Author Topic: CNC Questions  (Read 2920 times)

Offline KKC

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
CNC Questions
« on: February 26, 2016, 08:55:34 AM »
I do not have a CNC.  However I have the Pin Router setup from Woodline.  For those that are unfamiliar with Woodline. They use a template that the pin follows while the router underneath cuts the wheel.

A thought I had had was if I'm ever able to successfully design a working clock I'd like to cut it's parts into plastic templates just like Woodlines.  That way I can reproduce the clock over and over again to sell. 

Then maybe someday I can afford a CNC.  I know... wishful thinking.  I don't even know what these kind of clocks will sell for or if there is even a market for them.

So I have AutoCAD.  I can produce DXF files.  If I was to create my clock design in cad and then generate DXF files from that. How hard would it be to create these templates out of plastic on a CNC?

I have looked around here locally for CNC services and they are not cheap.  $85 bucks just to get in the door.  and I don't know if that would be per wheel or per template or what.  I'm too afraid to call and ask.

So anyway for you CNC guys... How difficult is it to use a DXF file for CNC?

Do you still have to create the G-Code?

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts and perspectives on this.

Kevin

Offline jss

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 04:24:37 PM »
Many if not most import dxf into a cnc program and then it produces the gcode.  Watch this youtube file to see the ease of import.  The next step would be to identify regions to be machined and profiled. 

LazyCam
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDZin8Ov-eU


Offline KKC

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 01:24:39 PM »
Looks easy enough.  So the software comes with the CNC?

Offline steve323

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 77
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 04:56:38 PM »
Hi KKC,

I have an older version of a CNC router and all the pieces were purchased separately.  The CNC was a kit.  I supplied the router and made the mounting bracket.  The stepper motors and controller came from HobbyCNC.  I had to provide my own power supply.

The motors are controlled through a multi-step process.  Draw the profile in a cad program (I use TurboCad), convert the cad output into G-code (I use Vectric Cut2D), then use Mach3 to send G-code to the motor controller.  My system is a few years old.  There may be a few turn-key solutions available now.

Steve

Offline KKC

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2016, 12:54:20 PM »
Those are the kind of questions I have.  If I was to build my own CNC I'd need to know what to watch out for.  Are there any good kits out there that you know of?

Also... I thought TurboCAD could read DXF files.  It's like a universal format that all CAD platforms can read.  and did you see my post on a free student version of AutoCAD?  I just entered all the information like I was a student at my local community college and I was in.  Just a thought if you'd like a stronger CAD platform. 

Offline millerdlca

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2016, 10:45:55 PM »
Hi KCC,

DXF is sort of a universal format.  It is actually a proprietary format from AutoCAD and they seem to change it every year or two.  The files you posted in the other thread couldn't be read by my TurboCAD V15 but could be read by the current LibreCAD.  TC is usually pretty good about reading DXF but my V15 is a few years old now so if you are using a new version of AutoCAD they've probably changed the DXF definitions again. 

Software may or may not be included with a given CNC machine.  Basically there are normally 3 components to the software flow: CAD to design/draw the object, CAM to convert the drawing to the G code that CNC machines need and some form of controller/sender software to send the G code to the CNC.

I have one of the original ShapeOko 1 CNC router machines and use TurboCAD for CAD, usually HeeksCNC for CAM and bCNC to send the G code to a GRBL based controller.  I originally bought it partially to do wooden gears but have yet to actually do it, although  I've made a few other things.   There is a lot of information on the ShapeOko wiki in the software section.  For example, this is the information on CAM software:
http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAM

Dennis

Offline KKC

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2016, 12:50:29 PM »
Thanks Dennis I'll do some reading up on it.  I like the thought of having a CNC machine.  I have a few hurdles to get through. One is space and the other is cost.

Offline millerdlca

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2016, 08:42:01 PM »
Not to mention time. There's a fair learning curve for both the software chain and the hardware (appropriate milling bits, feeds and speeds, etc) and that can soak up a lot of time.

Dennis

Offline KKC

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2016, 07:03:14 AM »
LOL... Terrific!!! Just what I need.  More time... No... in all seriousness I can see there is a considerable amount of learning that needs to go into building a CNC... But a question I do have is what if I generated my own design in AutoCAD, Created the DXF and then Converted that into G-Code that I could take somewhere and have them do the actual cuts for a fee.  Is that even possible?  Is there any freeware G-Code software out there?  Anything in particular to avoid? I'm going to look at this CNC forum you gave me the link to when I get a chance.  I might be able to find some opinions there too. LOL...

Thanks Dennis.

Offline steve323

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 77
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2016, 08:52:24 PM »
Those are the kind of questions I have.  If I was to build my own CNC I'd need to know what to watch out for.  Are there any good kits out there that you know of?

Also... I thought TurboCAD could read DXF files.  It's like a universal format that all CAD platforms can read.  and did you see my post on a free student version of AutoCAD?  I just entered all the information like I was a student at my local community college and I was in.  Just a thought if you'd like a stronger CAD platform.

You may have agreed to a licensing agreement that prevents you from profiting from your use of AutoCAD.  :)  It would be really hard for them to prosecute though.  Kind of like it would be hard for Clayton to find out if you are selling clocks of his design at your local gallery.  He lives in Hawaii, so I imagine he retired there and is probably just looking to help support his hobby of making clocks.

Steve

Offline KKC

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: CNC Questions
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2016, 06:32:58 AM »

You may have agreed to a licensing agreement that prevents you from profiting from your use of AutoCAD.  :)  It would be really hard for them to prosecute though.  Kind of like it would be hard for Clayton to find out if you are selling clocks of his design at your local gallery.  He lives in Hawaii, so I imagine he retired there and is probably just looking to help support his hobby of making clocks.

Steve

I'm not sure on AutoCAD's claim on what is designed using their software however I do know that everything you print has a student version watermark on the plans.  So I wouldn't be able to design something in AutoCAD and then print it out and sell because it would have that student watermark.  Not sure that's how they cover it or if it goes deeper than that.  I will have to read the fine print. 

Thanks for pointing that out Steve.