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Jan 12, 2010, 03:14 AM
I hate propellors
emufingers's Avatar
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From CAD to CAM


For a modeler getting from drawing to 3D milling without spending the earth is important.
After playing around for a while I have found a combination of Free or very cheap software.

CAD is Cocreate personal edition (Free), Gcode generator Freemill (Free), Machine controller Mach3(Cheap)

Could others share their experiences with other combinations or experiences with my preferred combination.

This set up allows full #D milling for moulds and plugs,. Freemill puts out gcode for a wide variety of machines. It is easy to edit the gcode if you find you machine manager doesn't like some commands. It is easy to export code fror mach3 with full cutter and speed specification.
Last edited by emufingers; Jan 13, 2010 at 10:08 PM. Reason: additional info
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Jan 12, 2010, 02:33 PM
Registered User
Sketchup (free)
Phlatscript (free sketchup plugin to generate gcode)
Mach3(cnc controller that I plan to use, relatively cheap but still $175), I know a few people that use EMC2 and it looks very good (free, but runs under ubuntu Linux. I installed it to see how hard it was and even with no Linux experience it's easy as pie. It comes on an all-in-one live cd with the os. You can even run it straight from the cd, without install, to try it out. And it will do a dual install, too, if you already have windows installed. I did do the dual install.)

-Kwok
Jan 12, 2010, 03:25 PM
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imsofaman's Avatar
OK...this thread may be the one I have been looking for. Yes....I want to convert CAD to CAM, I want to learn that, but I also want to wrap my head around on knowing what servo motors to buy, cables, how to hook up the interface and then how to link it to the computer.

I know I am asking a lot for a non programmer/operator, but if you have some suggestions, I am all ears.

Dave
Jan 12, 2010, 06:18 PM
Registered User
I did a quick video of how to use phlatscript:

Phlatscript Tutorial (sketchup plugin to generate cnc gcode) (4 min 20 sec)
Jan 13, 2010, 01:48 AM
7up
7up
,ɯǝ ʇoƃ ɐʎ ɟı ,ɯǝ ǝʞoɯs
7up's Avatar
I'm with Kwok on this one all the way.

Google Sketchup (FREE)
Phlatscript (FREE) Open source
EMC2 (FREE) Open source Linux

This combo works great and should fit everyone's budget.

@imsofaman
A lot of what you ask depends on what type of machine you want to build and what you want to do with it. Cut foam? Wood? Do 3D carvings?

A lot of CNC info can be found at www.cnczone.com and www.phlatforum.com where you'll find a great group of guys and gals that are always ready to help out.

Very nice job on the tutorial Kwok.

-Buk
Jan 13, 2010, 08:54 AM
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imsofaman's Avatar
Thanks so much for the info Buk. I want to make a small cnc router for wood. I am thinking of something I could put onto my work bench, when I dont need it, I could remove it and lean aganist the wall. I have a very small shop. So.....that is my dream. I was a tool and die maker/R&D machinist before I went out on disability. So....the parts I design for my planes, I want to cut out on the cnc router.

I also am interested in maybe making my little Sherline milling machine CNC one day.....but that will be way down the road. First a small router.
I belong to the cnczone, but either they are talking "over my head" or they really dont explain things as if I am supposed to know every thing!

I will check out the other link you gave me.
Jan 13, 2010, 01:45 PM
Suspended Account
Agreed, good job on the tutorial Kwok.

I have a sherline that I haven't CNC'd - mainly because the working area is pretty small and it's kind of underpowered.

I'm in the planning stages of a CNC router that would have approximately a 24"x48" working area. That would allow me to take a sheet of FFF and "phlat print it". It would also be able to work at least a 2" thick piece of foam plus various wood projects. A lot of the CNC guys build a simple router so they can build a second router with tighter tolerances. There are some pretty good plans on CNCZone but I get what you are saying. You just have to keep at it. I'm looking at either the Joe2006 or JGRO designs.
Jan 13, 2010, 10:07 PM
Terry Harner AREA-52
The End's Avatar
CNCZONE, I belong and I think it a good place for info.

Try looking up a wood cutters forum of sorts.. everything applies.
Jan 13, 2010, 11:09 PM
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imsofaman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philba
Agreed, good job on the tutorial Kwok.

I have a sherline that I haven't CNC'd - mainly because the working area is pretty small and it's kind of underpowered.

I'm in the planning stages of a CNC router that would have approximately a 24"x48" working area. That would allow me to take a sheet of FFF and "phlat print it". It would also be able to work at least a 2" thick piece of foam plus various wood projects. A lot of the CNC guys build a simple router so they can build a second router with tighter tolerances. There are some pretty good plans on CNCZone but I get what you are saying. You just have to keep at it. I'm looking at either the Joe2006 or JGRO designs.

That sounds like an awesome size. Not too big, yet large enough to do some decent work.
Jan 13, 2010, 11:16 PM
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imsofaman's Avatar
Kwok, what about the router tool? I guess that is Z direction? That is in the program also?
Jan 13, 2010, 11:34 PM
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theothers's Avatar
Yes imsofaman. There are two version of the Phlatprinter. The original uses a Dremel for it's cutting tool and the Phlatprinter MK II uses a Rotozip and flex shaft. The Phlatscript outputs g-code for the X, Y, and Z axis.
Last edited by theothers; Jan 14, 2010 at 08:02 AM.
Jan 14, 2010, 12:01 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by imsofaman
Kwok, what about the router tool? I guess that is Z direction? That is in the program also?
I'm having trouble understanding your question. If you are asking about programming the depth, the phlatscript is developed mainly to cut 1/4" foam sheet (default). So the depth is calculated automatically for thru cuts, like inside and outside cuts. You can specify a different material thickness in the parameters, along with cutting bit size. For partial depth cuts like fold and center, you can set the depth as a % of the full depth. You can cycle through set % or type in an exact value. The script is continually being developed, so in the future there may be means to specify an exact depth instead of a %.

-Kwok


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