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Ricardoco
25-08-2010, 06:45 PM
Hi all, well as some of you may know, Ive got the machine (well almost:naughty:), Ive got mach3, now comes the interesting bit,:eek:, What other software will i need to bring this machine to life making things and make life easier, im not talking thousands of pounds, but im not talking pennies either, im totaly noob at the other software :whistling:so please give explanations as to why you think your choice of software is best given any restrictions, remembering i dont want to go back to college but im not stupid either,But Im prepared to start simple, Ok lets see whats on offer and why:question:

Rick:smile:

FatFreddie
25-08-2010, 07:57 PM
CamBam - easy to use but quite powerful.
Good built in drawing editor but will import DXF.
Great machining support with hierarchical styles so you don't have to reinvent the wheel all the time
Good support forum.
Reasonable price
Free trial
www.cambam.co.uk - look on the forum under announcements for the latest version
Still in beta but don't let that put you off - it's ready for use just evolving a bit.

GeorgeD
25-08-2010, 08:03 PM
You have already got the donkey work program,Rick...the other software is just the modeller I think?

I've got MastercamX and it doesn't take me long to get my head round a program but this one is proving a long haul to fully understand it,I suppose all software of a CAD nature is the same.

I like its layout and it can export DXF files wich Mach3 needs....can't really recommend any others as I don'thave em. :lol:

Robin Hewitt
25-08-2010, 09:11 PM
What do you want to make?

John S
25-08-2010, 09:44 PM
You have already got the donkey work program,Rick...the other software is just the modeller I think?

I've got MastercamX and it doesn't take me long to get my head round a program but this one is proving a long haul to fully understand it,I suppose all software of a CAD nature is the same.

I like its layout and it can export DXF files wich Mach3 needs....can't really recommend any others as I don'thave em. :lol:

You are bitching over a 3.75 billet of alloy, no machine yet but you have an 8,000 CAM program ?

.

routercnc
25-08-2010, 09:49 PM
If you are thinking 2D stuff, then I can recommend Vectric Cut2D, ~117. It's more visual than CAMBAM, and I prefer it although CAMBAM is also good. Also has a good forum and support. Vectric will take your DXF file from a CAD program and create toolpaths and then Gcode. It also has some basic CAD functions. Free demo which allows you to cut out some examples on your machine to make sure it all works.

http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/cut2D/c2d_index.htm
http://www.vectric.com/forum/

George, I'm sure you didn't mean it like that but to clarify I don't think Mach3 will take DXF files directly, needs toolpath and Gcode creation in between.

GeorgeD
25-08-2010, 09:50 PM
:lol::lol:

NoJohn,I'm bitching over a company trying to rip joe bloggs off...how can they say a 2 mtr length of box section is an offcut? pmsl.

GeorgeD
25-08-2010, 09:59 PM
You're on the ball tonight,RCNC...yes you're right,my mistake.:redface:

John S
25-08-2010, 10:01 PM
:lol::lol:

NoJohn,I'm bitching over a company trying to rip joe bloggs off...how can they say a 2 mtr length of box section is an offcut? pmsl.

If the mill length is 7 metres then a 2 metre length is an off cut. I just bought 2.3 metres of 90mm black round as an offcut as I can't handle a 7 metre length of it as regards weight and getting it on the saw.

.

routercnc
25-08-2010, 10:25 PM
Let's steer this back to Ricardoco's question. Any more software ideas for CAD and toolpath/Gcode?

Ricardoco, as Robin has mentioned if you post what you want to make then the answers will be tailored to your requirements. 2D, 3D, sheet metal, etc.

John S
25-08-2010, 10:35 PM
Yes sorry about that.

We still really need feedback, no good suggesting Mastercam X if all he wants to do is cut engraved dog tags.
I use a few different programs and tend to pick one that suits the job. I have Cambam but to be honest I have never got round the playing with it to learn it correctly instead I tend to rely on programs I have more experiance with.

Anything fancy involving text or what I class as Arty Farty, and no disrespect here, I use VCarve Pro from Vectric.

