View Full Version : Idiot's guide to Dolphin?

16-12-2013, 10:43 PM
OK, I give up.

Following on from my other thread about trying to produce code to mill some toolholders for my lathe turret, I just can't get my head around doing it in Dolphin.

I've so far imported the DXF (the trial version doesn't let you import 3d models :thumbdown: ), added contours for the various bits, and then I get stuck.
Here's what I've created in Dolphin CAD -
(I've only drawn as far down as I plan to machine)

Now if I try face milling to edge, it cuts past the edges nicely, however it doesn't allow for a finish cut along the edge of the ridge/locating block, it simply face mills up to the edge. If I do it by trying to pocket out the various parts, it treats it like a pocket and leaves rounded corners.
If I try contour milling around the centre ridge, it treats the two contours seperately, and mills away the end of each one where they meet. Even if I add a contour that combines both, it still doesn't solve the issue of roughing out the rest of the material and leaving enough to do a finishing cut contouring around everything.

Am I missing something obvious?
I'm finding it a bit ironic that CamBam can manage to merge touching shapes without issue, yet a package that costs several times as much doesn't appear to be able to...

I could add in extra rectangles/contours to trick the CAM into maching past the edges to avoid leaving corners, and add extra contours for doing the finishing pass around the centre features, however I was expecting Dolphin to be abit more advanced in figuring these things out.

I've attahced the dolphin CAD file zipped up if anybody wants to have a go at telling me where I'm going wrong.

17-12-2013, 12:06 AM
I can't make headway with Dolphin either but have you tried sheetcam ? I think it has the spiral cutting you mentioned and there's a trial version (I promise not to suggest another after this but it might be worth looking at) Welcome to SheetCam (http://www.sheetcam.com/)

John S
17-12-2013, 12:25 AM
Had a quick look at your file and because the tenon sticks up in the middle and stops a full face operation you will have to draw Low 1 and low 2 longer to allow for the tool radius.
You also have the depths of these profiles starting at -10.0 with a depth of 0.0 ?

You also have double entities centre right opposite the upstanding part.

17-12-2013, 01:12 AM
Eddy, I'm trying to sway towards packages that have a lathe option to try and avoid having different packages for everything.

Thanks John.
I set the profile depths to appear how I'd expect the finished article to look. Is that not the best way to do it?
The double entities are probably a result of me trying various options and not tidying up.

In all honesty, at the moment I'm struggling to see any benefit of Dolphin over CamBam, at least for the standard version, and they don't let you trial the Pro version. At least with CamBam, if I need to add anything to the drawing, I just need to add it in and not mess around switching between CAD and CAM.

John S
17-12-2013, 10:27 AM
To be perfectly honest I have never seen a CAD program that comes with a CAD/CAM package that's any good.
OK they work but their sole function is to get toolpaths into CAM not make drawing easy.

Your problem is the shape, take the top box you call Low 1, you want it to cut outside the lines on top left and right but not bottom. How does the program know that ?

Low 2 you want it to cut outside the box on left, right and top but not bottom this time.

I think you will have problems with any program expecting it to know these variables unless you draw the toolpaths.

Often my drawing bear no resemblance to the part concerned.

Another trick is it's often quicker to not share entities when doing profiles but draw each profile in full on different layers and then hide the layers as you build the program up. This way you don't get double entities.

First thing is to find a usable, to you, CAD package and then import into the CAM program of your choice.
DXF is your friend.

17-12-2013, 05:18 PM
Thanks John.
At the moment I'm going to stick to CamBam, as it seems to be the best compromise for milling.

Out of curiousity, have you got Dolphin Standard or Pro?

17-12-2013, 11:26 PM
CamBam for the win!

Couple bits in the code I need to tweak, but got there in the end. About 45minutes machining time, but not much I can do to improve that considering it's only got a 200W spindle (for now...).

18-12-2013, 02:42 PM
Special offers on Dolphin mill and turn until 22nd Dec.