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Author Topic: Pattern tracer camera?  (Read 2848 times)

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Pattern tracer camera?
« on: April 27, 2013, 12:31:29 AM »
A CandCNC Dragon-Cut kit is on order, along with all the other parts required to modify the plasma cutter for THC. (About 2 weeks into their 3~4 week lead time...)

Now what the guy wants is a tracing camera attachment. I've seen one on a huge 10x20 table with rack and pinion drive. The problem with it was its age. It could optically trace a pattern consisting og a black line on paper and store it in its own memory then "play it back" to cut the metal, but there was no way to transfer that trace data to the PC controlling it. If the shop wanted to cut that design again after the cutter's memory had been wiped, they had to get out the paper pattern again - or draw it on the PC connected to it.

Can Mach3 support a tracing camera? If it can, what hardware is available to trace and save the data to the control computer so it can be re-used and edited?

The guy I'm working on this for has no CAD experience but is willing to learn. For simple stuff where super precise dimensions don't matter it'd be easier to be able to use a ruler and Sharpie on a big sheet of paper then have the machine trace it. Then he can load those patterns into Mach3 whenever he needs another one of the same thing cut.

Offline Hood

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Re: Pattern tracer camera?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 03:25:44 AM »
I dont think there is anything available for Mach like that and to be honest if you got used to CADCAM I think you would find that it is much easier to draw on screen, especially simple parts, then translate that into GCode rather than having to mess about with large sheets of paper.

Offline RICH

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Re: Pattern tracer camera?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 06:09:57 AM »
Mach itself dosen't have a "magic wand" to do what you want to do. There are some options you can consider and time management is a decision only you can make for what you want to do. As Hood stated i also believe that having it in CAD gives you manny options.

One consideration is accuracy of reproduction since it makes a big difference in how it's done.

- CopyCat can trace the pattern, large or small, and would provide the gcode. You backplot the gcode and end up with a CAD file.
  You will need to use your machine along with a WebCam ( cheap ......one), but most important is using something like the XBOX 360
  to help make tracing the machine movements easy.

- You could also use photography to get the image and then procede in a number of different ways.

Quantity, size, accuracy, cost, etc all come into play.

BTW, for me at the hobby level, usualy one of a kind, rather small but could be complex,accuracy is very important, and time is not a big factor. :)