2 1/2D work on engineering parts I use either Dolphin or Sharpcam, both very similar and you can fine tune them to get the best tool path.

3D work which I try to avoid as much as possible I use an early version of Sprutcam, decent program but a very large learning curve.

.

Normsthename
25-08-2010, 11:56 PM
Vectrics Vcarve and CUT3D will do pretty much everything :smile:

Andy

Jonathan
26-08-2010, 12:20 AM
I've just come across 'Freemill'. Installing it now. Here's the direct link to save you signing up (not that that's any trouble):
http://www.cncportal.com/FreeMILLInstaller_1.0.1.exe

Jonathan
26-08-2010, 12:25 AM
Wow, it's *incredibly* similar to QuickCAMpro by Denford, to the point you might say one copied the other....except QuickCAMpro costs money and has a few more options!

John S
26-08-2010, 01:12 AM
Very similar to Vectric's Cut3D although Vectric has more control over the part and tooling, you can do a roughing path and finishing path with a second tool.

BTW I tried tried Freemill but it refuses to post saying "Failed to write to external file " ?

Ricardoco
26-08-2010, 04:14 PM
Sorry its taken a while to reply, Work!!! Some people have asked what i would like to use the machine for, well obviously i would like to use the machine within and upto its limitations but if i must commit myself I would like to be able to produce a few motorcycle parts including fork yolks (I do a little motorcycle restoration), Aluminium being the order of the day, some parts complex and some not so, Maybe in the begining i will do some wood test pieces. I would like also to be able to produce logo's with text on the pieces... I suppose what i would like is for the system to ask me a number of questions defining my basic requirements with fine tuning after that, as ive no experience, if thats not possible then i leave it upto your superior wisdom

Hope that helps a little..

Ricardoco
27-08-2010, 03:03 AM
Ive looked at Vectric Aspire, Its a nice piece of software with cool videos, I Reckon I could be using that in no time but the price is just too high, maybe once i get more experience i will go with something like that but for the moment..... NOooo...

Rick

GeorgeD
27-08-2010, 04:22 AM
I would like to be able to produce a few motorcycle parts including fork yolksDo eggs play a part in the components of a bike,Rick??

Sorry couldn't resist that one. :naughty:

It was meant to be a Yoke :smile:

Ricardoco
27-08-2010, 05:45 AM
Do eggs play a part in the components of a bike,Rick??

Sorry couldn't resist that one. :naughty:

It was meant to be a Yoke :smile:

LOL dont you ever sleep??? and as I said 2mins.....

Jonathan
27-08-2010, 11:33 AM
Having looked just at a picture of a motorbike yoke I I'm pretty sure you could make that quite easily with the free version of CAMbam.

GeorgeD
27-08-2010, 02:03 PM
LOL dont you ever sleep???I had a few hours on the couch before I posted that,she left sleeping there instead of giving me a thump for bed...maybe she had an headache :rofl::naughty:

No ones mentioned Google sketchup,have not triedit but I'm sure it'll work? and does export/import DXF files?

http://sketchup.google.com/

Ricardoco
28-08-2010, 05:11 PM
Im surprised there are not more opinions on this subject, Maybe i have asked the wrong questions???

Robin Hewitt
28-08-2010, 10:43 PM
Im surprised there are not more opinions on this subject, Maybe i have asked the wrong questions???

We all have opinions :whistling:

I tried several packages, it's a sort of quest. None of them would let me do what I wanted the way I wanted it, so eventually I gave up and wrote my own :naughty:

Now whenever I get stuck for a feature or hit a bug I have the source code so I am no longer helpless :smile:

Ricardoco
29-08-2010, 10:22 AM
so eventually I gave up and wrote my own :naughty:

:smile:

:surprised: :eek:

routercnc
29-08-2010, 11:19 AM
I suspect people use the same bits of s/ware, hence not a big list. From your parts cut wish list, I would say that Aspire is more than you need. To summarise some options:

For CAD here are some suggestions:
BobCAD (also has some CAM)
RhinoCAD
AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT etc.
Solidworks

For toolpath creation and Gcode creation here are some 2D options:
Cut2D (also has some CAD creation)
Sheetcam (never used)
Cambam (also has some CAD creation)
[You may have found Lazycam - wouldn't bother with this]

and 3D toolpath and gcode options (sounds like you will be OK with just 2D, which is cheaper):
Cut3D
VCarve

For postprocessing and cutting out your work:
Mach3 (PC)
EMC2 (Linux)

I use AutoCAD2000, VectricCUT2D, and Mach3 for my workflow and it does all my 2D work with ease. Hope this gives you something to investigate further.

