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Author Topic: Meshcam Help!  (Read 5570 times)

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Meshcam Help!
« on: February 11, 2012, 09:53:06 PM »
The computer I have Mach 3 on is really slow and is in 32-bit.  When I go to generate the toolpath for a STL file in Meshcam on the same computer, it takes a half hour+ to generate all the code.  I'd like to change or upgrade the computer all together but my CNC controller uses printer ports and was told I couldn't?   My question is:  Can I use a faster, 64-bit computer for my CAD/CAM programs and save the g-code as a .nc or .txt and transfer on usb thumb drive to mach 3 on the 32-bit slow computer?  or Can I upgrade my computer altogether to a faster 64-bit and use adapters to USB? 

Offline ger21

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Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 11:25:22 PM »
Try reducing the tolerance setting in MeshCAM. I've never had anything take more than 5 minutes or so.

But yes, you can copy files from one PC to the Mach3 machine. If you use a SmoothStepper, you can run Mach3 on the 64bit machine as well.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 11:54:24 PM »
Try reducing the tolerance setting in MeshCAM. I've never had anything take more than 5 minutes or so.

But yes, you can copy files from one PC to the Mach3 machine. If you use a SmoothStepper, you can run Mach3 on the 64bit machine as well.
I started reading about SmoothStepper but I can't quite get my head around what it does exactly and how it would make me able to run mach 3 on my 64 bit system with my CNC controller using printer ports?  Can you help explain what it does? I'd be grateful because it sounds promising.

As for my tolerance setting I believe it is at .01 in. Should it be any lower?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 11:56:17 PM by mp2008 »
Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 12:27:16 AM »


If it helps...  Right now I have a DynaCNC 1000 RTR controller with 2 parallel ports running to my computer.

Offline ger21

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Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 06:41:44 AM »
As for my tolerance setting I believe it is at .01 in. Should it be any lower?

If you're working in mm's, try .02 or .03
How large is the model?
What is your stepover?
Id it the roughing, or finishing that takes so long?
What kind of processor is in your PC?

The printer ports are on the Smoothstepper. But they aren't the same as real printer ports. Mach3 sends the commands to the Smoothstepper via ethernet, and the Smoothstepper sends the signals out of it's "printer ports". The reason you can't use Mach3 on a 64bit OS with printer ports is that the printer port driver won't work. The SS doesn't need the printer port driver, because the PC isn't using a printer port.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 10:30:02 AM »
As for my tolerance setting I believe it is at .01 in. Should it be any lower?

If you're working in mm's, try .02 or .03
How large is the model?
What is your stepover?
Id it the roughing, or finishing that takes so long?
What kind of processor is in your PC?

The printer ports are on the Smoothstepper. But they aren't the same as real printer ports. Mach3 sends the commands to the Smoothstepper via ethernet, and the Smoothstepper sends the signals out of it's "printer ports". The reason you can't use Mach3 on a 64bit OS with printer ports is that the printer port driver won't work. The SS doesn't need the printer port driver, because the PC isn't using a printer port.

That makes sense.  I have a feeling I'll end up using a SS.  As for your other questions
I'm using inch
My model is 10x8 inches
My stepover is .1inch on a .125 inch round tipped bit
It is the roughing that takes so long
My processor is a Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.4 GHz and my RAM is only 248 MB if that helps. 
My Feedrate is 50 inches/min and it estimates this certain model to take 84 minutes.

Thanks for the help!

Offline ger21

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Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 10:34:29 AM »
The RAM is most likely the issue. You really need 2 GB to use MeshCAM and have it be reasonable fast. My PC is about 5 years old, and would probably create the code in less than 1 minute with those settings.

If you uncheck 3D roughing, it should be quite a bit faster.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 10:45:23 AM »
The RAM is most likely the issue. You really need 2 GB to use MeshCAM and have it be reasonable fast. My PC is about 5 years old, and would probably create the code in less than 1 minute with those settings.

If you uncheck 3D roughing, it should be quite a bit faster.
Thanks for your help!  I'll try unchecking 3-D roughing but I most definitely will be upgrading to a better computer.
Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 11:57:56 AM »
If you had a choice would you upgrade the computer to a 64-bit with more RAM and buy a SmoothStepper or upgrade the RAM on the 32-bit and keep using the same parallel ports?

Offline ger21

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Re: Meshcam Help!
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2012, 01:27:51 PM »
My choice probably wouldn't be the same as yours.
I'd recommend keeping the PC you have to run your machine, and buy a new one for CAD/CAM.

I use a $20 PC to run my router, and I'm planning on spending about $2000 on a new PC for CAD/CAM.

When I build a new router next year, I'll probably use a Smoothstepper for that.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html