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Old May 10, 2012, 08:49 PM
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Help!
Here we go again--What set of programs for CNC?

Hello,
I know this question has been asked lots of times, but here we go again. I have been CNCing foam wings using a hot wire and the HobbyCNC board/GCC_Rev0/GMFC combination for a while. It works just fine for constant chord and straight taper. But I want to do some eliptical wings, maybe make parts for my friends. Doing them by cutting each rib individually is a real pain. Also, cutting and notching bulkheads is a pain too. So I have collected enough parts to set up a CNC router, the last being picking up the bare bones of a Joes 2006 CNC machine. I am going to order another HobbyCNC board (that way I can use it for a spare for my wing cutter). And that it works well with good parts support. (no need to go into why I know that... )

What I want to cut is primarily 2D stuff like ribs/formers and basic signs. Some day I may branch out to full 3D but it is not the first priority. I am roughly familiar with CAD and have both ACAD R14 and TurboCAD available to me. I also have a couple of buddies that know ACAD well. So the question is, what other programs I will need? I assume a program like MACH3 and something like CUT2D or CUT3D. I have a budget of about $800 to buy what software I need.

I am looking for ease of setup and use much more than the lowest price. If I can get something working with a minimum of trouble, I am willing to spend some more $$ if I have to because I am an appliance operator when it comes to computers and software. I have no interest in taking on another hobby just to make parts.

Any thoughts??

Thanks for any help you can give,

Mel D.
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Old May 11, 2012, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel Duval View Post
What I want to cut is primarily 2D stuff like ribs/formers and basic signs. Some day I may branch out to full 3D but it is not the first priority. I am roughly familiar with CAD and have both ACAD R14 and TurboCAD available to me. I also have a couple of buddies that know ACAD well. So the question is, what other programs I will need? I assume a program like MACH3 and something like CUT2D or CUT3D. I have a budget of about $800 to buy what software I need.
.
FWIW, here is what I use.

Mach3 to drive the machine.

Drawing/CAM I use 2 solutions for this.

For planes with not too complicated shapes, and where I don't need printed plans (foamies, slab sided, jigged balsa/ply construction, etc) I use SketchUp to draw. For the CAM piece I use a plug in called SketchuCAM, also known as PhlatScript. You can get it here: http://www.phlatforum.com/viewforum.php?f=98
It is a nice free solution and works well for what I use it for. The CAM plugin is VERY easy to use, and works well. Keep in mind when using this the Z zero is at the top of the work piece.
Another plug in I use is for dog boning corners so tab and slots fit with no issue. It basically takes away the radius left by the bit in corners. The plug in for the most part works well, but it sometimes does not allow a dogboned corner even though it is 90 degrees.
SU will import DXF files, but you will need another plug in or use version 7 if you can still find it. It is also rather sloppy and requires a fair amount of cleanup depending on the objects. I really don't import with SU.

For more complicated shapes and when I need a printed set of plans, I use DevCAD.
http://www.devcad.com/eng/default.htm.
The CAD piece is a lot like TurboCAD. It can import from AutoCAD. I've done that and it works VERY well.
The CAM pieces is also very nice. It works different than SketchUcam, but once I saw how it wanted to do things it is very easy to use, and works well.
For this the Z zero is at the bottom of the piece.
The new version has the dogboning but they call it Concave corners... I don't have that version, but I'm guessing it will work as well as everything else.

Well that's what I use and has served me well

Mach3 + DevCAD will come in well under your budget. You can even throw in Profili for wing ribs and still be well under budget
http://www.profili2.com/eng/default.htm
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Old May 11, 2012, 08:45 AM
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I Agree with the comments above, but I use devcad cam (and devfus cam and devfus foam and Profili). It now has the "dog boning" feature too.

I've used phlatscript, but like Stefano's software better.

I've also used EMC instead of Mach3. It worked well, but now I just stick to Mach3

regards JH
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Old May 11, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Thanks, Guys! Just what I needed to know. I have used Profili for a long time and like it a lot. Stefano has been super to work with when I have had computer crashes and needed to recover Profili. It makes a lot of sense to use a program that is designed from the start to work with the program I already use and do what I want to do. One question. Can I import directly from Profili to DevCad?
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Found the answer onthe Profili site, yes it will. Time to break out the plastic card.....
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Old May 12, 2012, 05:31 PM
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The plastic got a workout today. I have Mach3, DevCadCam, DevFuse, and DevFont on the way. While I was at it, I ordered GMFC Pro (Been running PE on an old Win 98 machine) and am trying to hook up with Dan Field for a GGC V2. When I get done, I will be able to run all the programs from a Win 7/XP computer once I get a PCI parallel card.
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Old May 12, 2012, 11:25 PM
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Another update. Heard from Stefano within hours after ordering the software and USB key. He is going to put my Profili Pro license on the USB key also. Also heard from Mark at PhlatBoyz about the Mach3 license. Both Stefano and Mark have been very good to deal with and I strongly support them and their products. Giles is is the same way. Now I have to clean out the garage and make room for the CNC and the computer.....
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Old May 14, 2012, 07:45 AM
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. .<snip>. . When I get done, I will be able to run all the programs from a Win 7/XP computer once I get a PCI parallel card.
.
Make sure you research your parallel card with your Breakout Board (BOB) manufacturer before purchase. Some put out 3.3V signals instead of 5V and will cause all sorts of troubleshooting headaches. (BTW - access to an oscilloscope will pay for itself while assembling all of the pieces / parts from different manufacturers)
.
My next CNC is going to use a USB based BOB. Its a few more bucks, but you are severely limited to the number of I/O pins (and their direction) on the parallel port.
.
Quote:
because I am an appliance operator when it comes to computers and software. I have no interest in taking on another hobby just to make parts.
.
That's what we all said at the beginning . . .
.
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Old May 14, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Another update. Heard from Stefano within hours after ordering the software and USB key. He is going to put my Profili Pro license on the USB key also. Also heard from Mark at PhlatBoyz about the Mach3 license. Both Stefano and Mark have been very good to deal with and I strongly support them and their products.
Yep. That has been my experience with these guys too.... GREAT support all the way around.
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Old May 27, 2012, 10:01 PM
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Too late to consider now, but you can use SketchUp for the design work (there's even an airfoil .dat import plug-in) and the Phlatboyz plugin in sketchUP to generate the G-code for the router. All free.
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Old May 29, 2012, 08:26 AM
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Too late to consider now, but you can use SketchUp for the design work ....
See post #2
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