John S
29-08-2010, 11:47 AM
Im surprised there are not more opinions on this subject, Maybe i have asked the wrong questions???

Ok I'll try to be more helpful but other than fork yokes you haven't told us anything and fork yokes can be done on any of the cheaper CAM programs.

In no order and you will have to do the homework on Google for links.

Vectric Cut2D
Sheetcam
Cambam
Dolphin
Sharpcam

All these cost.

One free way with a bit of furkling about is to download the demo of Flashcut, this is a program similar to Mach in that it's a controller and requires a 1,000 signal box to work however the CAM side is not restricted as you need the box.

So load your DXF into Flashcut, answer all the boxes, tool, feeds, speeds etc and it will generate the code but won't cut it because there is no box.

Sooooooo, do a copy paste into Mach and you are away.

.

Ricardoco
29-08-2010, 12:43 PM
Ok I'll try to be more helpful but other than fork yokes you haven't told us anything and fork yokes can be done on any of the cheaper CAM programs..

Fork yokes was just an example, Do I have to learn CAD before i can progress? Bit like the chicken and egg question as I dont know what the machine is capable of, Im not sure what I will be doing, but if i have to wittle it down to its most basic i would have to just say 3D aluminium I suppose.
All i would like to know really is where would a beginner begin? i have looked at many of the programs suggested, I do keep returning to the aspire page because looking the tutorial videos I can see that this software is within my capabilities, Cut3d and Vcarve do look very capable. Im not too worried about buying software, but suggestions like Autocad and solidworks would not be helpfull... I am happy to hear peoples experiences with the more sensibly priced software with a lesser learning curve and maybe this will help me make the decision on what to spend my dollar on..


In no order and you will have to do the homework on Google for links.

Vectric Cut2D
Sheetcam
Cambam
Dolphin
Sharpcam

All these cost.

One free way with a bit of furkling about is to download the demo of Flashcut, this is a program similar to Mach in that it's a controller and requires a 1,000 signal box to work however the CAM side is not restricted as you need the box.

So load your DXF into Flashcut, answer all the boxes, tool, feeds, speeds etc and it will generate the code but won't cut it because there is no box.

Sooooooo, do a copy paste into Mach and you are away.

.


From what i understand I use a CAD program to produce a model...or DXF file
I then use a CAM program and the DXF file to prepeare and convert the DXF file to G-Code
I then use Mach to interpret the G-Code into movements that produce the part on my machine.

Other than that there are the multi use programs CAD/CAM sort of stuff..

My knowlege is basic as i said...

Jonathan
29-08-2010, 12:57 PM
All i would like to know really is where would a beginner begin?

I think you should try making a few bits with the free version of Cambam - I've done quite a lot with it and it seems good / user friendly.




From what i understand I use a CAD program to produce a model...or DXF file
I then use a CAM program and the DXF file to prepeare and convert the DXF file to G-Code
I then use Mach to interpret the G-Code into movements that produce the part on my machine.


Yes, nicely summarised.

robmurf
08-12-2010, 10:01 PM
Hi Folks
New to machining, new to CNC, new to CAD/CAM software, jeez even new to forums! Is this called thread reviving? :confused: Anyway...

I want to make parts like this (http://tinyurl.com/333qub7) out of Aluminium and I am trying to learn as much as I can. Based on research, I THINK I'm gonna go with Vectric 2D and Mach3 (trying demo version of former, no where near trying the latter because...) My big question is...

