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dudz
05-11-2012, 02:37 PM
I have bought a Used 3 axis CNC/router. I am going to use the 2.2kw Chinese Spindle and VFD.

Please can someone advise me to which 2D design software to use with Mach3 ? I would also like to use free online Cad files to make stuff too, so I guess I need software that converts these files to G code ?
Please bear with me, I am new to CNC/router software.

I want to mill small pieces of Alu and wood and engrave some work.

wilfy
05-11-2012, 03:54 PM
this seems to be the one area thats lacking both discussions and tutorials... how do u get your drawing down and then transfer it to your machine???

Ricardoco
05-11-2012, 04:58 PM
I have bought a Used 3 axis CNC/router. I am going to use the 2.2kw Chinese Spindle and VFD.

Please can someone advise me to which 2D design software to use with Mach3 ? I would also like to use free online Cad files to make stuff too, so I guess I need software that converts these files to G code ?
Please bear with me, I am new to CNC/router software.

I want to mill small pieces of Alu and wood and engrave some work. I started using V-Carve pro which has a free download and virtual code run, to see what it will make in three Dee, as for Mach3 i just made lots of files to get the part i needed and once i was satisfied i Bought the sorfware, best thing i ever did... easy to learn how to use it ...you tube tutorials.. Magic..

Rick

Jonathan
05-11-2012, 05:09 PM
If you're after free software then for 2.5D machining and engraving then CAMbam (http://www.cambam.info/downloads/) free edition is pretty good. You'll be able to import drawings from most programs into it since it accepts .dxf format.
For more complicated 3D parts your options are more limited, CNC Toolkit (http://www.cnc-toolkit.com/) is one which can do just about anything (3D models, V-carving etc) but isn't the easiest to use.

To control the machine LinuxCNC (http://linuxcnc.org/) is excellent and contrary to popular belief, is no longer hard to configure. If you need help with any of these programs just ask...

martin54
05-11-2012, 05:20 PM
Did you get my PM Wilfy? Can't speak for dedicated cnc stuff but any design program like corel or illustrator will produce vector files which can be exported as a dxf file. A cam program such as cambam or lazycam to produce the gcode & then mach3 to run the g code which the machine understands. Depends what you want to do really, some software is really easy to use other software is more difficult to learn but is far more versatile. Jonathan says there is a free version of cambam & lazycam is free from arcsoft but don't think there is that much support for it so you may be on your own learning how to use it.

njhussey
05-11-2012, 05:27 PM
If you want to do your own drawings then Draftsight is free and almost as good as AutoCAD.

Jonathan
05-11-2012, 05:32 PM
Students and some other people can get a free version of autocad:
Autodesk Education Community (http://students.autodesk.com/)

martin54
05-11-2012, 05:35 PM
If you want to do your own drawings then Draftsight is free and almost as good as AutoCAD.

Yes but how easy is it to learn & are there tutorials available for it Neil, I'm lucky in that I can just use my signmaking software so that's at least one thing i won't have to learn lol.
Suppose it is down to each individual but personally I am prepared to pay a reasonable price for software if it comes with the right support especially if it is going to be used to make money.

njhussey
05-11-2012, 05:47 PM
I did a Mech Eng degree so used Autocad and this is pretty similar (although they do call some functions different things) but if you've go no experience then, as with anything I guess, it can be a bit of a steep learning curve. It's by the people who do Solidworks and there are tutorials on the web, they do a 186 page getting started PDF which does what it says on the tin!

DraftSight Functionality Tutorial Videos - Dassault Systèmes (http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/resource-center/videos/functionality-tutorial/)

http://www.3ds.com/fileadmin/PRODUCTS/DRAFT_SIGHT/PDF/GETTING-STARTED-GUIDE.pdf

Musht
05-11-2012, 11:37 PM
Nearly newbies view so far .... 2/2.5D toolpath generation, CamBam is pretty good, full flavour version runs for 40 starts before needing purchase , but will sit miinmised happily.

