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Thread: ?'s for Leo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,167

    ?'s for Leo

    The house is on a 3-6 month delay waiting on a ruling from the county, so maybe I can learn some things in the interim.

    I have been taking notes of Leo's posts and I am ready to seriously get started. This will be a multi-step process for me.

    1. Get a PC. XP or Win 7 or 8 never to be connected to the internet! Desktop or lap top. Don't really care which. Any suggestions with regard to specific parameters are welcome.
    2. Acquire and learn design software. Suggestions? Bill Arnold uses PrintMaster. Any others?
    3. I am willing to learn a CAD software other than SketchUp. Suggestions?
    4. CAM software. Mach 3?

    Any software overlap? Where does VCarve Pro fit into this?

    I am willing to spend some money on software. It often is less expensive to do it right the first time around. Don't have much patience with geeky things. I want them to work reliably out of the box.

    I want to develop some confidence with this end of the process before I get a machine, which as of today is all picked out! Today I personally saw a Computer Router Parts machine up and running. I was very impressed with the beefiness and operation of the machine. The owner lives one town to the west, so help is nearby. WooHoo! This is not his machine because I was too excited to remember to take pictures. But it is one like it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    But first, some proficiency with the computer side of things.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,992
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    The house is on a 3-6 month delay waiting on a ruling from the county, so maybe I can learn some things in the interim.

    I have been taking notes of Leo's posts and I am ready to seriously get started. This will be a multi-step process for me.

    1. Get a PC. XP or Win 7 or 8 never to be connected to the internet! Desktop or lap top. Don't really care which. Any suggestions with regard to specific parameters are welcome.
    2. Acquire and learn design software. Suggestions? Bill Arnold uses PrintMaster. Any others?
    3. I am willing to learn a CAD software other than SketchUp. Suggestions?
    4. CAM software. Mach 3?

    But first, some proficiency with the computer side of things.
    I used PrintMaster on ONE item so far only because it works for blending text and graphics. I can see it being good for a couple of other things but all it does is produce a bmp to be used by CAM software. I've used SketchUp/SKetchUcam for most of the things I've cut - both 2.5D and 3D. Easel, web-based CAD/CAM from Inventables, works well for some simple things and they are expanding its capabilities. The only software I've paid for so far is diyCAM and it worked for one item I tested through it. I'm still looking at Vectric products, of course.

    For communicating with my CNC, I've used Universal Gcode Sender on most items; had a couple of burps with it but nothing serious. Easel sent code just fine, but it doesn't load external gcode yet. I've started testing Chilipeppr and like the additional capability it has.

    As far as preparing for a CNC build or purchase, I can say I spent a few months researching the product I bought but most of that time was spent learning about software options for CAD, CAM and sending code. There are a lot of options for both hardware and software - it depends on how deep one's pockets are and what one wants to accomplish.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,437
    I still use sketchup for most of my drawings also, but have started do do some of the design directly in VCarve (btw which is CAM software, Mach3 is controller software, Mach3 takes the gcode output from CAM software and runs the machine). If you're using the machine to do simple cut outs and engraving operations, look at the Cut2D program (http://www.vectric.com/products/cut2d.html) by Vectric, it's a little cheaper than VCarve.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,167
    Thanks, guys. And Leo hasn't waded in yet!

    What I have so far is VCarve Pro can be both design and g-code creator software. Mach 3 sends the g-code to the cnc. Good! Only two to learn!

    So far.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    falcon heights, minnesota
    Posts
    5,609
    okey-day, here's my 2 cents worth. i've been using sketchup for the cad side, as i've used it for design work for the last few years. on the cam side, i started using sketchucam, then tested out meshcam, and now cut2d for the cam side.
    benedictione omnes bene

    www.burroviejowoodworking.com

    check out my etsy store, buroviejowoodworking

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,017
    OK - my 2cents

    CAD -- Computer Aided Drafting. This is what draws lines on the screen that can be printed old timers call them blueprints - but we just don't do blueprints any more - don't miss that either. For the most part CAD is vector based. Draftsight - AutoCAD - Cadkey - Cadra - Sketchup - Solidworks - Unigraphics - Pro Engineer - ALL CAD. None of them can generate CNC toolpath.

    CAM -- Computer Aided Machining. This takes the vector based CAD and converts it into CNC toolpath. SOME - but not all CAM software has limited CAD capabilities. Vectric CAM, ArtCAM, MasterCAM, EDGECAM, DelCAM, Enroute All CAM - generates CNC toolpath - most often "g-code".

    Control Software --- This is what READS, the CNC toolpath, G-code and translates that into axis motion via electrical signals sent to the axis motors on the actual CNC machine. Mach3, Fanuc, Hiedenhein, Simens, Yasnac, Haas.

    It does not take much computer power to operate a CNC machine. This does not include the CAD - CAM. I was operating my machine on win98se at first. I upgraded to Mach3 and win-XP and that is where I am at right now. My upgrade was NOT due to computer power or windows - it was a machine issue. I would recommend Win-7 now only because of network compatibility and that Microsoft is not supporting XP any longer.

    I have run programs that are 200,000 to 400,000 lines of code, with no issue at all on my win xp setup. No big CPU (old style pentium) - 1 gig RAM.

    My CNC is on the network and internet capable with win XP - never had an issue since 2007.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,437
    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Voisine View Post
    My CNC is on the network and internet capable with win XP - never had an issue since 2007.
    I recently just upgraded from xp to win 7 as some software, such as dropbox or maybe it was Box, stopped working as it was XP and they wouldn't allow files to sync to the computer until it was updated. The power supply was also going out, so was a good time to upgrade. I agree with you though, it doesn't take much of a machine to control the cnc, it was only a pentium 4 with 1 gb of ram and that was overkill. The new PC is way overkill, but nice to be able to do a quick google or work on a cam program without having to go back to the shop computer if I'm not in the middle of a job on it.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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