In the past I've spent many many hours on the phone trying to help folks with explaining how to do things or worn my fingers to the bones writing long emails on the same subject. Only for maybe less than 10% to actually get retained.
Now I've learnt that the best way for them to learn and retain 80% is to create a project and give it there best before contacting me. Doesn't matter how miserable they fail doing this it gives a good start point where 5-10% is learnt and retained before I get involved. Then we can work on what went wrong or how can be done easier or better. Also I do this by having them at the software or machine and working directly on the project. This technique works great and far more is learnt and retained in short period of time.
I see the issues you mention. I think I will get my z axis adjusted first. I may then get BobCAD and see how I go the post processor is the first hurdle I see!
I am pretty good if someone tell me how to do something I try and jot it down to refer to.
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 27-12-2014 at 09:57 PM.Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted
There is a simple process and sequence to running a CNC machine and learning is best done in the same sequence.
Starting with CAD so get this learnt to a proficient standard first which you say you have done.
Next comes CAM. This can be easy or hard depending on the software. Some software requires more input from the user for selecting Geometry etc which you use to define toolpaths.
Better software will give more choices and options in cutting stratergies along with easier or more advanced Geometry selection techniques. Ie Auto hole selection etc. Nice but not required.!
In general it's learning the quirks of each software for simple things like selecting geometry that takes the time rather than figurng out the cutting stratergies and all there options.
Lastly comes Mach3. Often Mach3 daunts people but it really shouldn't because in practise and in basic usage form there's very little to using it after the machine as been setup. Which really has nothing to do with using the software for cutting and is kind of separate thing.
There's basicly 3 stages to setting up and using Mach3.
#1 Setup and define the machine so it moves the correct distance and controls any I/O (Inputs & outputs).
#2 Second Define tool numbers and height offsets or fixture jig offsets. (if using any)
#3 The main one.!! Load G-code file. . . . Place material, insert correct tool, define WORK zero coordinate press Cycle start.!
In real world use there really is nothing to using Mach3 and it shouldn't daunt anyone. Obviously there are few other options and buttons on the Mach screen you'll want to learn and use but again nothing scary or rocket science.
When you have your working procedure setup and working for you then it get's easier stiil. For instance you'll keep a tool table of your cutters in CAM that matches the Tool table in Mach3.
So when you select say 10mm tool in Cam which you defined and gave a TOOL NUMBER then saved in your tool table. That same TOOL NUMBER is used in Mach3 so when the G-code file produced for your part and calls for T1 Mach knows the height offset and tool diameter for this tool and automaticly applies the height offset and any cutter compensation if called for.
You do nothing other than make sure you put the correct tool in the spindle. CAM and Mach3 work with each other.
Obously this only applies to those with Mills or machine which use tool holders which can define set consistant heights of tools that never change.
For the rest of use who use individual tools not using holders then we don't bother with Fixed Tool offsets in Mach3 and set Z axis Zero each time we change tools.
But in all this the process of actually cutting parts in Mach3 is quite simple really and shouldn't scare anyone.
Learn step by step and you'll be ok.
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 27-12-2014 at 10:20 PM.
posted in the wrong post ..Clive
Last edited by Clive S; 28-12-2014 at 09:38 AM. Reason: wrong post
Thank you for your reassurance and so much info it is very handy to me. I guess I have been very cautious so that I hopefully don't damage my machine or tools. I would hate to mark the bed or something like that as it is in great condition. I guess I will do just like you say start with the basics and learn step by step. The CNC side of things is tricky for me especially as I don't get to the machine all that often, not as much as I would like! Hopefully once I get going things will mesh together a bit and I will be able to start making little parts. I think I will feel a little better once I have a good simulator like that in BobCAD so I can get an idea of what should happen before I start.
Tar very much for all the help
I'll PM you some details and I'll work with you if you like and go thru the steps slowly.
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