Inkscape is free vector based drawing with good inbuilt bitmap tracing from Portrace

Inkscape. Draw Freely. (http://inkscape.org/)

DXF export improved with

Big Blue Saw - Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape (http://www.bigbluesaw.com/saw/big-blue-saw-blog/general-updates/big-blue-saws-dxf-export-for-inkscape.html)

Engraving and V Carving F-Engrave:

http://home.comcast.net/~sskroch/Fengrave/fengrave.html

For more engineering drawing, ViaCad 2D/3D,not free , good DXF export in 2d and Sketchuo style push/pull tool for 3D

ViaCAD 2D/3D | Consumer CAD Software | PunchCAD (http://www.punchcad.com/p-9-viacad-2d3d-v8.aspx)

Site worth looking around

cnc4free.org homepage (http://www.cnc4free.org/)

Ricardoco
05-11-2012, 11:49 PM
Yes but how easy is it to learn & are there tutorials available for it Neil, I'm lucky in that I can just use my signmaking software so that's at least one thing i won't have to learn lol.
Suppose it is down to each individual but personally I am prepared to pay a reasonable price for software if it comes with the right support especially if it is going to be used to make money.

I still think you should have a look here...

Download Trial Versions and Tutorials (http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/products/download_products.htm)

There are video Tutorials to get you started on the sample files and you can import DXF files easily. its a really magic program although not for everyone you can be cutting to see how you feel about it long before you part with any money.. Whats it going to cost you?? and although it seems like it is for wood that isnt the case

Rick

martin54
06-11-2012, 12:23 AM
I still think you should have a look here...

Download Trial Versions and Tutorials (http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/products/download_products.htm)

There are video Tutorials to get you started on the sample files and you can import DXF files easily. its a really magic program although not for everyone you can be cutting to see how you feel about it long before you part with any money.. Whats it going to cost you?? and although it seems like it is for wood that isnt the case

Rick

So what are you suggesting rick, sorry must be an old age thing lol. Are you suggesting that I use cut2d to generate the g code instead of something like cambam or lazycam. Quite happy to look at anything that people suggest as you say it doesn't cost anything to have a look & I might find I get on better with that than something else.
Lazycam came free with mach3 but I have to be honest & say that I haven't really looked at either of them yet, I did read that there was next to no support with lazycam so maybe not the best, still need to get the machine finished yet so no big rush to just now.

Ricardoco
06-11-2012, 12:34 AM
So what are you suggesting rick, sorry must be an old age thing lol. Are you suggesting that I use cut2d to generate the g code instead of something like cambam or lazycam. Quite happy to look at anything that people suggest as you say it doesn't cost anything to have a look & I might find I get on better with that than something else.
Lazycam came free with mach3 but I have to be honest & say that I haven't really looked at either of them yet, I did read that there was next to no support with lazycam so maybe not the best, still need to get the machine finished yet so no big rush to just now.

Well you can try Cut3d but I used Vcarve first and it did all the ali parts for one of my mills and it was easy to learn, Its about the easiest one i came across because the tutorials were great and the support from the company was great too and that was before i even bought the full version of V-carve.

As far as im concerned it let me generate g-code for mach3 without the huge learning curve, and with the toolpath simulation being built in i got to see what it cut before it even got to mach3

Its best to just have a look at what people have been making and down load a copy to have a play with im sure you wont be dissapointed but if its not for you then you have lost nothing, as i said its not for everyone..

Its also good for doing the designs in the vcarve program itself if you havnt got a dxf file

Rick

Ricardoco
06-11-2012, 12:42 AM
Give me a basic design idea and i will show you how quick it can do the trick some measurements of a fictional part will do...

Rick

martin54
06-11-2012, 12:46 AM
Thanks Rick, have to be honest, I wasn't really looking at 3D software as I wasn't sure it would be of much use to me so as there is quite a big difference in price I just stuck with the 2D/2.5D stuff.

Like you say there is nothing to be lost by having a look & as I am not in a big rush just now i can take a bit of time to look at it & see how I get on with it.

Ricardoco
06-11-2012, 01:04 AM
Hey no problem, i dont work for them or anything i was just so impressed with the software...

7312

Have a screen shot of a simulation cut anyhow lol

Rick

martin54
06-11-2012, 12:18 PM
Hey no problem, i dont work for them or anything i was just so impressed with the software...

7312

Have a screen shot of a simulation cut anyhow lol

Rick

Rick you need to open the kerning up on that a bit plus it needs a bit more negative space lol

Ricardoco
06-11-2012, 02:30 PM
Rick you need to open the kerning up on that a bit plus it needs a bit more negative space lol


LOL ... Only ten mins from concept to G-Code, mistakes are to be expected.....

Rick

martin54
06-11-2012, 08:20 PM
So how does the trial version work then Rick? Sure it must be on their website but just skim read it for now.
Is it on a number of uses like cambam, a limited time period like say 30 days or is it a full version but there are things you can't do like cut your own files ??

