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1  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 16, 2014, 04:41:32 PM
The software puts some sort of tool change code in when it creates the code but I have figured out how to select and delete it since I don't have a tool changer.

The tool change g-code is probably needed, (Even if you don't have an automatic tool changer). The process is generally to begin with a roughing tool, to remove the bulk of the material, then do a tool change to a smaller, (finishing) tool for the finer details needed on the finishing cut. You can set up Mach3 to "Stop spindle, wait for Cycle Start" on tool changes from within the General Menu. When Mach3 encounters a tool change, it will stop the program and the machine from running, and wait for you to click Cycle Start (after completing the actual tool change manually). If you are not using a macro to automate the process, then you will want to set the new tool's Z zero depth using a feeler guage such as a sheet of paper (simply jog the Z down until it just "touches" the sheet of paper, click on Z Zero) THEN click on Cycle Start to continue the program's execution. Also, it is important to note, that even if the Stop Spindle, Wait for Cycle Start is checked, if you have not yet assigned unique tool NUMBERS to the various tooling (I.E. IF your Roughing Tool is tool NUMBER 1, AND your Finishing Tool is also tool NUMBER 1, then Mach3 will ignore the tool change, and continue running the program). I would recommend, that you create a table for your tooling. An actual LIST of tools, so that you can refer to it, when creating g-code. This will help save you a lot of frustration, since you can simply read your list, to obtain the index number of the desired tool.
2  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 15, 2014, 11:55:53 PM
Artcarver,
The software I use for my carvings is called MeshCAM Art. It is really easy to use, once you gain a comprehension on how to use it. It will create tool paths from simple bitmap files such as JPG's, PNG's, BMP's etc. As for the feed rate used in a g-code file, it is not quite as difficult to change (WITHOUT altering the Z axis in Mach's Motor Tuning screen). In fact, you can edit the g-code file using a simple text editor (such as the Notepad program that comes with the Windows operating system). To change the feed rate using Notepad, simply open the g-code file desired, then click on Edit (at the top of the Notepad window), and select Find and type in F then press the Return or Enter key, Notepad will find every occurence of the letter F contained in the file (beginning with the first one it finds, it will stop and wait for you to type something, before continuing to the next F that it finds).
For example, if the feedrate of your current g-code file is 50, then the first (and possibly ONLY occurrence of the letter F contained in your g-code file) will say F50. To change to a different feedrate, simply highlight the 50, and type in your desired feed rate, then press the Enter or Return key. Make sure you save the file, after making this change. And then regenerate tool path in Mach3 (so that Mach will read the new feedrate).
For more info on using MeshCAM Art, please see my article in the Winter 2013 edition of Digital Machinist Magazine on Digital Sculpting. It goes into a lot more detail on the process of creating 3D g-code files using Corel DRAW, and MeshCAM Art. Hope this helps you, I know how confusing it all can be, when first starting out in CNC.
3  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 14, 2014, 06:46:03 AM
Nice work, Artcarver!
Mine took considerably longer to cut (about 7 hours), and entailed quite a bit of Dremel work by hand to finish it up.
I really like the sunburst background on your medallion. I will have to give that a try later on.
4  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Small project not going well on: May 30, 2014, 10:14:18 PM
Beautiful!
5  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Vise for wood carving on: May 28, 2014, 10:04:43 PM
Why not just do your "Signature" engraving on the back before you start on the front ? while the blank is parallel.
(something tells me you've considered this already, just wanted to mention it) Wink
I can see other uses for the vise though, maybe a log slab, barn board or any irregular stock.

Russ
Yes, I have "considered" engraving the back, before the front. And actually have done it that way a few times. However, the time investment of drilling the guide holes, and then the jogging of the machine to align it in relation to the guide holes, (for properly aligning the back side to the front side of the carving for the engraving placement) is completely eliminated by use of the vise. Simply carve the piece, cut it out from the stock, pop it into the vise, jog the bit down to maybe 5 thou from the surface, turn the knobs of the vise to level it, lock the bolts. Jog the machine to the lower left corner of the piece, and re-zero. Click Cycle Start. Have a cup of coffee.
 Smiley
6  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Vise for wood carving on: May 28, 2014, 09:53:22 PM
Update:
Well, I cut the overall height down to less than 4 inches tall. However, try as I might, it's just not gonna be tool-free. I mean it is, as far as adjusting the vise to be level. But once the adjustments have been made, wrenches are neccessary to Lock everything in place. The knobs still make it very easy to "Dial everything in" with fine-tune adjustments. However, for the vise assembly to be absolutely rigid, nuts and bolts at key pivot points MUST be locked to hold everything in place. Which is a bit of a pain, but still not nearly as big a pain as trying to shim, twist, and warp pieces into a state of being level which was the alternative previous to construction of this vise.
7  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Small project not going well on: May 25, 2014, 04:59:49 PM
Looks like they turned out great!
8  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Vise for wood carving on: May 20, 2014, 12:24:23 AM
Sounds really good - any chance of some pictures ?

