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thinfourth
25-07-2017, 07:10 AM
As a sad git i have a vague ambition to get/build myself a 3D router/plasma table.

Being a person with scale issues i normally go big as such there is not one single chance of one fitting in my current workshop.

The foundations for the new workshop (the wife thinks its garage:whistle:) have been laid

So at some point in the next few years i should be starting out

NOW

Is it a good idea to get a 3D printer to help learn the principles of moving a tool around a 3D space and using CAD?


I have a bridgeport manual mill so the idea of milling metal is not an alien one to me.

And for most of the stuff i am making at home i use CAD (Chalk Assisted Design) on the big welding table i have so to have something which forces me to use proper CAD might be a good idea

Clive S
25-07-2017, 09:30 AM
And for most of the stuff i am making at home i use CAD (Chalk Assisted Design) on the big welding table i have so to have something which forces me to use proper CAD might be a good idea

Hi and welcome to the forum. Personally I would get my head around a decent cad cam package from the start, Fusion360 is free for hobby use and has cam built in it also is very powerful. There are plenty tutorials on the web.
Have a look here:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5bc9c3S12g

Chaz
25-07-2017, 10:47 AM
As a sad git i have a vague ambition to get/build myself a 3D router/plasma table.

Being a person with scale issues i normally go big as such there is not one single chance of one fitting in my current workshop.

The foundations for the new workshop (the wife thinks its garage:whistle:) have been laid

So at some point in the next few years i should be starting out

NOW

Is it a good idea to get a 3D printer to help learn the principles of moving a tool around a 3D space and using CAD?


I have a bridgeport manual mill so the idea of milling metal is not an alien one to me.

And for most of the stuff i am making at home i use CAD (Chalk Assisted Design) on the big welding table i have so to have something which forces me to use proper CAD might be a good idea

A 3D printer is a very lazy way to understand CAM. You will find that it works differently, takes little effort to slice a part to generate the code whereas on a mill, you have to do a lot more thinking.

thinfourth
25-07-2017, 07:18 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum. Personally I would get my head around a decent cad cam package from the start, Fusion360 is free for hobby use and has cam built in it also is very powerful. There are plenty tutorials on the web.
Have a look here:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5bc9c3S12g

Okay

Currently to design something i can either spend some time learning fusion 360 OR i can grab a lump of chalk and draw it out on the bench.

I can work chalk perfectly

I can use the draw, circle and delete functions

Which is all of them

I have no need for using fusion 360 apart from when i occasionally send stuff off to a lazer cutter which is rare as it is expensive and a pain in the behind.

My thinking is if i have a 3D printer there is no shortcuts

I need to use fusion 360

So what else can i carry over from a 3d printer or is there no cross over whatsoever?

Chaz
25-07-2017, 07:19 PM
Okay

Currently to design something i can either spend some time learning fusion 360 OR i can grab a lump of chalk and draw it out on the bench.

I can work chalk perfectly

I can use the draw, circle and delete functions

Which is all of them

I have no need for using fusion 360 apart from when i occasionally send stuff off to a lazer cutter which is rare as it is expensive and a pain in the behind.

My thinking is if i have a 3D printer there is no shortcuts

I need to use fusion 360

So what else can i carry over from a 3d printer or is there no cross over whatsoever?

Very little crossover.

thinfourth
25-07-2017, 07:27 PM
So stuff learnt in fusion 360 for 3d printing will be no use whatsoever for a router/plasma

So what CAD package should i use as the 3D printing guys appear to like fusion 360

Ger21
25-07-2017, 07:32 PM
For 3D printing, you only need to use the CAD portion of Fusion 360.
For routing or milling, you need to use both the CAD and CAM portions.

For plasma, Fusion is overkill imo, as you really only need simple 2D CAD.

Zeeflyboy
26-07-2017, 08:12 PM
So stuff learnt in fusion 360 for 3d printing will be no use whatsoever for a router/plasma

So what CAD package should i use as the 3D printing guys appear to like fusion 360


I'm not sure that's true - familiarity with the program counts for something, and on the CAD side beyond keeping in mind the limitations/strengths of the particular manufacturing technology there is no difference in the fundamentals of designing an object whether its going to be printer/lasered/waterjetted/milled/whatever.