Jonathan
06-11-2012, 08:36 PM
The trial version limits you to only cutting their sample files:

'With the trial versions of the software you can cut sample files on your own machine'


LOL ... Only ten mins from concept to G-Code, mistakes are to be expected.....

10 minutes for that - you need to increase your pointer speed :emmersed:

martin54
06-11-2012, 09:43 PM
The trial version limits you to only cutting their sample files:

'With the trial versions of the software you can cut sample files on your own machine'



10 minutes for that - you need to increase your pointer speed :emmersed:

Thanks Jonathan, bit like the signmaking software I have then, can design anything I want but can't cut it.

10 mins isn't bad, don't forget that included logging out the forum, going to the workshop (call of nature on the way) starting the workshop computer, creating the file, saving it to a memory stick, shutting down the workshop computer, back to the house, logging back in to the forum & uploading the file.

wilfy
06-11-2012, 10:16 PM
i presume to get the angle in his letters you tell the software you are using a 45 angle bit?

Jonathan
07-11-2012, 12:09 AM
i presume to get the angle in his letters you tell the software you are using a 45 angle bit?

Yes you have to specify the dimensions of the tool, which includes the angle. Doesn't have to be 45 degrees...

martin54
07-11-2012, 01:47 AM
Ok I've downloaded the trial version & the tutorials so I can have a better look, although I will have a good look at vcarve I will probably end up buying just cut2d. I don't really want any more design software as I am confident with what I already use & as it will export in all the formats that cut2d is able to import I don't see the point unless vcarve has some major advantages.
Already got mach3 so it's just a case of sorting out which cam software works best for me.

I could see how vcarve would be a good choice for someone without any software at all & needs to learn everything from scratch. Seems to be well priced as well if you are looking to use it for business.

Ricardoco
08-11-2012, 04:46 PM
10 mins isn't bad, don't forget that included logging out the forum, going to the workshop (call of nature on the way) starting the workshop computer, creating the file, saving it to a memory stick, shutting down the workshop computer, back to the house, logging back in to the forum & uploading the file.

Dont forget the cuppa i made in the middle.. :)

Rick

wilfy
08-11-2012, 05:44 PM
ok guys at what point does something become either 2D, 2.5D or 3D??? any examples of each??

martin54
08-11-2012, 07:18 PM
Not sure I understand it either Wilfy, my understanding was that if something was flat say like a circle drawn on a piece of paper it was 2D because it had length & height but no depth, 3D was something that had both length, height & depth so the same circle cut from a solid block of material was 3D.
2.5D was something that had width & height & the illusion of depth as used in computer games when flat objects appeared to have depth.
Problem with that is people talk about 2D machining but I can't understand how it can be 2D when you are creating a 3D shape lol

Ricardoco
09-11-2012, 10:04 PM
Not sure I understand it either Wilfy, my understanding was that if something was flat say like a circle drawn on a piece of paper it was 2D because it had length & height but no depth, 3D was something that had both length, height & depth so the same circle cut from a solid block of material was 3D.
2.5D was something that had width & height & the illusion of depth as used in computer games when flat objects appeared to have depth.
Problem with that is people talk about 2D machining but I can't understand how it can be 2D when you are creating a 3D shape lol


From what I understand you cannot cut true 3d with a conventional 3 axis machine without repositioning the material after an inital cut. Only 2.5D and some 3D IE: a 3 Axis machine can cut a cube that sits flat on one of its planes, it cannot however cut the same cube sitting on one of its corners and it cannot cut a sphere without a special tool ( a partail 4th axis..)


Rick

martin54
09-11-2012, 11:40 PM
From what I understand you cannot cut true 3d with a conventional 3 axis machine without repositioning the material after an inital cut. Only 2.5D and some 3D IE: a 3 Axis machine can cut a cube that sits flat on one of its planes, it cannot however cut the same cube sitting on one of its corners and it cannot cut a sphere without a special tool ( a partail 4th axis..)


Rick

That's why it is confusing Rick because the cube you have just said you could cut is 3D so a 3 axis machine can cut 3D shapes BUT it is obviously limited in what 3D objects it can cut so how would you define it, or perhaps you can't.

Anyway moving on from that I have now purchased cut 2D, having watched the tutorials & had a play about with it I can do everything I need to with it for now so don't see the point in paying a lot of extra money for vcarve which doesn't have any features that would be of benefit to me just now.
I have the option to upgrade at a latter date if I need to so it won't be money wasted. Very impressed with just how use friendly it is.
I had downloaded both lazycam & cambam to have a look at & although I hadn't actually spent a lot of time looking at them neither of them seemed to be particularly easy to learn.