Any tips on what machine to go for?? Info as follows... The link above (clickable links in Google docs of jpegs + a DXF of a part I made in Scketchup) will show you a sample of the kind of part I want to make. These will be non engineering type parts, i.e. ultra precision NOT needed, tolerance +/- 0.1 mm or so (?) and the sample above is likely the biggest single piece I'd need to machine.

Might sound naive but I really want to try and get set up with as 'plug and play' a system as I can get.... Machines I've read about so far are Marchant and Dice and the entry machine from the folks at CNC-Step.

ANY guidance, advice, tips REALLY REALLY appreciated!! :smile: :smile:

Thanks in advance and GREAT site! :clap:

Oh! budget for machine up to 2k :eek: A LOT of dosh for me so SCARY!

Rob :o)

M250cnc
08-12-2010, 10:39 PM
I can't see any files.

Phil

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk

robmurf
08-12-2010, 11:45 PM
I can't see any files.

Phil



Hiya, the tinyurl works ok of for me here's the long version!

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B5QMbYuoTUnBYTZlOTMwNmQtZWZjNS00NTIxLTllO GItNWVkMDFmNTBjY2Yz&hl=en

Thanks!

Rob

M250cnc
09-12-2010, 08:28 AM
Hi Folks
New to machining, new to CNC, new to CAD/CAM software, jeez even new to forums! Is this called thread reviving? :confused: Anyway..

Oh! budget for machine up to 2k :eek: A LOT of dosh for me so SCARY!

Rob :o)

Rob,

Based on what you say I'd say forget it.

The MD machine is a router type machine which is classed as engraving, light milling (sheet)

You need a mill RTR way over your budget before you even think of buying software.

Then there is the learning curve, it can be years.

If you want that part made get a quote.

But if you just want to just learn the wonderful art of engineering then go for it.

Phil

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk

robmurf
09-12-2010, 12:09 PM
Hiya M250

I thought one of these small machines could do milling work vs. just engraving, in ally IF you were in no hurry! I.e. cut it fairly slowly? Thought too it was the type of kit RC model makers would use etc for making small bits out of aluminium.

Vectric c2D is about 175 and Mach3 the same? Didn't seem too bad...

Anyway, thanks for taking time to reply, much appreciated!

:o)

M250cnc
09-12-2010, 01:13 PM
Rob,

This is where your inexperience shows (But Good You Are Asking Questions), those router type machines use high speed spindles.

You need drilling on your part its very difficult to do drilling as you run out of Z axis clearance not to mention drilling at 8K rpm min

To take on bigger cuts in any material the machine must be built stronger than the material you are cutting and in IMHO those machines are too flimsy.

I have two mills one a manual Bridgeport that weighs about a ton and a benchtop that weighs 1/5 of a ton

Check out how much those router machines weigh, although you may get the job done the finish will be poor.

Just giving the facts so don't shoot the messenger.

Phil

robmurf
09-12-2010, 01:48 PM
Hi Phil
Thanks again for the feedback and very sorry, no shooting of messenger type attitude was intended!!

I understand need for solidness in the machining platform but again I thought these machines could go a bit beyond engraving and could even do finishing type cuts. This fella here seems to be using the entry level machine to mill ally pretty well?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbwugbkMcEg&feature=related

If he's be believed, it's a High-Z S-400, not even their 'T' model which is faster. Of course he has a pretty nice ELTE spindle on there vs. the router which is a fairly serious upgrade I guess and pretty expensive too boot, I guess?

Rob :o)

M250cnc
09-12-2010, 02:22 PM
Rob,

No offence taken, but and its a big but that machine is double your budget adding in the software and it only has a low duty spindle

And its only taking shallow cuts, as soon as you start increasing the thickness of cut the problems will show up.

Phil

blackburn mark
09-12-2010, 09:13 PM
Rob,

No offence taken, but and its a big but that machine is double your budget adding in the software and it only has a low duty spindle

And its only taking shallow cuts, as soon as you start increasing the thickness of cut the problems will show up.

