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Newbie questions - Laser cutting background :)

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Ryan Turner, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    So, I come from a laser cutting AWC608 background and I am thinking of building an OX CNC but I am curious how you get it to 'mill' or if you can. So, I'd like to basically subtractive carve a shape out of a block of wood sometimes in addition to mainly using it for a router. I've had a good look about and I can't seem to see any software that allows you to subtractively layer cnc paths in 3D so the z axis changes mid cut. Am I missing something somewhere? It seems a shame to have that z axis only able to move when the x and y are static.

    Is this a limitation of the gcode stuff? Can you do it in any software available? If you can't using the Arduino can you use a different DSP and stepper drivers with some software to achieve this?

    Suggestions and help would be appreciated! :)

    Thanks
     
    #1 Ryan Turner, Apr 15, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  2. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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  3. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    That's exactly what I want to do. Thanks. I looked at the cut3D software. what are the alternatives? Are they similarly priced? Does this software do gcode?
     
  4. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    I haven't used Cut3D, but my understanding is that Cut3D is only the output part of the program and requires some type of 3D CAD software to build the model.
    I use Aspire and it has a CAD package built in. I believe that both output GCode and both have post processors to generate the headers and footers, I know Aspire does.
    There are several programs out there that generate GCode from CAD files, but not many that have the 3D CAD engine built in. That's why I chose Aspire.
    Apparently, a lot of people use Autodesk Fusion 360, but it doesn't meet my needs and I found it difficult to use.

    There are a lot of free/cheap packages out there, but none do everything, so it is necessary to find a different package for every step of the process.
    Aspire is expensive, but it does everything I want in one package, which really cuts down on my stress level.

    The one I came closest to using was Sketchup with a third party package to generate the GCode. I got it to work marginally, but I couldn't build the type of models I wanted.
    If you are good at Sketchup and it does what you want, it may work for you. I believe Cut3D works with Sketchup files. If you already use a 3D CAD program, it is fairly easy to find a GCode generator for it and Aspire isn't necessary.

    I've spent a lot of time and energy searching for software that does what I wanted and Aspire was the only one I was satisfied with.
     
  5. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Have a look at ESTLCam.

    Seems like good little program. :thumbsup:
     
    Rick 2.0 likes this.
  6. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    I Already use fusion 360, inventor and solid works. So it's only making the router move along the z axis whilst cutting on the y and X to achieve a 3D cut. A lot of this software seems clunky but I will be trying out cut 3D. Thanks.
     
  7. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    You are correct, a lot of it is clunky. Most of the packages don't integrate well, either.
    If 3DCut works for you, that's not a bad deal to get what you need.
    Have you been to their forum yet?
    Vectric Forum • Index page
     
  8. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    That ESTLCAM looks very well designed :)
     
  9. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Have only heard good things about it. :thumbsup:
     
  10. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    Has anyone tried using a milling cutter using a router on aluminium? People have said that they have used router cutters but these go blunt so I was wondering if any of you had used them.
     
  11. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    I have used my Ryobi woodworking router quite a bit on aluminum, with standard 2 flute carbide wood cutters. It works just fine, and better if you first rub the aluminum with wax, bee or candle will do. The wax prevents the aluminum sticking to the cutter (kerosene works well too, but gets sprayed everywhere).
    My router runs at 24000rpm.

    Of course 'designed for aluminum' cutters are better.
     
  12. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    I have used 1/4" and 1/8" milling machine cutters.
    Whatever you use, make sure they are end cutters.
    Otherwise, you won't be able to plunge into the material.
     
  13. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    You guys are probably the most helpful I have come across on any forum :)
     
  14. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    one 'can' use non-end cutting or partial end cutting tools BUT you MUST use *ramping* and ensure that there are no plunge moves in the Gcode. In SketchUcam, if you have comments turned on there will be comments indicating where it has had to convert a ramp move to a plunge move. It does this when there is not enough space for a half bit diam length of cut with a ramp movement.

    why half bit diam? because in a quick survey (ad hoc) of common cutters that are not large diameter shell mills (-: it seemed that the average router cutter that is not center cutting will have about half the diameter 'non cutting' so you have to move at least a half diameter in order to have both sides of the cutter do some work as you ramp down. SketchUcam's cut optimizer searches for the nearest point at which to start, that is also longer than 1/2 D, if none is found it plunges, but also comments on it.

    The straight 2 flute 6mm router bit I use most often is not end cutting, and by doing a scale drawing of the end I found that it can ramp at 15 degrees before hitting the non cutting surface. This angle works fantastically in plywood at 30000 rpm (-:

    example:
    Code:
    (RAMPING with no angle limit)
    (Plunge Diam First)
    (Optimization is ON)
    (www.PhlatBoyz.com)
    G90 G21 G49 G61 G17
    M3 S30000
    G00 Z5.000
    G00 X8.528 Y8.373
    G01 Z-6.300 F1000                                   <-- there is the plunge
    (rampnolimit end, plunging)                  <-- and there is the comment indicating ramp was not possible
    G01 X9.613 Y7.624 F2000
    G01 X14.496 Y4.254
    ...
    
    if you are doing something that requires plain holes that your cutter cannot plunge, ie are the same size as the cutter, then you should rather use a real drill bit and do a 'drill only' drawing followed by a 'cut the rest' drawing.

    When drilling in aluminum, do turn 'quick peck' off and use multipass so it can clear the chips.

    For holes that are larger than the cutter, with ramping on, SketchUcam will helical ramp the entire hole without ever plunging, obeying both ramp angle and multipass depth limits.
     
  15. Ryan Turner

    Ryan Turner Journeyman
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    Thanks for this. I haven't actually built my cnc yet so I am overwhelmed by the lingo that you use :) I am a visual learner so will need to see what you mean to get it :)
     

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