Ricardoco
09-11-2012, 11:56 PM
That's why it is confusing Rick because the cube you have just said you could cut is 3D so a 3 axis machine can cut 3D shapes BUT it is obviously limited in what 3D objects it can cut so how would you define it, or perhaps you can't..

3 axis machines Cut 2.5D Not true 3D although some would argue as tool changes and work piece re-orientation make it seem possible..


Anyway moving on from that I have now purchased cut 2D, having watched the tutorials & had a play about with it I can do everything I need to with it for now so don't see the point in paying a lot of extra money for vcarve which doesn't have any features that would be of benefit to me just now.
I have the option to upgrade at a latter date if I need to so it won't be money wasted. Very impressed with just how use friendly it is.
I had downloaded both lazycam & cambam to have a look at & although I hadn't actually spent a lot of time looking at them neither of them seemed to be particularly easy to learn.

Being an Ex-Software engineer i find it difficult to put my name to much software as most of it is bloated with features that i would never use nor would most, but i found the range of software offered by vectric both Concise and easy to learn.

As with you i started with cut 2d, i then migrated to cut 3D then V-carve and finaly i saved enough for Aspire and although it hurt my pocket big time, i found in a very short time i was producing commercial quality products that other people wanted to buy from me, it soon payed for itself, and i didnt know much about the workings of CNC at all, bar what i had gleened from the helpfull people i found on this site, now i spend my time here trying to learn as much as i can and help as many people as i can...

Rick

martin54
10-11-2012, 12:47 AM
So if you don't mind me asking Rick what is it you produce commercially now using either vcarve or aspire that people are buying from you.
What sort of machine are you running? Are you running a 3 axis machine or have you apgraded it to something else.

Ricardoco
10-11-2012, 01:04 AM
So if you don't mind me asking Rick what is it you produce commercially now using either vcarve or aspire that people are buying from you.
What sort of machine are you running? Are you running a 3 axis machine or have you apgraded it to something else.
I started making custom parts for motorcycles. Rear sets, Yokes, Levers, and mounting items for speedos and the like just to mention a few. I dont run a comapny, I just make stuff for people who ask me, and they reimburse my costs...Hmmm.. I have three machines. A Diy 3'X2' gantry mill, a Boxford 260vMC (dead at athe moment).and anSPG 2217-III (a warco type Mill)

Im Currently building a 7'X4' Steel frame Gantry mill..Hopefully with ATC, I have been getting Bits made by other people lately because my main ali machine is dead as i said earlier but also because i lack the time this time of year with work commitments..


Rick

Ger21
11-11-2012, 04:48 AM
ok guys at what point does something become either 2D, 2.5D or 3D??? any examples of each??

Generally, this refers to the toolpaths, and not the actual parts. Because unless your parts are infinitely thin, they're all 3D parts.

2D is typically used on a machine with a manual Z axis. You set the Z axis to a specific location, and the machine only moves the X and Y axis. Since this typically only applies to very old machines, or very specialized machines, the terms 2D and 2.5D generally are referring to the same type of software, and are interchangeable imo.


2.5D toolpaths are the most common. What 2.5D means, is that the machine will move the Z axis, but cutting is predominantly done only in the X and Y axis. Basically, the Z axis is not moving when the X and Y are. There are some minor exceptions. A lot of 2D or 2.5D cam programs can ramp into the cut, some can do helical milling of holes, and they can also do drilling.

2D or 2.5D CAM programs generally work with 2D vector drawings. Some more expensive ones can create these 2.5D toolpaths from 3D solid models.

3D toolpaths generally have all 3 axis (X,Y, and Z) moving at the same time when cutting. They are created from 3D models, either solid or mesh format. Generlly, the cheaper CAM packages use mesh models only, while the more expensive ones support the use of solid models. These more expensive packages are able to detect features of the models, and create more efficient and localized toolpaths.
The cheaper 3d CAM packages that only use meshes usually only do a raster type of toolpath, basically moving back and forth across the surface of the part, stepping over a small amount for each pass.

V Carving would be considered a 3D toolpath, but is a feature sometimes included in 2D cam programs (V-Carve Pro).

wilfy
11-11-2012, 09:35 AM
what a brilliant post and kind of sums everything up nicely.. thank you

Musht
11-11-2012, 11:44 PM
I had downloaded both lazycam & cambam to have a look at & although I hadn't actually spent a lot of time looking at them neither of them seemed to be particularly easy to learn.

