Thread: RCAD by me
Not commercially available but after typing in nearly 4000 lines of C# I thought I might crow a bit
My program theme is "Instant gratification" on a flat learning curve. I do all the hard work in the AutoCAD drawing. By keeping it simple, someone else can open my .dxf file and cuts appear on the screen in the blink of the eye. There in no G-Code or any other kind of confusing code, it identifies and talks to either of my mills directly.
I use a .txt file to define the various machine and tool settings. See the pic. If I tell it "Cut outlines" it doesn't cut pockets. If I tell it "finish blue pockets" it will only trim pockets drawn in blue. The ultra simple tool path algorythm is not fast but it seems robust and caters for any dxf/txt file combination.
Best of all, I can use a USB2.0->Serial adaptor on a Windows 7 laptop. No more antique computers with paralel ports left in a cold dusty workshop for me. 'tis a liberation :dance:
26-10-2011 #2Not commercially available
i dont understand the catch, maybe im reading it wrong but you seem to have circumvented a couple of the major ball aches of diy cnc and its not commercially available ? are you looking at developing it ?
An excuse to gloat a bit more :naughty: Thanks I wasn't actually expecting any replies :whistling:
I spent a lot of time and money looking for CNC software that was right for me. I couldn't find it so I wrote my own. The chances of this being right for anyone else seems somehow remote.
The AutoCAD end is easy if you know AutoCAD. But who uses AutoCAD these days? I am a bit of a dinosaur. I use a cheap AutoCAD clone called ProgeCAD which has the required AutoCAD structure to make a pukka dxf output.
Here's a pic of the drawing that created the cut file shown above...
Draw each cut level with lines, arcs and circles. Bulges have a positive thickness, pockets have a negative thickness. Bulges inside pockets not a problem, nest as many as you like.
It stitches everything together for you, I've never understood why some software makes you do that manually, it is so easy.
Anything with a zero thickness draws on screen but doesn't cut.
Zero thickness circles create location points, handy for drilling holes on a mill drill.
If you want a block outline to control waste removal you stick it on a seperate layer called "Block". If you don't draw a block it creates one that is a snug fit to the lowest outline.
I wanted it to cut injection tooling so f you put things on a layer called "draft_2.0" you impose a 2 degree draft angle on it.
Rounded sides similarly. It compensate for a ball nose cutter, "Tool 1.5 ball", but that really slows it down because the Z advances to keep the tool overlap constant on the arc circumference. Surface finish is paramount.
I do plan to allow blocks so I can tell it, "Cut fred" and it will go looking for blocks called fred.
27-10-2011 #4I spent a lot of time and money looking for CNC software that was right for me. I couldn't find it so I wrote my own.
But who uses AutoCAD these days?
if your making molds with it its obvously working well
im gessing that drawing paths for thread milling might be tedious and the lack of a 4th axis would put some off but im kind of hoping somone who is just starting out and isnt after those functions WILL twist your arm and give it a go
nice one robin xxx
fingers crossed and good luck with it :)
I still use Autocad. I like it. Its the only thing I use for any 2D work to get cut on plasma or laser machines.
As for RCAD it sounds great. Much CAM software is just too complicated for us amateurs!
P.S. Is the sea in Seaford still as cold and rough as I remember it?
I've lived by the sea for so long I only look at it if it is doing something truly spectacular.
I don't know if Rcad is user friendly because it really depends on me to get the drawing right. One outline that doesn't connect end to end to end +- 0.002mm will get you a terse response with only the XY co-ordinate as a hint.
You also need the USB to mill adaptor and the pendant to make it cut.
OTOH, it might be fun to find out. I'll put something together this weekend. You can unzip it into directory c:\rcad then feed it some dxf's and tell me if it is friendly or downright hostile :naughty:
Looks like a nifty program Robin, good luck with it
I think you can probably try my program without installing anything that needs to be uninstalled if we are picky about where the files go. If this bitches about missing dll's etc., tell me so I can add them....
Find a 64 bit machine running XP or later.
Make a new folder c:\robin it will look there for all it's bits and pieces
Copy these files to c:\robin http://www.robinhewitt.net/robin.zip
I have included a couple of .dxf's and some .txt files
al1.txt is a 1.5mm tool
al3.txt is a 3mm tool
To get rid of it, delete the directory.
I use the paid for version of AVG and it says I am clean.
If you do try it, let me know if it works :tup:
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30-10-2011 #10You also need the USB to mill adaptor and the pendant to make it cut.