Tweakie.
I tried designing a mount for ball bearing guides which would ride along the bottom surface of the rails, (positioned inside of the jaw's inner surface) but there just isn't enough clearance between the bottom surface of the guide rails, and the top surface of the vise lead screw to accommodate.
Well, persistence pays off.... I refused to let the limited clearance issue beat me, and instead changed my point of view. The movable jaw of the vise is now a sled, with ball bearing wheels, held firmly to the top surface of the rails by a pair of ball bearings beneath the rails. The jaw now REMAINS perpendicular with the surface of the rails, regardless of the amount of pressure applied against the work piece. The next challenge, is reducing the overall height, to get it down to less than four inches tall.
9  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Vise for wood carving on: May 14, 2014, 04:15:39 PM
Sounds really good - any chance of some pictures ?

Tweakie.
Sorry, my camera batteries are dead! I am currently working on an improvement of the vise jaw.
As is true with almost any vise, as it closes onto the work piece it tends to want to tilt the surface of the jaw away from the work piece.
This causes the work piece to "ride up" the surface of the jaw, sometimes to the point of actually squirting it out!
So, again necessity rules. Ball bearing rail guides which ride along the back side of the jaw, loaded against the top surface of the rails will (hopefully) prevent the jaw from tilting away from the work piece. I tried designing a mount for ball bearing guides which would ride along the bottom surface of the rails, (positioned inside of the jaw's inner surface) but there just isn't enough clearance between the bottom surface of the guide rails, and the top surface of the vise lead screw to accommodate. At least not without doing a complete re-design and rebuild of the vise assembly. Which may actually be in the future, as I feel confident that positioning of the bearings in front of the inner surface of the jaw would be a much sturdier orientation in terms of preserving the perpendicularity of the jaw. Ultimately, the use of BOTH would be even stronger.
The vise jaw in this case, is threaded for the lead screw. The lead screw is mounted with thrust bearings at each end of the rail assembly.
Unlike a normal direct-screw driven jaw, with a thrust bearing mounted on the jaw of the vise at the screw end.  The reason for this design, was to eliminate a 24" long lead screw from sticking out. Which is what would be the case in a normal direct-screw driven vise.
I have never seen a device offered anywhere, which does all that this thing can do. I just wanted to post, and see what interest it invoked. As I am seriously considering perhaps a patent on the design. And start making a few of these things to sell. What sort of price do ya'll think something like this would be worth?
10  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Small project not going well on: May 14, 2014, 12:45:12 AM
What I was going to clean up with the dermal was little areas in between the letters that the 1/16" bit could not fit into. Is there another way to clean out these areas with the code?
I work with MeshCAM Art, for my 3D stuff. It does a great job, since it creates a tool path for the roughing cut, as well as the finishing cut. (I usually use a 1/4" bit for the rough, and a 1/8" bit for the finishing cut). You can actually "LIE" to MeshCAM about the diameter of a tool (I tell it the .125" bit is a 0.94" bit). This forces the software to create a more detailed tool path for the finishing cut. However, since most of what I carve is recycled tractor-trailer flooring, (Oak) it still sometimes requires some touch-up work by hand using a Dremel tool. As for areas that are too small for the tooling to reach into, this is best handled at the artwork design phase. Simply space the letters further apart, to accommodate the tool diameter. I use Corel Draw in designing my artwork. And what I typically do, is to draw a circle .125" diameter, and drag it around the drawing using it as a "measuring device" to check the spacing of my artwork. If it won't fit between letters in the design phase, then the bit won't fit between them when you are carving. I have found it to be a great time-saver, for checking the artwork prior to tool path creation.
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