To be fair Lazycam is virtually abandonware bundled with Mach3 but no longer officially supported or developed.

Cambam ,personally not finding hard to pick up at all, it does allow you to cut parts before spending money with 40 trial uses.

Jonathan
11-11-2012, 11:50 PM
I don't see the point of getting Cut2D when the completely free version of Cambam does the vast majority of things that Cut2D does.

martin54
12-11-2012, 12:17 AM
I am sure there will be lots of people who agree with you Jonathan but personally because I don't want to spend lots of time trying to learn new software & from what I could see cut 2D had some very good support & easy to follow tutorials it fitted the bill for me.
Maybe if I were a bit younger then I would have opted for something else like cambam but unfortunately I don't have anywhere near as many grey cells as I use to have so although I am still happy to try & learn new things it's not as easy as it once was.

Ricardoco
12-11-2012, 12:31 AM
I am sure there will be lots of people who agree with you Jonathan but personally because I don't want to spend lots of time trying to learn new software & from what I could see cut 2D had some very good support & easy to follow tutorials it fitted the bill for me.
Maybe if I were a bit younger then I would have opted for something else like cambam but unfortunately I don't have anywhere near as many grey cells as I use to have so although I am still happy to try & learn new things it's not as easy as it once was.

I couldnt have put it better myself, I too have less and less time nowadays and learning new stuff is still magic but nowadays i learn what i need, and this in turn gives me the time to do the things i must.

Rick..

Musht
12-11-2012, 01:09 AM
Cambam functions like some dawing programs and once get used to where things are in menus find it`s been reasonably intuitive.

Cut2D shows its roots in software for the sign market and it has nicer 3d visualisations ;-)

2d design likely to have been done outside of CAM program and its ease of depth setting , nesting and tabbing ,guess, are bits going to use most.

Ricardoco
12-11-2012, 02:17 AM
2d design likely to have been done outside of CAM program and its ease of depth setting , nesting and tabbing ,guess, are bits going to use most.

Hmmmm i guess its too late for me really but i never tried 2d design...

Rick

Musht
12-11-2012, 02:31 AM
Hmmmm i guess its too late for me really but i never tried 2d design...

Rick

Have to have drawn the part originally in something from MS Paint to Autodesk Inventor or within the CAM program , its a design ;-)

It`s whatever gets the job done with minimal hassle is what always matters hobby or professional use, some people will wear running between programs , some want all the workflow in one program. As long as avoid falling into the trap of thinking spending more on software will act as a magic wand...

dudz
12-11-2012, 06:39 AM
With all the free versions and demo versions that are listed in the post, Vectric software is by far the easiest to pick up for me. Within 5 mins into Cut2D for the very first time, I could design a simple drawing with everything in the right place. The others I have spent maybe an hour or so on each and still not managed to come up with anything yet.

martin54
12-11-2012, 09:25 AM
Have to have drawn the part originally in something from MS Paint to Autodesk Inventor or within the CAM program , its a design ;-)

It`s whatever gets the job done with minimal hassle is what always matters hobby or professional use, some people will wear running between programs , some want all the workflow in one program. As long as avoid falling into the trap of thinking spending more on software will act as a magic wand...

I do some of my design work using a program called Inspire Pro which has not been available to buy for many years & for those that know anything about the sign industry was the predecessor of Flexisign Pro. It cost about £3500 well over 10 years ago so wasn't cheap & at the time free vector programs or programs like corel weren't really geared towards the sign industry or didn't exist. It won't run on anything above a windows 98 platform but it still does everything I need it to so have never seen the need to upgrade it which would obviously cost me money plus over the years the way some things are done has changed soI would also have to learn all the changes.
For photographic type stuff I am still using Adobe CS1 which runs under windows XP pro but like Inspire still does all I need it to.
You can see from that I don't buy software just because it's the latest available lol
I already have a lot of customer artwork that I can easily convert to either a dxf, eps or ai vector file to import into a cam package so yes I could have used something like cambam to create toolpaths for any machining work that came my way. Point is as I have already said is that for me personally cut 2D looked to be the best option in terms of how easy it was to learn & although it is not free it is very reasonably priced for what it does. Doesn't mean that everyone will agree with me or that everyone will find it the easier cam package to learn, some will find cambam just as easy to pickup I'm sure.