-up-as-you-go-along project, though a nearly complete picture of the finished beast is in my head already. The HQ6600 stepper boards are still not designed but I have done some research on Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL) systems to extend tool life without spraying cutting fluid all over the workshop.

Finishing the soundtrack to Pipsqueak Studios' first masterpiece and preparing for doing some aluminium casting are also calling for some time to be spent on them. If only I didn't have to work for a living!

Kit


Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:38 pm
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