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Getting more efficient toolpaths
« on: May 18, 2007, 12:26:24 PM »
Finished my homebrew CNC router a couple weeks ago and I think I have it and MACH3 tweaked and ready to go.  First question after all the construction dust settled was "now what to cut?".

Tried downloading a line-art drawing of an aircraft and converting it to a .dxf with a program called WINTOPO (http://wintopo.com/ ). This worked - I was able to open the resulting .dxf  in TurboCAD and it looked fine.  I then converted to to GCODE with ACECONVERTER, and I was able to then load it's resulting file into a CNC Simulator and did a dry run. All seemed well so I loaded it into MACH3.

It cuts OK, but the path is wild and makes no logical sense.  In this aircraft drawing it'll cut a bit of the prop - then head over and cut a small section of tail, then maybe a portion of a wheel....in short it wastes a lot of time.  Again - the end result is OK but it must take 5x longer than it should an puts a lot of miles especially on the X axis.

You can see the craziness in the Tool Path window of MACH3. It's so cluttered that you can't even make out the basic outline of the plane.

Is this a common problem an danyone know of a fix?  I've spent considerable time doing my homework in order to learn a way around this with no luck. Note that I'm new to all this so please don't assume any knowledge - or common sense for that matter - on my part.

Thanks for any tips -

Re: Getting more efficient toolpaths
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2007, 10:49:29 PM »
Jerry have you tried using LCAM to convert from DXF to Gcode.

Wes
Have a nice Day

vmax549

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Re: Getting more efficient toolpaths
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2007, 11:48:04 AM »
Jerry when you use a variatey of different programs to complete a project it sometimes ends up that way. The individuall programs have no idea what the best tool path should be based on the previous program's output based on the original drawiing. (Kind of like a They said,SHe said, He said approach.)

lWith a dedicated CAM solution you can order the cutting for the most efficent toolpath. The new LCAM that comes with Mach is a step in the right direction to correct your problem. It is a work in progress and It does have a steep learning curve and little documention, but with some patience you can master it. The DOCs will come eventually. ( THere are some Video s to watch)
(;-) TP
« Last Edit: July 07, 2007, 11:50:44 AM by vmax549 »