Phil

:eek: im kind of hoping your not entirly right phil, iv spent about 2k and although i dont intend to cut to much alli im hoping it will if i need it to
im thinking small cuts will be fine.... thats the beauty of cnc (if its running well) press go have a cup of tea watch some telly scratch your arse and swagger back into the shed with a de-burring tool to a nice shiney finished part :smile:

robmurf
09-12-2010, 11:38 PM
:eek: im kind of hoping your not entirly right phil, iv spent about 2k

Hiya Mark
Can I ask what you spent your 2k to get CNC's up?

blackburn mark
10-12-2010, 12:05 AM
hi rob..... errrrrr i might be lieing a bit..... we'll find out (ish)
25mm thk slides for the X and Y 20mm thk Z 250 ish
1605 ballscrews 300 ish
heavy extrusion 500 ish
20mm alli plate 400 ish
5 axis chinese stepper kit+power supply 260 ish
ball nut housings 150
so far thats 1860
im pretty sure iv spent at least 100 building 3 spindles including buying the speed controller
theres easy another 100 on odds and sods like timing pullies micro switches cable
i could be looking at 2100/2200
it might be more though,,,,, stuff has a way of sneaking under the raydar :)
have a read of "fingers crossed it'll cut ally" you might spot somthing in there that iv missed

its quite an exspensive one for a first build but im pretty sure i wont need to build it again and its a lot cheaper than buying one off the shelf

robmurf
10-12-2010, 01:26 AM
Yeah it's scary when you add stuff up, best not to do it huh! Good luck with it fella! My only option is an off the shelf machine as building one would take me 47 years and would make my brain explode...

M250cnc
10-12-2010, 11:16 AM
:eek: im kind of hoping your not entirly right phil, iv spent about 2k and although i dont intend to cut to much alli im hoping it will if i need it to

Hi Mark,

I hope I'm wrong too.

Phil

m.marino
12-01-2011, 04:43 PM
Well,

Let's weigh in here with an "off the shelf unit" which is an MDL-2-TR-UN from Kevin at World of CNC (Marchant Dice by another name). Yes I can cut ally'. Slow as in 300mm/min max cut speed and 4mm depth and using a hand held spray unit for mist with cutting oil to keep heat down. Spindle is a Kress 1050W standard model (have not slaved it to Mach3 yet) and yes Mach is the control software. Object and g-code generated by V23 BobCAD/CAM though have also used V21 to do similar work. Clean up is a pain and I hate cutting metals with it at present due to the noise issue and not having the spindle under full control except for the E-stop.

Software depends on what you are going to be using it for and how detailed you need to be. I am right now trying out T-Flex CAD/CAM package as BobCAD has moved to V24 and I am not interested in upgrade at present. So for myself and the fact that I am going to need to be able to generate drawings for some of the stuff I am designing, looking to move to a new more complete (for myself) package. Vector makes good software, very good to be honest, just for some reason I can't rap my head around how they do parts of their system.

Best suggestion is work with one of us to set up a design of a good ridge system (you can get that to large extent without high mass with modern materials).

Now a down side or two on the set up I have. There is .01mm variation in levelness that I have not been able to correct in the table along the short distance and even doing set up on a perfectly flat surface I have not been able to get that out completely. Trapezoidal Lead Screws have limits and ball screws are worth the up grade. you want a minimum of 100mm Z not the 50 mm this model comes with and personally would suggest 150mm as minimum but that is me. That also means you need the gantry to be extra ridge to reduce any chance of flex in Z (trust me you don't even want to go there).

So that is real life and what I have done. I cut mainly 3d objects the 2.5D method (set up, cut, flip, and cut other side). I have designed a clamp to allow me better centering though will be looking to get the Ally' to cut the pieces soon. Out side of software upgrades the next items on the list are getting the spindle under board control (going the DIYCNC equipment route) and a higher quality spindle that can handle lower rpm's (for cutting acrylic, to fast and it melts and don't have an coolant system set up yet).

Endmill's are from Sorotec out of Germany and they have a good bit of kit at reasonable prices (I have no interest in any of these companies mentioned). Current control boards are all DIYCNC equipment and very happy with them and extremely easy to set up.