View Full Version : few qs for a newbie

30-12-2010, 02:26 PM
hi iam making a cnc plasma but ive started to look at the software i will need and i need help lol. ive been told sheetcam is good software. but for a plasma do i need a cad program to draw the parts then a gcode program to convert the drawing into code then a controller program like mach3 to output to the plasma :confused: can you get a all in one program that makes things easyer as it seems a lot of messing about.

30-12-2010, 03:22 PM
The general order of the process is to:
1. Draw the part in Cad and save as a dxf file.
2. Open the dxf in a Cam program like SheetCam (excellent program)
3. Configure the operations in SheetCam and
4. "Post" the process which generates the appropriate G-code file for your Controller such as Mach3
5. Open the G-Code file from step 4 in your Controller and run it.

Yes, there are some expensive Cad/Cam programs that will combine steps 1-4, but as far as I am concerned, are way out of the cost justification for most of us.
While it seems to be a bit of messing about, once you become familiar with it, it is rather easy to do.
Also in my experience, a program that can "do it all" many times can do none of it well. Having separate programs allows you to mix and match to suit your preferences.

Hope this is helpful

30-12-2010, 08:36 PM
ive got hold of autocad 2008 and it seems easy now ive been messing for a few hours, all i need now is sheetcam and mach3.

30-12-2010, 08:42 PM
Be sure to save your dxf files as V14 it at all possible as not all dxf versions are the same. I had a problem with some newer versions until Les suggested using an older one. I helped somebody else a while back and in his cad, we had to go back to V12! So experiment and see what happens.
Sheetcam and Mach demo's are fully functional except for a limited run length.
Good luck and have fun:})

31-12-2010, 11:49 AM
ive not got that far yet lol. theres a lot of functions to get used to in cad i could spend a year just learning what everything does lol.
thanks for your help.

31-12-2010, 02:36 PM
Yes these programs tend to be very powerful, but in my experience, I only use about 10% of what is available to do my task at hand. Just give a shout if you run into a problem and we will try to help.