View Full Version : Where to start?

23-10-2009, 09:57 AM
Hi All

I want to start producing my own cad drawings and practising the process of creating machining code and very gradually start assembling the experience and hardware necessary to convert a manual mill to CNC operation as I would like to start producing some 2d/3d parts.

I was hoping you guys would be able to suggest a path for me to follow and the systems to use.

To check my current simplified understanding.

1) I produce a drawing 2d/3d in a CAD system and export it as a particular format
2) Import the CAD file into a CAM system which helps/produces G Code (at this point simulations can be done?)
3) The G code file produced is imported into some machine control software that does the doing part of it.

From what Iíve read there are combination programs available, and for a starting point Iíd thought of using the Mach 3 software to run the machine.

My questions is where do I start, I was thinking of starting with AutoCAD, is this a suitable starting point? I want to make sure Iím going to start with something that going to be compatible further down the line to make learning easier, I donít mind buying the software as I currently do a lot of technical drawing for a few other projects that currently a friend often coverts them into CAD drawings for me using solid works, but this is very expensive.

I want the CAD system to capable of designing 2d and 3d parts and be well supported.

Any comments or feedback appreciated


23-10-2009, 11:40 AM
Hi Brendan,

I just had to approve this post (as moderator) as it contained HTML tags that triggered the spam protection (otherwise only you and the mods would have seen it). Are you using MSWord or similar to create the post then copying it in?


23-10-2009, 12:02 PM
ah i know why, i wrote the text in outlook, looks better when your at work to be using outlook than surfing the net!:heehee:

23-10-2009, 12:12 PM
Also Outlook has a spell check :)

ah i know why, i wrote the text in outlook, looks better when your at work to be using outlook than surfing the net!:heehee:

23-10-2009, 01:28 PM
<OT>I have a spell check, its called IESpell and is a free plug in for IE... there are others for Firefox etc. as well...</OT>

Lee Roberts
24-10-2009, 09:22 PM
There is also an "http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/images/editor/spelling.gif" button on the reply box's for these forums that will pull up that spell checker as well.

25-10-2009, 09:42 AM
thanks for the replies on siellchcking:smile: but can anyone help with the original question?


25-10-2009, 12:28 PM
Hi You can get a free version DoubleCAD xt that is very similar to Autocad lite which I also have (205 version) but it will not run on my Vista pc.

also read drawing to g-code - MYCNCUK number 5 from JohnS.
So you should be able to try things for nowt as they say.

I would like a newer version of Autocad lite but think I can find better things to spend £1200 on.(tools etc)


25-10-2009, 02:09 PM
Thanks peter

yes 1200 is a awfull lot of money and to be honest I was looking at a much earlier version off eBay at 50 quid.


25-10-2009, 03:41 PM
It may be cheap but read the run requireements list as Autocad is very windows version specific and will sulk at the first oportunity!!!.:thumbdown:.


John S
25-10-2009, 07:01 PM
There are plenty of free, no strings attached programs for download on the web.
It's only when you get up to 3D and CAM you start having to shell out.