Sure the CAM side is redundant when using a 3D printer, but getting the hang of modelling I think it's a valid option... and designing the object in the first place is at least half the battle for people new to cad/cam. A workable if not stellar 3D printer can be had for not a lot these days and they are quite useful little beasts for jigs/fixtures in my experience.

thinfourth
26-07-2017, 10:03 PM
That is my thinking

That CAD is well CAD

So if i learn CAD for a 3D printer i am one step towards CAD for a 3D router

Unless folk are working on the assumption that everyone can use CAD

Zeeflyboy
26-07-2017, 10:11 PM
That would be my personal opinion, that the skills you learn in the CAD side are very much transferrable. The CAM side of course is like chalk and cheese, but having got to grips with CAD at least that's one less thing to worry about.

It's worth noting that it's not identical - certainly you have more freedom when making a design for 3D printing as it is very simple to print things with very complex shapes that would be a nightmare to machine on a 3 or even 4 axis, sometimes just impossible even on a 5 axis. Though your results are generally going to be much better if you design with an idea of how it will be printed and design accordingly regarding overhangs and angles to minimise use of support material or optimise strength.

When designing for a router/mill, more thought needs to be given to how you are actually going to make it while you design. That's the main difference in my mind, but the actual process of getting what is in your brain out into 3D space is ultimately the same.

EddyCurrent
27-07-2017, 04:33 PM
There are quite a few people who visit the CamBam forum; http://www.cambam.co.uk/forum/index.php and present items in 3D for milling. They have difficulty in seeing that only 2.5D is required and a flat dxf file is therefore more appropriate.
I also think there is a lack of understanding/experience regarding properties of materials and fabrication methods whereby complex objects can be built up from simple parts rather than trying to make it all out of one part.

For me, 3D printing is nowhere near as demanding as cnc routing, other than some CAD work not very much crosses over in my view, maybe just bad habits :friendly_wink:

thinfourth
27-07-2017, 08:03 PM
Well I own a bridgeport mill and a colchester student lathe

So i would say i have a reasonably good idea of what can and cannot be done with a traditional machine.

Now what do you mean by 2.5D?

EddyCurrent
27-07-2017, 11:47 PM
I was talking about the 3D printing people moving to cnc.

Desertboy
28-07-2017, 08:40 AM
I'd get a 3d printer as they're cheap as chips these days and play with the printer and cad until you're comfortable. I started with a 3d printer and what I learnt from the printer was enough to start my router build using my own design. I could already cad when I got the printer and the printer in no way improved my cad skills lol but it did teach me about linear motion, slides, etc.

A gantry router and most 3d printers are not so different really, unless you get a rostock or the like.

Learning how to cad is essential for the home enthusiast IMHO otherwise why do you want a cnc controlled machine?

m.marino
04-10-2017, 11:11 PM
ViaCAD Pro with the PowerPack gives you a basic slicer and also a reasonable CAD program that does NOT have the IP issues that Fusion360 has. I strongly suggest folks read T&C's before agreeing to things as theirs have a rather nasty bite to them. Yes it is a nice program. Over lap between the two is small and normally dealing with file type more than dealing with g-code or machining operations. I work in both worlds as my job and while some of my tools help each there is very different uses that both require. Blender is a good free tool but has a hill to climb to really get good with it.

I would ask yourself does drawing 3D model with the chalk give you enough to be able to look at all sides and see that one point that is not going to machine well? 3D printing has it's uses and they are many and varied. The current tech has metal printers up to 95% solid IF you believe the folks making the machines. CNC still rules the roost when it comes to time and production, unless you are dealing with a part that is extremely complex than and pretty much only then does a 3D printer out shine. IS that changing? Yes and 3D printing is moving forward very fast and very interesting. CNC is still a veru good way to go and there is a huge field that CNC is the only way to go, so no one is not going to remove the other.

Good luck on buckling down and getting CAD under your belt. Depending on what you are planning and what the budget is i can give rather good list from basic to professional that can get you where you want to go. Only expect atleast 2 weeks of serious study to get good at any CAD system.

Michael
MM0MSU

Zeeflyboy
05-10-2017, 06:19 PM
program that does NOT have the IP issues that Fusion360 has

What IP issues would those be exactly?


Any designs/IP you create using Fusion are completely yours. If you look at the terms of service for Fusion, Section 2.1 starts with
"2. CONTENT.
2.1 Your Content is Yours. You maintain ownership of and responsibility for Your Content and responsibility for Your conduct while using the Service Offering."

http://www.autodesk.com/company/legal-notices-trademarks/terms-of-service-autodesk360-web-services/autodesk-360-terms-of-service


The only real issue I can see comes to security if doing work for an agency that has requirements as to how data relating to their projects is stored... specifically regarding on site storage/encryption which would be an issue with the way fusion runs it's could services. Unlikely to be an issue for any hobby enthusiast!