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Author Topic: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought  (Read 4185 times)

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New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« on: May 10, 2012, 12:36:51 PM »
Hey, Introduced myself in the appropriate thread so won't do it again here

I get the machine tomorrow so will over the weekend be attempting to configure Mach 3 set the machine up and so on

Now, for my first trick, I want to program a simple 4 inch square with a 3 inch square cut out of it, leaving a half inch wide border, almost like a small picture frame.

This is just as a test piece and I will probably use a pen in the Z axis and draw it first.

So guys and gals, where do I start? is there a basic tutorial that I can read through someplace to take me from setting up Mach3 to making my first part>

Many thanks

Al.
Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 01:55:56 PM »
What are you using for CAD and CAM?  Basically, you draw the part in CAD then run it through CAM to get GCode.  The machine manufacturer should have some recommendations for CAM and have posts available for their machine.
Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 05:08:42 PM »
Thanks for the reply, I honestly dont know what I will use, im very new to this scene. I was hoping to hear about a cad package that would work with Mach 3. I have seen lazycam mentioned so I am now going to research this.

Many thanks
Al

Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 06:07:47 PM »
Lazycam is part of Mach3.  It imports DXF files and creates GCode.  You still need to draw the part though.   Is this a hobby for you or will you be working the machine in a production environment?  It matters.  In production, time is money.  Cheap or free software can end up costing you WAY more than it's worth.  We use plasma machines and use Rhino3D to draw and SheetCAM to generate GCode.  We've tried just about everything over the years from free to crazy expensive and this combo has proven the most efficient. 

Offline BR549

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Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 06:08:42 PM »
As a FREE startup I would take a look at GSIMPLE it is free and is a basic CAD and CAM program. It lets you get your feet wet before you have to spend money and commit to Cad and CAM packages.

(;-) TP
Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 02:49:01 AM »
Many thanks for the replies, Its hobby use only really. I might make some small parts commercially at a later date but as and when I do, I will upgrade software and probably machine as well.

I will go take a look at the options you folks have listed.

Thanks again, Machine due for delivery in the next hour. I'm kinda excited about that ;D

AL

Offline RICH

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Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 06:45:26 AM »
The free LC which comes with Mach will not pocket or do offsets, you need the pro version to do those tasks.
There are numerous wizards for generating gcode and you should try them out. There is a free version of CamBam
and it includes CAD. The free stuff will provide you learning. Would recommend the book CNC Programming Handbook
by SMID as it provides a lot of info about the basics of cnc and beyound, worth a read to save you a lot of questions and time,
and will remain an excellent reference source.

Have fun as you walk the path of learning as there are no shortcuts,

RICH
Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 02:15:20 PM »
I second the mention of CamBam. The demo is good for 40 program runs, then it needs to be purchased. It is a really fine program. It shows your tool paths in a multi-color wireframe view which can be rotated, and looked at from all directions. Along with CamBam, you can download CutViewer, which will run your program, and simulate a 3D model of your program cutting the blank in real time; the demo is good for 30 days.
Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2012, 12:22:27 AM »
Great, Thanks chaps,

I will have a look see.

Machine arrived and installed, I have to say that i am very impressed indeed!!!!!! even milled a slot using all 3 axis. I have had to set steps to 800 rather than the 400 in the instructions. The DRO's were 100% bigger than the physical moves.


Thanks for assistance thus far

Al
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 12:36:12 AM by ilkleyal »
Re: New machine arrives tomorrow, first project advice sought
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 05:20:17 PM »
Quick update. had machine for a few days now, couple of problems, the Z axis dropped out on a few occasions on the first day (just stopped working mid cycle) and today on a 14mm profile cut with 1mm deep increments, it stopped about half way thru whilst the rest of the machine carried on. Mach 3 continued to  show the Z axis getting deeper so I knew it was a cable or driver issue. Lucky for me, I was watching it when it failed as it would have smashed the tool when the cut was finished as it would have left the slot without extracting the tool at the end of a 15 minute cycle.

Traced it to a broken wire in the Z axis cable and replaced a 10 inch section of the whole 4 wire cable, machine is now working very well. Accuracy is fantastic and I'm really getting on with Cambam. (thanks to you guys for reccommending it)

I expected teething troubles and have had them but the machine is brilliant and apart from the cable issue and a squeak on the x axis it is hard to fault.

I made a sacrificial MDF bed for it on the machine itself and as I'm going to be machining mostly Ply/CF and thin sheet Aluminium I will simply use double sided tape to stick parts to it. Tried this already to machine a few parts and it is totally secure.

Anyhow, thanks to all who offered help and advice, I will be only too happy to reciprocate as my knowledge grows.

Al
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 05:23:37 PM by ilkleyal »