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  1. #1
    Help.......Could someone please help me with a problem that I have.

    I work for a firm that fits panels made out of plywood to the inside of vans (ply lining).

    We have just acquired a CNC machine and I have been given the job of getting the templates that we have made of plywood panels into VCarve Pro 7.5. I have tried taking photographs of the panels and using the trace option and also drawing free hand. Is measuring the panels my only option left? The trouble with that option is that most of the panels are made up of irregular, complex shapes and are not easy to measure, if at all giving my lack of geometry skills.


    Thanks for any help received , however small, as I am a complete novice at this.

    The machine is a Spartan 1325 from Radecal.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by calibanman View Post
    I have tried taking photographs of the panels and using the trace option and also drawing free hand.
    why doesnt this method work ?

  3. #3
    You need some CAD software ideally, such as Sketchup or there are others. As it's just flat sheets it should be very easy to draw up. I think VCarve Pro does include CAD facilities so you may be able to draw your panels just using that software.
    Sorry to sound harsh, but it's similar to what someone said here recently, if you struggle to measure up and draw some flat panels you might need to think twice about using a CNC machine.

    There's a list of software here that may have something you could use for CAD; http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/6707-...D-CAM-Software

    Here's a video of someone drawing gears using VCarve Pro;

    Last edited by EddyCurrent; 21-08-2014 at 07:34 PM.
    Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted

  4. #4
    I would go for the trace way but you need datum points to keep scale of the piece, trace function works best with clear defined edges to work to try using black and white photos

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by gorbo View Post
    I would go for the trace way but you need datum points to keep scale of the piece, trace function works best with clear defined edges to work to try using black and white photos
    That's the last thing I would do but maybe that's just me ?
    Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted

  6. #6
    Me too Eddy. Just draw out an accurate grid on the pattern, measure and transfer the dims from the grid to a matching grid on the cad screen. Good luck. G.

  7. #7
    You could use your machine to probe an existing template or do it manually. Put a pointed tool in the collet, jogg the X axis a set amount each time, bring the Y axis across until the point is on the edge of the template, make a note of the X,Y coordinates, then it's easy to recreate it in your CAD software. Joint the points using curves, straight lines, or whatever is appropriate.

    Here's a video of a cheap to make probe that could do the job, a better one would just trawl around the outside edge itself.

    Last edited by EddyCurrent; 22-08-2014 at 09:50 AM.
    Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted

  8. #8
    I don't use Vcarve pro but this is easy to do in any Cad/Cam package and I do it all the time for parts that don't need high accurecy. It's just a matter of scale and if you have templates to reference from then it's no problem.

    Easy way is to draw 2 lines the length and width of the part then scale the photo to these lines. This will get you to within nats bollock in size then just use the trace function or as is often the case it's just as quick to free hand trace around the picture. Then create G-code and cut air around your original template to see how it matches. Make any changes as needed.!!. . . . . Simplizzzz.!
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 21-08-2014 at 11:40 PM.

  9. #9
    This is something I have done with irregular shapes, I cut a piece of white paper as large as possible and mark the size on it (this helps when you are doing different shapes), line it to one edge of ply that is straight and tape or glue it in place.
    Take a photo of the ply (must be square to the camera) preferably with a contrasting background.

    Import bitmap for tracing in VC pro7, trace bitmap, select Black/White, move Bitmap fading to 0 press Preview, press Apply.
    Select & delete image, create a box/ rectangle to given size of White paper and position 1 corner to a corner of the white paper vector, select all then deselect box/rectangle re-size outline vectors to fit to box/rectangle.

    This is a quick & easy way to do it but you might have spend some time to clean up the vector lines a little.

    Another way If you have a large amount to convert is buy a Image to Vector program that will provide you with much cleaner vectors to work with and produce better cutouts on the cnc.

    Phill

  10. #10
    I've been doing this on a semi regular basis for almost 20 years now. My preference for large items is to measure and draw in CAD. For small stuff, I'll scan, and import into CAD, and hand trace.
    This gives the most efficient code, and there's no cleanup required. It does require decent CAD skills, though.
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
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